Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Questions To Ask Myself


Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!  
I say, let your affairs be as two or three, 
and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, 
and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.  
~Henry David Thoreau

I've asked myself all these questions over the course of my 16 years of parenting, and I still continue asking.   What if?  I have the power to change so much about our lives!  I can give myself a lot of excuses, but more than at any other time in the history of the world, I know I have the power of choice. 
What if you gave up your obligations to school, to church, to just about anything else, especially when they just made you feel stressed and frantic?  
What if you cut to the core everything but just the bare essentials of time commitments?
What if you woke up in the morning to see an almost blank calendar staring at you in the face everyday?  What if you were able to fill that calendar only with what you felt was best for your family?
What if you never felt torn in a million directions, but could "keep your accounts on your thumb-nail"? 
What if you felt calm almost all the time?
What if you said no to playgroups, no to toddler activities, no to endless play dates, no to so much running around?  
What if you refused to feel pressured, guilty, or weird for living a life that looked quite the opposite of the way everyone at the time was living theirs?  
What if you could say 'no' without following it with an apology or an excuse?  
What if you were able to stand strong with constant endurance against the daily onslaught of the frantic pace of society and find a different quiet, child-friendly path of mothering?  
What if, in spite of what society is telling you, you decided that the role of mother is enough work to warrant all of your time, attention and talents and never needed to be shared with less important man-made things?

How will my children remember me when they're grown?  What kind of mother do I want to be described as one day?  I know, it's a question that sends a little fear into my heart.  Will they say I was too stressed, too busy, impatient and angry?  Will they say I seemed to spend time on everything else but them? Will they say, "I needed you then, but you were never really listening?"  

Of course, I know I am human, learning as I go, making plenty of mistakes on the way.  I'd like to live though, with a little bit of contentment in my heart, that I gave this mothering thing the best shot I had.  Asking and answering those hard questions reminds me of that contentment I wish for.

As I get older I've gotten braver...sometimes in great bursts of choices to say no as I wiped my calendar cleaned and vowed to keep it that way, sometimes with the regret of learning the hard way with stressful years as I split my time among too many obligations, or wishing time would move faster instead of slower ("as soon as spring is over, things will slow down and I can enjoy more...").  I have been inspired to be courageous by studying others whom I admire, who exude a peace and contentment in their mothering spirit.  I have been falsely misled by my own self, quick to buy into the "how does she do it all so well?" comparison, only to find out once again, it's an illusion.  (Because it is every time!  Doing it all and doing the important things well does NOT exist, please know..and the price is almost always paid by the little ones that don't have a voice.)   I have been way too quick to jump on a bandwagon, only to fall off and hit the ground hard, with a few bruises but a little relief in my heart. 

I think it's so important in this day and age to remind myself that right now my plate it full of mothering and that's ok.  It's enough for me to be a mother.  Just a mother.  It's a darn big job that takes an incredible amount of energy, endurance, spiritual and physical strength and I am in the thick of it almost every minute, and if I do have a moment to come up for breathe,  I should be recharging my batteries with a quiet moment so I can jump right back in.  My children deserve a mother who is unstressed, happy, content, and PRESENT.


102 comments :

  1. Seconded. A million times over. Beautifully written. We should be patting ourselves on the back just because we ARE Mums. That's a hard enough job right there without adding a million other things to the list. Have a hug xx

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  2. Great post! I ask myself these questions too. I think being a wife and mother is worth all of my time and attention to do it well. I am blessed that I am able to stay home.

    I struggle with saying no. I've had other mothers ridicule and criticize me for saying no, for limiting my kids' after school activities to 2 each, for wanting to cook dinner for my family rather than take on more after-school activities, and for not attending certain fundraisers because I had previous plans.

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  3. I love this. So true. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts!

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  4. Thank you for this post. I stumbled across your blog and have been following it for a few months now. This talk is very inspiring and has to do with this topic you wrote about. I hope that you will read this as it has helped me to become a better wife and mother. (http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/of-things-that-matter-most?lang=eng)

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  5. Thank you so much for this post. I'd been praying about this issue today...and your post was the first to pop up on Google Reader :) It is so difficult to decide what needs to go even if we know something needs to. Often, the things we are contemplating letting go of are ALL good things, but might be assignments for another season. Our family homeschools, I have 2 teenagers and a 9 year old daughter with Down syndrome. We're very involved with our church and running our local DS group. ALL GOOD STUFF! But my heart is telling me something's gotta go. Thanks for your post today.

