Today I am 5 or so weeks away from turning 31. I've been married 9 years 3.5 months. Since my marriage I've lived in Las Vegas, Utah, Montana, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. With each place we learn, we grow, and we get stronger. We plan on being in Texas for a very long time. We're finally settling down, and this settling agrees with me.
I'm pregnant right now for the fourth time, and I still pray daily for the health of this small child and the others in my care. And I pray daily for the health and safety of my good husband who loves me and challenges me daily. All of these people are children of Heavenly Father, and he loves them SO much, even more than I love them.
Now that I've been a wife for nearly a decade, you would think that I'd have gotten it down, but I must admit that "wifing" comes less naturally than mothering and requires balancing acts of the emotional and mental sort. I've wavered between being my hyper-aggressive self and an unwilling, unhappy doormat, and have found that neither works for me. I've found at times, I must be led, and then, at other times, I must be bold in what I know is the right thing. I take constant comfort in The Proclamation on the Family, knowing that my primary responsibility is for the nurture of the children, and I've become bold in communicating what I feel is right and where I need help in fulfilling this role. And I've learned that my husband needs attention, too, even if he's not begging for it the way children do.
I don't feel so very different from the brand new mother that I was 8 years ago, but when I think about it, I've changed. I'm much more deliberate about keeping my kids clean and tidy, where I was hesitant to inhibit any exploration by Stacy or Pippi when they were small. (Though I'm still a sucker for a mud puddle.) I'm firmer about establishing limits. I've learned the power of a schedule, tailored to a child's needs. I watch my children more carefully, trying to get to know them, and I try not to react too quickly (this can be hard for me). I'm less likely to physically waver at the sight of a tear, though my heart still melts. I'm calmer, much more likely to take advice from an experienced mother, less likely to rely on the advice of a parenting book (though I still read them). I don't look at the misbehavior of my children as a reflection on my parenting skills. I don't judge other parents by their child's behavior, either. And I know that the way I act and behave has a much more powerful effect than any parenting technique I could use. So, more than ever, I'm trying to keep my behavior in check. I'm more focused than ever on being organized, and I've realized that I've got to change many of my habits. Yet, even knowing many of my "issues," I'm more confident than ever that I can do the things that are most important to me.
Right now we attend a very strong ward. We have plenty of willing priesthood holders and plenty of capable faithful sisters. While I don't get much from sacrament meeting due to Bardo's antics (discussing four-wheelers and the location of his gum (LOUDLY) during the sacrament), I feel the Spirit so strongly through the Sunday School lessons and even the sweet lessons the primary presidency prepared for the children when I was the pianist. I went on vacation, and they released me from my cushy piano calling. Now, I get to work with the Young Women. Now I really must keep my behavior in check!