Tag Archives: quotations

Being and becoming

Practice makes perfect, they say. I believe the best way to become something is to just do it. I want to become more patient, and really, the only way to become patient is to practice being patient.

Esse quam videri = to be rather than to seem

It might seem hard—heck, it might be hard!—and we might want to wait until wishing makes it so, but until we actually start doing, we won’t make progress toward becoming our goal.

This is summed up much better in a friend’s blog post last week:

“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” (Elder Richard G. Scott, October 2010 General Conference)

I see it every time I step out of the shower and I think, “I want to become a better mother. So today I will be a better mother.” But my thought process doesn’t really go beyond that. . . .

But a few days ago, I believed I received a bit of inspiration as I took an extra moment to ponder how to become a better mother.

Two specific things came to mind. 1) Enforce consequences. 2) Play with my children.

via Trying a little harder to be a little better.

I think those are great examples—and both of those are things I could work on, which are hard for me.

I’d write some more about them, but I think I should probably go join my kids in play time.

What do you think? What do you want to become, and what do you need to do to become your goals?

Photo by Haeck Design

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A contributing member of society

gilbert_keith_chesterton2We’re often told raising our children isn’t enough: we should be “productive.” We should have “real jobs.” Strangers ask us to justify raising our children when we’ve obtained higher learning. We should “contribute to society.” I promised you a rant on how nothing contributes more to society than raising children will, but lovely guest blogger G.K. Chesterton (at right) has taken that up for me.

He was way ahead of his time, you know. I mean, the man died seventy years ago, and he had the foresight to write this post for me. Okay, okay, so really this is just a long quotation. Emphasis, images and paragraphs breaks added.

Woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist.

Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world.

But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.

globeHow can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the Universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, p 118-119

Thanks, G.K.! (Note that this is taken slightly out of context, but seriously, it’s a lot better this way. Don’t bother reading the stuff that comes before or after it; it’s not quite so “enlightened.”)

In other news, I’d like to note that I was one of five winners of literary agent Nathan Bransford’s guest blogging contest, and my guest post will go live on his blog next week 😀 .

Photo credits: question mark—Svilen Mushkatov; globe—Sanja Gjenero

Life as a juggler

carol_bartzCarol Bartz is a busy woman. She’s a CEO (again), a breast cancer survivor, a community volunteer—and, oh yeah, a mom. While her children are now grown, she’s had all these balls in the air at the same time,

Five years ago, when she still had children at home, Business Week interviewed her. Toward the end of their article, they highlighted her commitment to family:

Bartz showed up for a board meeting one night with a hugely swollen leg. Turns out, she had rushed from work to her daughter’s soccer game and slipped, twisting her ankle. She hobbled to the game, then limped to the board meeting. Because the . . . freezer had no ice, she ended up sitting with a bag of frozen peas on her foot. But she carried on as usual, Nierenberg says. . . .

Bartz encourages her employees to have a life outside of work as well. Autodesk’s staffers can receive several hours off a month to help out at their children’s schools. A few weeks ago, Bartz taught 60 or so of her employees’ kids, who showed up for the company’s bring-your-kids-to-work day, how to execute a real business handshake (hand should not be limp, look the person in the eye).

How does Carol Bartz juggle all these roles? The interview hinted at that as well—but I think the two biggest keys are perspective and priorities.

First, she placed her family as her highest priority:

Ever since her daughter, who’s now 15, was in elementary school, Bartz would sit down with her at the beginning of each school year and promise to come to certain school events — say, a Christmas concert or the Halloween party. “I don’t care if the Pope comes to Autodesk, I’m still going to spend that time with her,” she says. Recently, she canceled a business dinner to attend her daughter’s first prom.

juggle_ballsSecond, Carol recognized that she wasn’t going to be perfect:

I have a belief that life isn’t about balance, because balance is perfection. Rather, it’s about catching the ball before it hits the floor.

I may not be a CEO, or even employed outside the home, but I take encouragement from that counsel. And you know what? Sometimes even the best jugglers drop the balls. What do they do? They pick them up and keep practicing.

How have you caught the ball before it hit the floor? How have you continued after dropping the ball?

Photo credit: juggle balls—Dani Simmonds

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Joy in the journey part 2

I really liked this next passage from a recent address given by President Monson to my church (see part one from last week):

Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can.

I often fall into that same trap—believing that if only I didn’t have to do all this “mothering stuff”/work/housekeeping/good works/church/alone, it’d be so much easier. But frankly, I would probably still find something to stress out about even if I had one less thing on my plate.

And all too often, I let the wrong thing slide. President Monson continues:

But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

Usually, I get stressed because I’m trying to do too much—and often it’s not stuff that I need to do anyway. Beyond basic housecleaning and a couple hours of work per day, I don’t actually have to do a lot of the things that I make myself do or that I want to do.

Instead, if I focus on the work of motherhood: loving, and giving my children attention, suddenly those stresses that make my life so difficult—the stresses that I have put on myself—seem to go away.

What helps you relieve or lessen the stress of motherhood? How do you show your children your love?

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Maria Shriver on motherhood

Maria Shriver is a journalist and the First Lady of California. When she appeared on the Oprah show in 2004, she made an observation that I totally agree with:

How do we get women to stop saying, “I’m just a mother”? Or, “I used to be such and such, but now I’m just a mother?” We need to market motherhood. So I came up with a saying: “Motherhood: 24/7 on the frontlines of humanity. Are you man enough to try it?”

We’ve discussed this quote before and most of you felt that we needed to start by taking more pride in what we do as mothers and not allowing others to disparage or belittle it.

Do you still agree with that? What else can we do to stand up for ourselves and our callings?

Do you have a quote from a famous mom? Submit it to famousmoms (at) mamablogga.com and we’ll discuss it one week, and you’ll get a link (if you include your URL, of course).

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Joy in the journey part 1

At the most recent General Conference of my church, there was an excellent talk on having joy in the journey. The speaker, the leader of my church, made several great points about raising children—and keeping perspective while doing that.

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.

As I type this, I’m sitting on a stained couch, next to a waist-deep pile of laundry, across the room from the nose-and-mouth prints on the entertainment center. I’ll go to bed only to wake up three or four times tonight to nurse Rebecca, then get up earlier than I want to to take care of her or Hayden.

And this is what I’ll miss? Yep, says this father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I think the thing that I like most about this quote is the aside of “to your surprise.” It shows that he knows what it’s like to be here.

I think, though, that even though we don’t care for hearing this, we all know this. During the difficult times, it might be hard to believe that we’ll miss all this. But during the good times, the peaceful times, the adorable times, we know that they won’t last. They can’t last. My little children will disappear before my eyes—they already are.

So every once in a while, the reminder that I’ll miss these days makes me value them a little more. How about you?

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