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  6. I really do recommend the same talk that Erin linked to. I also have five children, and people will say "I don't know how you do it." My answer is that I don't do anything else! I don't try to work, I don't try to blog, I don't run any school programs. I take care of my family and I serve at church. That's it. Not too glamorous, and very exhausting as it is, but I don't clutter my life with obligations that I would inevitably prioritize above my family.

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  7. Wow. Sarah this post is so...well...just WOW. Your words are so moving and so RIGHT ON. I couldn't agree with you more, and yet I know that I have a million things every day pulling me away from just spending time with my kids. Your post was such a great reminder to me of what I already know - what the most important thing really is. The rest just doesn't matter. My kids are going to be the first thing on tomorrow's to-do list.

    Thank you so much for this post!

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  8. Beautiful.

    And thinking on it, you are not the sole person to tell me this. My grandmother (who worked her hands to the bones in WW2 and then had 5 children and made her family her life), my husband's great-grandmothers, and my husband's grandfather have all shared similar thoughts. They have all told me, in their own ways, that what I am doing now, being home with my children, is an important, worthwhile & respected job, and that it is enough.

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  9. Thank you for this! Very well put. So many of us believe that more = better. Self included. Thanks for the reminder that less is more.

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  10. I just posted a rambling comment and then deleted it because it didn't make much sense (it's late). What I was trying to say is that I SO agree (as you know). I want those margins! I just need to figure out what they are...what is "good busy" and what is "bad busy." Thanks for always making me think. That's what I love so much about you.
    Love, Shawni

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  11. You know what Sarah, I always thought being "just" a Mother was enough.
    And as I have had more children I find it alot easier to say NO.
    Just "No-thank you, but thanks for asking", with a smile on my face to all the school commitees, sports commitees, playdates & the million birthday parties(we don't attend non family birthday parties on Sundays, there has to be a cut off surely, Sunday is OUR day.

    Thank you for putting it out there.
    Your so on the mark.

    Niki
    Ps Looking forward to the big "simplifing"- starting tommorow.

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  12. Hi Sarah - Once again you have written a post that is so honest and meaningful and puts into words much of what I feel. You are not wrong or crazy but you are brave and insightful. Your kids are darn lucky to have you for a Mom!

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  13. Um, no...you were born in just the right generation, mostly to always draw me back where I need to be with your posts. I found I have become more brave in saying no to as I get older, because you really do realize how much of it is really just fluff. thank you, Sarah. I needed this right now~

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  14. Sarah, one of your best posts ever. This is why you are one of my favorite bloggers. You speak common sense and purpose to our highest calling when society places meaning on the opposite. Thank you for reminding me that I'm on the right track and quieting my inner doubts and fears. You rock.

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  15. Preach it sista! :) My husband is good at helping me keep out additional stresses to my time and I needed him to step in a bit when I first became a Mom to preemie twins. Now I have taken that strength and find it much easier to say no. Adding a third to our family I can't IMAGINE doing ANYTHING else right now.

    We basically go to church and storytime and play with my sister's and their children every so often. With 3 that are 3 and under that is ENOUGH!

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  16. This post really resonated with me. Thank you. My girls are almost 6 and almost 3. Since our town doesn't have buses, I drop off and pick up for my daughter's kindergarten. My youngest is in a 2 morning a week preschool. If you add in a couple of activities plus outside errands, I feel like I am running around all the time. I hate the rush out the door. It isn't always pretty. I have so much I want to do, clean, organize at home and the house isn't even that big. It is tough.
    I have a question for you (if you don't mind). :-) How do you handle your summers? Where I live, many parents book their kids in all kinds of camps all summer. I really want to take a break though...maybe art camp one week or something.
    Your thoughts?
    Thanks so much for your blog.
    Kathy

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  17. So well said and so true. Thank you.

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  18. Thank you for a breath of fresh air! I think we as mothers live in a perpetual state of guilt. I feel everything you are saying because I think we are in the same boat. I have 7 kids and as the older ones get busy, busy, busy we have guilt for dragging the little ones around with us. I have fear in my heart they are missing out because of the sheer running around we do. But as I get older I am learning. Learning to say no to things because I am learning in the grand scheme things that extra game, team, party etc. doesn't make the legacy of my motherhood. The legacy that will be remembered will be Sunday dinners I made for them, the times I listened to what they were really saying, blowing bubbles on the back porch. And that goes for the teenagers too.

