Archive for category My Family
On Perfection and Motherhood
I have three-year-old twins. They’re adorable, but they’re also sometimes about as much as I can handle. Motherhood isn’t an easy job, especially when you love your children and really want to be a perfect mother. In my church, we believe the commandment the Savior gave to “be thou perfect” wasn’t just a pretty saying. It’s a quest. But when you combine a quest for perfection with motherhood, you usually come up with guilt.
It isn’t easy for moms who work outside the home, it isn’t easy for moms who stay home with their children, and it isn’t easy for moms like me who stay at home and try to sneak in a few minutes of writing time each day. And even if you’re a great mom for an entire morning, it only takes a couple minutes of being grumpy or losing your temper, and then you aren’t a “good mom” anymore.
Last week, I had one of those days (OK, several) that included moments of wanting to exile my children to their bedroom long before quiet time and/or pull all my hair out. That evening I was telling my husband how the day went, and he said something that really hit me. “Of course you aren’t a perfect mother. It’s not like you’ve done this before.”
I share this in the hope that it will make sense to other moms the way it made sense to me. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on your first set of kids, like me, or if you’re on your seventh or eighth child. You haven’t raised that child at that exact age before. You’ve never been in those exact circumstances. And if you aren’t a mother, it still applies. Life changes, and you can’t expect to overcome every surprise perfectly the first time it gets thrown at you.
As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve compared it to something I can really understand—writing. The first drafts of my novels are never perfect. They are far from it. They usually have potential, and a few cool parts, but they always need a lot of work. (You can see some examples of early-draft problems here.) That doesn’t mean I throw the manuscript out. It means I work on it. I fill in the plot holes, take out redundancies, clarify the convoluted parts, and polish the wording. Is writing hard? Yes. Is Motherhood hard? You bet. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the effort.
Unfortunately, you can’t edit your life. But I believe a loving Father in Heaven doesn’t expect our lives—our rough drafts—to read like a polished final product. He wants us to do our best, and not repeat the same mistakes over and over, and He wants us to keep trying. And for now, just trying might be good enough. After all, it’s not like any of us have done this before.
This post is part of the 4th Annual LDS Writer’s Blogfest, and the theme this year is about how your beliefs shape your writing. To read other posts written by people who share my beliefs, click here (This list will be updated later with links to specific posts. Right now, it’s just to other blogs.)
Note: This blog post represents my opinion, not official doctrine for my church.
Some great things happened last weekend. I went to the LDStorymakers Writer’s Conference in Provo and had a wonderful time. I strengthened some existing friendships, made new friends, and learned a ton. Thank you to everyone who helped make the conference a success!
The rest of this post is about giving congratulations to some very deserving individuals. After the conference were the Whitney awards, and I’d like to congratulate the winners: Dan Wells for I Don’t Want to Kill You (Novel of the Year), Tess Hilmo for With a Name Like Love (Best Novel by a New Author AND Best Youth Fiction/General), Rachel Ann Nunes for Before I Say Goodbye (Best General Fiction), Gale Sears for Letters in the Jade Dragon Box (Best Historical), Carla Kelly for Borrowed Light (Best Romance), Stephanie Black for Rearview Mirror (Best Mystery/Suspense), Robison Wells for Variant (Best Youth Fiction/Speculative) and Brandon Sanderson for The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel (Best Speculative Fiction). You can see the cover art for the winning books here.
Never heard of the Whitneys? It’s an awards program designed to highlight the best works of fiction by LDS authors and help raise the quality of LDS literature. You can see all the finalists from 2011 here. If you’re looking for a great book to read, this list is a good place to start! And if you’ve read a great book by a LDS author, you can nominate them for a Whitney Award here.
The next congratulations goes to one of my little brothers. This past weekend he graduated from Washington State University and received his commission in the US Army. Congrats, Second Lieutenant Grant! I have five siblings, and they are all wonderful, talented, amazing people and good friends. This week I am extra proud of my brother Jeremy. Here are a few pictures taken by my awesome big sister VaLynn.
Pictures like this make me wish I could have been in more than one place last weekend! I’m so grateful to live in the United States and to have such a wonderful family. As a side note, I’ve had a few people ask me if Jeremy is the model for the cover of Espionage. The answer is no, but he’s now the right rank!
So remember yesterday’s post? The analogy of how getting a book published is a little like having a baby? Well, sometimes deliveries come sooner than you expect.
Like my twins. I had a scheduled Cesarian for a Saturday. So naturally I went into labor Thursday night and the twins entered the world on a Friday morning. That meant that all the stuff I was planning to do on Friday—wash the laundry, water the houseplants, watch my husband install two car seats, take a picture of my very large 38-weeks-plus-a-few-days-pregnant-with-twins self—never happened. A few of our houseplants perished soon after the twins came along, but I think I made the right choice when I decided to take care of the babies and ignore the ivy.
Today I got another earlier-than-expected delivery: my box of comp books from the publisher. It’s a very exciting day at my house. Watch out, houseplants. You’ve just been delegated to low-priority, again.