Today’s guest post is from MJ Frandsen, who adventures through motherhood with a pen in her hand, a pony tail elastic around her wrist, cochlear implant batteries in her purse, and gratitude for the repentance process. She is constantly challenged and inspired by her boys; ages 3, 1 and 28–her husband, with whom she has been in love since she was 15. Now, a BS in International Cultural Studies and Masters degree in Public Administration later, MJ is the administrator in her home, dreaming of being an author while writing about her tragedies and triumphs as a mother and a wife.
Many strange things have happened to me as a mother. I’ve watched my abdomen balloon to the size of a basketball and independently wobble with life inside; I’ve become completely tolerant of touching many disgusting bodily byproducts; and, random line-ups of toy cars are an integral part of my interior decoration scheme (just to name a few). But, perhaps one of the strangest things that occasionally happens amidst all of the things I’m trying to find (sunscreen, keys, the card, the grocery list, the email responses, the dirty diaper, where Atrain may have put Fin McMissile, which side I fed Jdog on last, etc. etc.), is that it’s easy to lose myself in the mix.
It’s strange, really, when I search for the familiar sense of self I thought I knew so well, only to find pieces of that person and some undefined stuff in between. I hear my voice and the nagging, “Please obey me when I ask you the first time,” words I speak and I idealize the former version of myself, wondering where the fun, sweet, spontaneous me went. Next, I lose focus, which then inevitably leads to a harrowing, guilty conscience. Yesterday, I actually asked my mom, “Why do we do it?” The words tasted biter and full of regret as soon as they left my tongue.
Of course I know why. And the only reason I asked my mom such a stupid question was because I knew she would understand what I really meant: help. After a few good conversations and some un-tethered time catching up on my scripture study, LDS conference council and enjoying my kiddos sans household duties, my perspective is a lot clearer. I am a mother because I love God. I am a mother because I love my husband. I am a mother because I love the little souls I am blessed to nurture—so much that I want to turn myself inside out to protect them. I am a mother because I know that raising good kids is the greatest contribution I can make. Nothing is more important than this responsibility I chose to bear.
Perhaps that is why it is so difficult; I want to be the best mothering-me I can be, but I am still learning who she is. I’m sure I will always be, and I am ok with that. Recently, the words of a familiar scripture wrote themselves so clearly in my mind, and took on new meaning:
Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
I want to get lost in motherhood. I don’t need to be concerned about that me that I was when I didn’t have kids and how she compares to the me that I am now. I am going to focus on who I am becoming, rather than who I was. And, when I’m wishing for a little more of myself to go around, I need to remember that God can make more of me than I could have ever make of myself.