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  19. Thank you for your thoughtful words and your complete dedication to motherhood--it is inspiring. Thanks also for the permission to be just a mother , and the encouragement to be the very best one I can be. My children deserve that. Great post!

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  20. Sarah,
    You say so beautifully what so many of us want to say (or do!) I think many moms get involoved in so much so they don't have to ask themselves those hard questions. The other day, when my almost nine year old son had a field trip, it occurred to me to ask him if he wanted me to go. His reply? No, but I want you there skating. Just because I'm a stay at home mom does not mean that I have to be at everything.
    And Kari, it was my husband who said that we only have about 10 summers with them. 10! That's it. We are blessed to go on a family vacation, just us and they can either do swim lessons or one other activity. The rest of the time we are exploring our city or just playin' in the water.

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  21. I've come to the same conclusion lately. That is that even if I am physically here for my kids... it takes a lot of time, energy, and preparation to also be there for them mentally, spiritually and emotionally. If there is a quiet moment... I need it to THINK and PLAN and sometimes PRAY about Motherhood.... not to fill with another activity. Thank you for your post.

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  22. Ahhhh. That's a big sigh of release coming from me. Really like this post. And as someone who is trying to say no a lot more lately, a welcome reprieve from the the flow of the majority.

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  23. Sarah, I have been reading your blog for a while and SO appreciate your wisdom! I stay at home with my 18 mth old and I really needed this reminder today. There would be no way for me to express to you how much I have appreciated your blog without sounding like a creepy internet stalker :)..so I will just leave it at..... THANK YOU! Thank you so much for your willingness to open up about issues of motherhood and for letting me learn from you.

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  24. OH... perfect post... at the perfect time... thank you!

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  25. Amen! I met someone from Prince Edward Island on Twitter. Wanna move there?

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  26. i love this post! it is encouraging because we young mothers are not told that {or at all}. :-)

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  27. Im always reading your Blog but dont really comment alot, but I love your thoughts. You are truly a flower! xx

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  28. I don't comment much but I wanted to support you on your thoughts. As a working mom out of need I am always trying to be present while I am with my daughter. Thank you so much for this post!

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  29. Sarah, as usual, your words are right on. You are not wrong. You are not crazy.
    Much needed words for a far too busy society.

    xo*tricia

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  30. Thank you so much for this!

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  31. Over the past year, I have deliberately pared down my commitments to to the bare minimum. I cannot even begin to tell you how freeing it has been. I hope your post will encourage more women to ask "What if."

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  32. It's like your inside my head! I love it. Your honesty is refreshing as always and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for reminding us moms of what we need to hear. Motherhood is the most important job I have and I need to devote more time and energy to it. Somehow, when you say it, I don't get offended, you have a way with words.

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  33. Your blog makes me happy. What a great way to start the day. Thank you!

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  34. I have "Being a mother is enough" written on a note card, sitting on my kitchen window sill from your email the other day.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this post! Sometimes it's nice to have a reality check & realize what really matters at the end of the day. Love this!

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  35. I too may have been born late(odd to say as today is my birthday). I think we so often get caught up in an ideal of what we should do we forget about the amazing things we are doing. I hope my children will not miss the plethora of activities and recognize that we are trying to be present, supportive, loving and relaxed during their childhood. It is an amazing job that I am so very fortunate to have.

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  36. You are amazing! I always look forward to your blog posts. You have really made me re-evaluate what is truly important during this time of my life, raising these young children and how to spend my time. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. You are making a difference and affecting many, many people with your insights. Thanks for all your hard work!

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  37. Wonderful reminder, Sarah. This is something we all need to hear again and again.

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  38. Thank you for being such a strong and eloquent voice for true motherhood. This post was especially inspiring to me.

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  39. Glad to read this today. I am a mother to an 18 month old and one on the way...I recently quit Gymboree (germboree!) because I was tired of being sick...feeling guilty because it's just me and my son most days during the week...thinking he needs more "activity" etc. Tried the mom's group thing and it just wasn't "my thing"...I have always loved slow...I'm a home slice from way back. I just sometimes feel like maybe my son needs more than just me? And YES motherhood is the hardest job in the world! It is (and should be) enough.

