Stephanie over at Diapers and Divinity asked her readers to fill out her little ‘Find a Friend Friday’ questionnaire and link it up on her blog, and since Heather at Women in the Scriptures hasn’t posted her Friday Five linkup today, I thought I’d just go ahead and do Stephanie’s link up (and maybe link it up over on Heather’s blog – hear that, Heather? I missed your Friday Five today! It was like missing a regular phone call from an old friend!) So here goes…
My name is Becca (‘Rebecca’ to less familiar acquaintances), I am a 25 year old mother of two and wife to a soldier. We live in Utah right now, and we’ll probably be here for a while (my hub’s job is starting to look like the prospects for upward movement will be good, so we’ll probably just ride that wave for a while – but who knows what might come along). In our first 5 years of marriage we moved eight times (several of those moves were back and forth between different states) and lived in Utah, California, Arkansas, and Arizona (and at times some of us lived in one of those states while the others were living in another state – it was gruesome, but we made it!). We love living in new places (we don’t like temporary living – we prefer semi-permanence, like one to two years) and would love to live in other countries. Our oldest (V) is four and a boy (all boy), and our youngest is a two year old girl (J).
I was born and raised in the great Southern state of Arkansas. My mom grew up in Utah and my dad is Canadian. They lived in Utah for a few years (where my dad graduated in social work from BYU) and then lived in Canada for a few years before moving to Arkansas for my dad to attend a masters program where my mom’s brother-in-law was a professor. Apparently when you come to Arkansas for grad school you never leave… I tell you all this so you know more about where I come from – because we have absolutely no ties to Arkansas except that my dad came from grad school and never left.
I was the middle child, with two older brothers, a younger sister, and a younger brother. My sister and I are best friends and were really close growing up (and are still very close – she’s basically my favorite person in the world and I want to be just like her when I grow up!) I went to BYU and studied Math and Physics and finished my degree while 5 months pregnant, with at 18 month old, and with my husband gone to military training. I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful in-laws (and I know my dad is very grateful to them, since I got married my sophomore year and he really wanted me to finish my degree). I worked from a while during school as a math teacher and/or math tutor, as well as a director for an afterschool tutoring/academics program at a therapeutic boarding school. I quit working when my oldest was about 12 months old, and I haven’t looked back! I was still going to school at the time, though, so I wasn’t completely a stay-at-home mom. That happened when we moved to California a few months before our little girl was born. It has been an adjustment for me (I was always doing something or going somewhere when I was in school) but I have really enjoyed being home with my kids. I still take on a few tutoring students to keep my math skills sharp, and I tutor occasionally for an online tutoring company.
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
My favorite parts of motherhood are the bonding moments – reading/singing to my children, childbirth (I know, right? weird), breastfeeding, those little conversations. Getting to know these little spirits and learning to love them and teaching them to love.
What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
Probably cleaning. Which I guess isn’t entirely a part of motherhood, just a part of being human – but I would rather spend time with my kiddos than spend time cleaning. Maybe when they are a little older and cleaning with them is actually enjoyable (instead of, “Here, this is the way to do it.” and then turning around and “redoing” it for them…. *sigh*) it will be something else. Mostly I just wish there were more hours in the day because I really don’t mind much about motherhood – just that there never seems to be enough time to do it all.
Brag for a minute. Do it. What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
I don’t know about being good at it, but I love music (I play the piano, violin, and I sing) and I have studied music for basically my entire life. At one point in high school I was playing in four different orchestras – the State’s youth symphony, my high school symphony (best in the state – boo yah), a college symphony, and a community symphony. I loved it soooo much and I still play in a local community symphony here in Utah. My sister (who also plays the violin) and I recorded an album, Tutti, for our family for Christmas (we only made 5 copies and gave them to grandparents, etc) It was loads of fun and we’ve been thinking about recording another one just because it was fun. My whole family is really musical – my oldest brother sang in the BYU Men’s Chorus, and my mom is probably one of the best piano teachers in Arkansas (and I’m not just biased – she really is).
What are you loving lately?
Working in my garden. Mostly because it’s getting cold and cold weather = no weeds! Woohoo! I just finished planting all my bulbs so I can’t wait for the spring when all the beautiful tulips, crocuses and daffodils start blooming. I also planted Asiatic lilies, irises, and day lilies and hyacinth. I want to put more shrubbery in and some grasses or something – interesting stuff that sticks around in the winter. Most of what I planted was in the beds when we moved here, but the house had been vacant so the flower beds needed a lot of revamping. I can’t wait to see everything in bloom again! We had so many tulips last year it’s going to be fun to have more flowers. Oh, and I moved a 7’ hibiscus tree a few weeks ago. All by myself. It was a beast, but I did it, and I hope I didn’t kill it. We’ll see next spring. I also canned a bunch of tomatoes from my vegetable garden. I always feel like I am learning about godhood when I work in the garden – I feel so creative, in a very real sense of the word. I also love all the life lessons you can learn from a garden – reaping what you sow, tending and cultivating our testimonies, weeding out bad habits, patience (plant in the fall, flowers in the spring, etc).
Tell us some of your best mom-tricks (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
Remember that your children are God’s children, that they are innocent, and that they never have ulterior motives (they aren’t trying to make your lives harder). Also, remembering that my job as their parent is to teach them rather than to make them do right, I find that I am a much better mother, and they actually respond to my teaching. I am here to learn just as much as they are, and I try to think about them as my partners in learning in this life. The right attitude in parenting makes a huge difference in their response to my actions.
What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
That Heavenly Father loves me and that He is with me. I was promised that I would have this knowledge and that nothing outside of me could ever affect that knowledge – I have known this for a long time, and it’s true – nothing besides my own doubts and fears has ever affected it. Sometimes I have grown weak in my testimony of other things, but I have always known that Heavenly Father loves me and He is with me. (this knowledge has translated to a knowledge that He is with everyone who wants to be near Him, and that He loves everyone, which has helped me to love other people). It is the one thing that I wish everyone knew, too – because it changes your life so much when you know that Heavenly Father knows you and loves you.
Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.
The best advice I received when I was pregnant with my first is something my cousin said to me (which someone else had said to her). I looked up to this cousin in just about everything so when she spoke, I listened. Here’s what she said to me: “When people give you advice about pregnancy and childbirth and parenting, just nod your head politely and then do whatever feels right to you, regardless of what anyone says.” This has been so powerful for me, because people will give you so much advice and some of it is good, and some of it is, forgive my harsh language, but it’s just crap. The best advice you will ever get is personal revelation you receive from communing with Heavenly Father. Keep that line open and listen to and do whatever He tells you to do. When people ask me for advice I always tell them what I did, and follow up with a disclaimer “But every situation is different, and every child is unique, so you’ll have to find out what works best for you.”
What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?
My oldest brother passed away last summer after a grueling nine month battle with an aggressive cancer. My brother and his wife (no kids) left the Church shortly after they were married (they didn’t get married in the temple – which I actually respect him for – when I asked him about it, he said they didn’t believe that Jesus Christ was their Savior, so they didn’t want to get married in the temple just because all my family wanted them to). When he passed away the normal comforts of “you are an eternal family, you’ll see him again” just weren’t as sweet. It was a really trying time for me, and I had to study a lot about the spirit life, judgment, and the kingdoms of heaven, but what really “fixed” everything for me was a visit to the temple where I received some profound understanding about the situation, and a few weeks later when I taught the relief society lesson on the spirit world. I am now very hopeful about my brother, and I continue to pray for him. I have such a better understanding of this life, the next, and my brother – my “silver lining” I guess.