The joy of becoming

I have a very long “to be” list. This isn’t my usual list of errands to run or appointments to remember. This is my running mental list of things I want to be when I grow up: I want to be an author. I want to be more patient. I want to be organized. A better cook. Kind. A good friend. A good mom.

Sometimes, this “to be” list paralyzes me. My husband laughs because every Sunday after church, I have a list of 10 new things I am going to do that week. I am going to read my scriptures for 30 minutes every night. I am going to try a new recipe every night. I am going to write a book. Spend more time with the kids. Volunteer on a regular basis.

He laughs because there is no way I will do all these things. Let’s be honest: I will do none of them. I will give up on all of them because it’s just too much.

Here’s my problem: I am so focused on the being, that I cheat myself out of the joy of becoming. The No. 1 thing on my list, for example, is I want to be the best mom I can be. Now. Right now. I get discouraged when I see other mothers who appear to be doing motherhood with more ease, more grace and more … well … everything I’m not. I am quick to compare my biggest flaws with their greatest strengths, and just as quick to forget that motherhood is a journey and not a destination.

When I first started this blog nearly six years, the original title of my column was “Becoming Mom.” I chose that because I knew motherhood was a process. I wasn’t handed a motherhood diploma in the delivery room declaring me a proficient mother. I still marvel that I was allowed to leave the hospital grounds with my baby in tow.

babyhospitalYou see that look on my face? Yea, that is a look of pure panic because a nurse just handed me a tiny human and said, “You’re a mother!” I had no idea what being a mother meant.

Now two kids and six years later, I know it is the process that is the important part, not the destination. The real learning, refining and growing happens in the daily becoming.

If progression is the central theme to this life and the eternities, then growth is the goal. I probably will never feel like I’ve mastered being a mother because my children will change, their needs will change and I will change. There will be new learning curves — new lows and new highs.

I learn daily about what being a mom — let a lone a good one — really is. I am constantly surprised by the amount of sacrifice it takes to be a mom. I marvel at the amount of joy and heartache that accompanies motherhood. I’m learning and growing alongside my children.

So to better embrace the becoming of my life, I am trying to accept what I am in this moment. Instead of wishing I could be a better chef for my children, a more present mother or the author I someday aspire to be, I am looking at the small triumphs. I’m patting myself on the back for learning how to use a zester. I’m giving myself brownie points for intently playing a mind-numbing re-enactment game of “Sleeping Beauty” with my daughter. I’m allowing myself to take a few hours for myself to write.joyofbecoming

Most importantly, I’m letting go of all the things I’m not. I will stare at my flaws less and my progress more. And one day if I do complete my “to be” list, my victory will be that much sweeter for all the hard work I’ve put in along the way. And if I don’t become the perfect woman I envision (and I guarantee I never will), then that’s OK too because every step along the way has been a victory in itself.

The becoming is my success.

What do you hope to be one day? How can you focus on the becoming along the way?

2 comments

  1. Danny Chipman

    We had a blog post-turned-FHE lesson (Google “Daring Young Mom” to find the original post) about this just a couple days ago. We give ourselves (and rightly so!) “drops in our jar of AWESOME” for the times we do motherhood right. But no matter how many drops we put in, we could never fill our bucket ourselves in our lifetime. Thankfully, that’s when Christ’s atonement comes in with a pitcher, and fills our “awesome” up to overflowing.

  2. Patti

    So true – just as our kids are growing and learning, hopefully we are too. We will never be perfect, but I think that if we try hard and do better each day, we are doing exactly what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. The one thing we can be perfect at is loving our kids. As long as my kids have known every day that I love them unconditionally, it has been a good day. You look a little worried in the picture – every new parent is. You are doing great!

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