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  40. Thank you so much for writing this!! Just what I needed at this season in my life!

    Your writing is an inspiration...

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  41. I needed this so much today, thank you!

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  42. I am new to your blog. love it! This post was much needed for me today. Thank you!

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  43. This post is incredibly well spoken. Maybe it's because of my personality type, but I am a "no" woman. Raising my children is my focus right now. I have had the courage to say no to all kinds of things, even play dates and other well intended activities involving my kids. My calendar IS mostly empty, and we choose our activities outide the home very wisely. I hope to continue to be able to maintain this balance as they grow older.

    Thanks for sharing your voice,
    Melissa

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  44. Thank you Thank you Thank you! This just expressed what I have been thinking for several weeks! I am going to link to your blog from mine to share with my other amazing Mommy friends!

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  45. You spoke right to my heart this morning! Thank You!!

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  46. Well said! I agree whole-heartedly. I have been convicted a lot lately about where my time goes and what time I waste on meaningless things. Thanks for the encouragement to focus on what we should and saying its okay not to look like everyone else!

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  47. Thank you for this! As a mother of 4 children I have done it all. This year when my oldest went off to college in another state I realized that my time with her was over on a day to day basis. My youngest is 3. She gets a lot of my time and attention because of what I've learned. Playdough with Mom is just as fun as a playdate with a friend!

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  48. Wow Sarah!! This is just plain beautiful!!! Just so beautiful!!! Thank you for this today!!!

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  49. Sarah, I have never left a comment on any blog, but felt an incredible need to do so today. I was brought to tears as I read this (and I just popped on for a quick sec to grab one of your awesome recipes for tonight's dinner!)

    You are an amazing source of daily inspiration...so full of seasoned mothering wisdom that I wish I had from the very beginning of my mothering career 10 years ago. Thank you for sharing your life, your family, your structure and advice. I am a better mother because of you.

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  50. I struggle a lot with being "present," and it makes me feel guilty.

    Reading your blog resets something in me, and helps bring me back to where I am supposed to be mentally.

    Thank you.

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  51. Reading this post this morning really struck me. I'm more convinced than ever that it's time to simplify my life, and focus on doing the most important job in the world!

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  52. I love you...I have just found you and I think I love you. It's like you see into my heart and can somehow make it "all better" for a while. Thank you for your heart and soul!

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  53. Slowing down offers so much more time to appreciate the little things, that over time will add up to be the greatest memories. A very thought-provoking post! Thank you!

    I love your blog and look forward to reading it every day.

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  54. Gosh, so many things you say, is exactly how I feel. I've been a mother for almost 10 years now. Starting out, I tried listening to all the advice I was given from family and from books. It wasn't until I started listening to my gut feelings, that I started having peace in my life. I was told I should not exclusively breast feed and should not let children sleep in my bed. I was told my children needed to have play dates and that homeschooling would not be good for them or me. But, guess what it's exactly what we all needed.

    We thrive on a slow and simple lifestyle. We love being home and in our yard. My kids are involved in sports, but we do not overkill. They do have occasional playdates, but mostly play with each other.

    My husband and I often say we're old-fashioned. We wouldn't have it any other way.

    Thanks for all you wonderful posts. I truly enjoy your blog.

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  55. Amen! Amen! This is one of your best posts ever!!!!!!!! And, that's saying a lot. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with all of us.

    I needed this today. You are truly a blessing from God.

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  56. I would say YES to all of that. Slowing down isn't easy but being present is truly what is best for our families.

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  57. I have been thinking this a lot lately, especially because I have a newborn and if we go out and try to get "things done" then it really is our poor little two month old that ends up paying the price. So we just stay home and I try to remember that quantity time matters for children--as does a mother that isn't stressed trying to change diapers in the front seat of a car on her way from here to there. I like the peaceful happy moments I can give my kids at home. Glad to know someone else agrees. Sometimes I feel like I must be the most boring mother out there and that I don't give my kids enough "opportunities."

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  58. What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for the reminder. Being a mother is enough. And I am lucky that I chose this path. Nobody made me become a mother or a SAHM.

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  59. Ditto what you said!! I was recently with a group of homeschooling moms....they were all complaining about their heavy schedules(activities). I'm shy, but I spoke up and shared that we have a minimal(very)schedule and that we are home as a family a lot. There was silence, then someone said that they wished they could stay home to which I replied "you can". I think we are told by so many sources that the more we do, the better a parent we are. My kids disagree. Loved this post!

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  60. I have raised my children, put them through college and seen them married at beautiful weddings that I was very involved in. I am now retired and have three grandchildren and while I have time to do many things I never had the time to do before I get the most pleasure from making my husband a gourmet meal almost every night, going to my grandson's baseball and football games, making scarf kits for my granddaughter's birthday party and shipping them over night the 1700 miles that separate us and will head off to my other granddaughter's Brownie meeting after sewing handles on 11 sit-a-upons. Yes, I'm very busy and sometimes stressed, but I wouldn't change any of what I do for one minute! Life is too short to not live every moment!

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  61. I agree whole heartedly with this post. Thank you so much for being so direct and encouraging!

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  62. Excellent post and I agree with you completely. Which is why I'm still a SAHM, trying to keep my family as my #1 priority even now that they're teenagers. It's nice to feel validated. Thank you!

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  63. Sarah, I love your blog because you always make me think. I have to admit that the phrase "just a mother" rubs me the wrong way. There is such a truth to this overall post, though, and I'm so glad you wrote it. People can get too caught up in the idea of who and how they should be without taking time to figure out who and how they truly are.

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  64. I have been reading your blog for a short while and haven't left a comment...so today is the day. I absolutely love your post ...actually all of them :) However...today spoke to my heart. It is almost as if "we" need permission to just be a mother. Oh my! You're right....being a MOTHER is enough. Thank you for reminding us the value and integrity it takes to raise a family and to do so with honor. If this is all I do....it will be enough. I may have to reread this several times to keep it fresh in my mind. Beautifully written.

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  65. You know I am right there with you-maybe a few generations too late, but then again, maybe just *timeless.*

    I would add that the word "holy" as used in the new testament translates to "set apart." It is my goal to lead a set apart life. Set apart from the choas. My husband and I answered a big YES to this question you posed:

    What if you refused to feel pressured, guilty, or weird for living a life that looked quite the opposite of the way everyone at the time was living theirs?

    One of the big steps toward this, which seems small, but is NOT, was to cut out t.v. We don't have cable or even PBS or NBC. It is crazy how much this has changed what gets into my mind in ways I didn't expect-for instance I never know what movies are out in the theaters, what is popular, what award shows are on . . . sometimes I feel like I'm living on another planet, ha. It's the best! Planet Peace and Simplicity! We have so much more time for each other, I don't think we will ever go back.

    Great post!

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  66. Well said!
    Also? You might be my secret twin, lol. Glad to know there are others out there, and thank you for the reminder.

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  67. What a great post! You really put the truth out there and questions I think we may all gain more perspective if we asked ourselves.

    I have just started asking myself similar questions. I am reading Organized Simplicity and its definitely helped format the questions!

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  68. I just wrote a super long comment pouring out my heart and your blog thought it was too long and deleted it or something! It was right. Too long.

    I will just summarize by saying this post is probably my favorite post of all time of all blogs.

    Thank you for writing it and for living it.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

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  69. O my goodness... this one really moved me. I can feel that urgency in your heart to let us moms out there know that we are not alone in this quest to make a difference in our children's lives despite how difficult it can be. We must keep on being a mom to our children and must not give up...I love it so much!!!

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  70. THANK YOU for this post, it is just something that can't be said enough! I love coming here to find that I am not alone. I think these ideas are like balm to a mother's heart (as evidenced by the responses).

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  71. As always, thank you. I feel like we're just entering this phase and starting to make the hard choices about what is worthwhile. I'm glad you wrote this, because it's something I need to start thinking long and hard about.

    Here's a hard one though--service. For instance. Today alone these three things collided: my cousin asked if I could fill in for her sick daycare provider. Since she's my only close by family, I want to/like to help out when I can with her son. He fits into our day well and isn't much trouble. Then, a friend from church called to ask if I could take her 5 yo and 3 yo while she went to the opthamologist just for a few hours in the morning. Okay, it'll be stressful for a few hours but doable. Also, I sometimes need the same favor from friends. Then, I get a text. A good friend's baby, who has Down Syndrome is in the hospital with pneumonia. Can I take her 5 yo for the day until her husband gets home from work? Well, who can say no, sorry, tough luck to that?

    The thing is, in all three of these things, I felt an honest desire to help. And it worked out okay, logistically. BUT. Before the day was over I had a cooperative meltdown with my 2.5 year old. She was just doing her normal things, but somehow I was expecting her to not do any of those things until we had done our duty and discharged all the extra kids. In hindsight, she got a snappish, impatient mom for those few hours so that I could help these other families.

    Anyway. Not to change topic but that's the hard part for me. I can definately see the advantage in saying no to lots of things, but when it comes to helping other moms, it's a little harder. I really love having a community of mom friends that can rely on each other for help but where's the line?

    (Also, as a former teacher, I have to say that if ALL the parents stopped helping altogether, most if not all of the extras at school would have to be eliminated. And maybe that would be okay, but parent volunteers are part of what makes the school world go round.)

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  72. What a great post--these questions have been on my mind so much since attending a Sally Clarkson conference a month ago. My daughter's dance team seems just ridiculous with the time commitments attached--definitely will not repeat next year! Die to sad circumstances we were forced to take the whole month of February off and life amidst some family sadness seemed enjoyable--an empty calendar greeted my eyes daily and I felt relief, joy, refreshed...being a mom is a big job--all the other commitments really do need to take a back seat to the parenting I need to do.

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  73. Agreed! I hate the stress of being over-committed, and sometimes wonder when parents involve themselves and their kids in the dizzying array of activities out there if they are somehow avoiding spending time together?

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  74. Brilliant, just brilliant! Such true words...thanks for blogging them.

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  75. It took 4 kids for me to figure this out..my calendar is clear and I love it. I want to remember moments not schedules. Great post Sarah! xoxo

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  76. Sarah,

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and feel compelled to comment on this beautiful entry.

    Everything you have laid out so eloquently here is exactly why I am leaving the workforce at the end of next week to focus 100% on our son. For the first time in his, almost six years, of life I will be there for him 100%. Less stressed, less snappy and less unfocused. I will be 100% dedicated to him, my husband, our home and our life. I can not wait.

    I want my son to remember me for being there for him -- not for being there when my schedule permits. I want to make a difference in his life, and I want our family to be solid.

    What you have written is exactly what has been on my heart this year, and I will be going back to this again and again. Thank you!!!

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  77. thank you for this. i really needed to hear it. someone recently told me to breathe and i was like, "breathe?! what's that?!" and that was an aha moment for me. SLOW.DOWN. just stop everything. i know there are things that have to be done but by golly, when every day you feell like you can barely keep your head above water...that's not a good thing. thanks for the kick in the pants.

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  78. This post speaks volumes and it is the reason I am a stay at home Mum to my 4 children and why I say no a lot to extra things and why I am sitting here now taking a breather.
    You are so wise.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  79. This made me cry. In relief. A good kind of cry. This is *exactly* what I have been trying to communicate to various people in my life for years, only to be told that I'm just looking at things incorrectly. Thank you. Thank. You.

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  80. Another great one that spoke straight to my heart & met me just where I was.

    Thank you.

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  81. I turned the dumb show that I was watching to mute to make sure I took in every word of this post. I want to bookmark this and keep it forever so I can read it often.
    Why?
    Because it's right and it's true. And it's not just your opinion. It's the wisdom of a day gone by being brought to light by a brave voice.
    It's all bang on and it resonates with me to my core.
    Thanks for saying it. Thanks.

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  82. ... and this is why you are a gem sarah. keep saying it. God whispered a sweet secret into your heart... and i am so glad!! i am one of thoe that has in fact wiped the calendar clean.. i am not outside busy but can so easily become inside busy doing doing doing. when all they want is for me just to play. to watch. to listen. thanks for reading the inside of my heart.. again. :)

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  83. Sarah, this is so timely and spot on. Some days I feel like I'm swimming upstream against the current. Everyone I know has their kids in a gajillion activities while all I can handle is church and story hour. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to live a pared down life.

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  84. Thank you Sarah.
    I love a clean a free calendar. Uninterrupted days and weekends. Being present is tough for me. I am still working on it though!
    Thanks for the inspiration again.
    Have a happy day

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  85. Oh my! This really hit home today. As I put the kids to bed late again last night without time to read to them I wondered what had happened to my life. Reading this brought home that I do have a choice about what is coming into my life. Sometimes I think and act like I have no control over all I have to do, but that just isn't true. I can and need to say no so I can be a more peaceful mom and take care of the things that are truly essential. Thanks for the reminder.

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  86. THANK YOU for your post. This really got me thinking. I just found your blog today and will be reading it daily! Thank you!!

    FromWorkingMomtoWorkingMom.blogspot.com

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  87. Why is it that I know all of this and yet it is still SO hard to just say no to other commitments sometimes and wipe your calendar clean? Ihave gotten much better about saying no, but still have a ways to go. I enjoyed reading this! Thanks for the reminder!

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  88. Dear Sarah... Ok, so I know there are 90 comments on this topic so far... and you may or may not read everyone of them. i don't have time at the moment to read each one... but maybe I can come back to it. I just wanted to tell you that I love you! And I love your view on life. I feel like if we were neighbors we would be really close friends. Thank you for posts like this... it is why I follow your blog. I am not a blogger myself... and I don't keep up on many others... but I love checking in with you once in a while. I have 6 children... all under the age of 12... and I think i might want one more! Isn't that crazy!? I love being a mom... but it is not easy for me either. I have to really work on being 'present'. There are so many things that pull my attention elsewhere.. but I know that the most important things are being with my kids.. and REALLY being present when I am with them. This post made me think.... and I am going to do better. You are wonderful... thank you so much. May God continue to bless you and your darling family. With love.

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  89. I am so thankful for your words. I think God gives you the gift of writing your truths and then sends the straight to my very soul.
    I really hope you know how you bless those who find you here. I am "just" a mother, whose husband is deploying again in less than 24 hours and I just needed a pick me up while he finishes up his packing....and I realized I had not read your blog in a while...and wham, just like that. tears and a hug. without you even knowing how much i needed it. thank you, once again. :)

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  90. Thank you so much for this! What a great reminder of the choices we must make to be the mom's we desire to be. My time as a new, first time mom so frequently competes with my role as "the pastor's wife," which in an of itself carries a lot of expectations by others. Thanks for the reminder that it's truly ok to turn it all off and be the mother I so deeply feel called to be.

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  91. What a powerful post--thank you for sharing your perspective and thoughts on motherhood. I am a mother because of the gift of adoption and there is no question it is the greatest blessing I've been given in this life (and of course, my dear husband, too!). Your post was a nice reminder of the importance of living in the moment with my son each and every day and to not sweat the small stuff so much. Thanks again for this post. Best! :-)

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  92. thanks so much. read this. it contains some of the same advice and i think you'll appreciate it:

    http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/of-things-that-matter-most?lang=eng

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  93. Well, I just love this. And it appears that I'm in good company. I wish I could clink glasses with you right now.

    Signed,
    We all stayed in our PJs until after lunch

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  94. I LOVE this whole post, especially the last paragraph. I am going to print it out so I can read it often. It's exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

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  95. This is so on-the-money. I especially love the paragraph where you think that mother's who have gone before us or in third world countries might roll their eyes at us whining about how stressed we are. I tweeted and facebooked this for my friends. I hope they come to read it. I might just print it off for myself too.

    PS - I hate it when I must comment under my google name instead of the option to use my url for my own blog. It's so frustrating. Usually, I just leave and don't comment. The google info it will take you too is out dated. I can be found at www.amaranthineimage.com

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  96. Such truth and elegance in this message.

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  97. I absolutely LOVE this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I love the questions you asked... and I love asking those questions of myself and finding the answers.

    Thank you.

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  98. A friend told me about your blog in the coffee shop this morning. Wow! I'm so glad she did! I love your blog and your honest! Sometimes (most of the time) I feel so alone in the way that I want to raise my children and your blog this afternoon was like a gust of fresh air blowing across me! THANK YOU for sharing your heart! :) I grew up very simple and I want my children to have that same opportunity! It's a real challenge in today's society but I'm on for the challenge!!! Thanks again! :)

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  99. This is soo so beautiful! I love it! Thank you so very much! My oldest is 6 now, and I look at a lot of my friends with 4 or more children who are running around with their head cut off, and I am dreading the day!!! I think sports are important for children for so many reasons....but at the same time, everything you said above is far more important...like having family time. I'm not saying I won't do sports...I most likely will. :) I guess it will come in moderation. I don't want to be the "CRAZY, stressed mama". Thank you thank you thank you. YOu make motherhood look divine and beautiful! xo

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