Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our Talents

I've been in a cyber-discussion about whether or not moms should write books and run marathons. The person I was having the cyber-discussion wondered what women who do these things are trying to prove. I don't think we are trying to prove anything. I don't run marathons, but I'm truly impressed by those who do.

I do write books, but I'm not trying to prove anything. I love to write and I love being a mother. For me, one doesn't take away from the other. I find joy in writing; it makes me happy. Being a happy mom is important for my kids. It's important to make time in our lives for things that make us happy.

In this discussion, it was suggested that writing books should wait for a time when my kids are grown up. Now is not the time to write books, it was contended. There will be time for that later.
I know so many mothers who are writers. That kind of thinking--that we shouldn't write because our kids are small and we should put it off for later--is wrong. We all have been given talents. If we hide our talents or put them off for another time, then we're not showing our gratitude for those talents. Using our talents shows gratitude to Heavenly Father for giving us those talents.

I'll be honest. I don't have a lot of talents. I sing horribly. I can't play the piano. (I've tried, and I suck.) I'm really bad at cooking & baking. I'm not artistic. I'm not crafty. I'm not athletic.

My two talents are being a mom and writing. And, I see no reason why I can't demonstrate those two talents simultaneously.

We all have talents. I know people who sing beautifully and I love hearing them. I'm glad for mothers who use their talents to sing in choirs or do solos at church. You will never see me singing a solo in sacrament meeting. Not that I don't want to. I'd love to be able to sing, but people have told me not to. Once, even from the floor below I was told that I sing horribly. So, I won't sing, but I'm glad for those who do, who give me goose bumps when they sing solos in church.

I'm glad for moms who play the piano at church. I took a few years of piano and can do okay with my right hand, but my not my left hand. She just does not want to cooperate. So, I've tried, and I can't. I wish that I could.

When I was a teenager, one of my church teachers was a very talented singer. A few times, she participated in theatre productions. I once saw her do Annie Oakley in a local theatre's production of Annie, Get Your Gun. I cried watching her because I was so inspired by her talent. She was a mother of two at the time, and I was grateful for her supportive husband who encouraged her to display her beautiful talent.

I have a friend who sewed her daughter a coat with a matching hat! A coat. She made an actual coat! This same friend also sings amazing solos. Talents are wonderful. We all have them and we should pursue them, not hide them or put them away.

There are mothers all around us who use their talents, who don't hide them. They shouldn't hide them. I'm glad for mothers who make beautiful quilts, who make delicious desserts, who run 5K's, who take beautiful photographs, who do pottery, who cut hair, who teach piano and dance, who paint pictures, who decorate amazing cakes, who coach the girls basketball team at church, and who write books.

Can a mother write books and be a good mom? Just ask my friend, Rebecca Talley, who is a writer and has ten kids. Or, ask my friends, Tamra Norton or Tristi Pinkston, who home-school their kids and have published multiple books.

As for me and my one talent, I will continue to pursue it. It's the only I have. I'll never sing or play the piano. Yeast doesn't like to rise for me. My rice krispy treats don't stick together the way they should. The patches on my son's cub scout uniform are lop-sided. The photographs I take will continue to be off-center. I can't cut my kids' hair. But, I can write. I'm not the best writer in the world, but I do write. I'm grateful for my supportive husband who is my greatest cheerleader. He tells people he's just met about my books and carries my cards to hand out to people. He wishes I would do more book-signings. He's encouraging and supportive of my one talent.


Amanda said...

Frankly, I write not to prove something, but so I don't go crazy being a mom! My writing makes me a better mom, because if I kept my thoughts on my kids 24/7, I wouldn't make it. I tried, and the results were bad.

There's nothing wrong with doing the things you love - whether or not you are talented at them - just because you have kids. i'm glad you don't let the people who say so beat you down. Diversity in interests doesn't make our activities in one area or another less good.

Queen 'Bina said...

Being a mother is not one of my talents. I love my kids, but nurturing does not come naturally to me. I do have a lot of other talents though, and it is through mothering and being a wife that I've gained the self confidence to persue and share those talents.
The person I am has been set free from the confines of my mind and body. That makes me a better mom in spite of my lack of natural aptitude. My kids have someone they can follow to grow up happy and well rounded.
I don't pursue my various talents because I need to prove something, I do it because these things are part of who I am and I have spent quite enough of my life denying who I am, thank you very much.
So kudos to you Marcia. Believe it or not, your one talent will multiply into many more talents as you continue to pursue it.

Karlene said...

This is a personal thing and you have to decide for yourself if pursuing your talents enriches you as a mother or distracts you from being a mother.

I put my FICTION writing on hold when my children were little because I couldn't do both. But I did all sorts of other writing. It made me a better mom and I think it set a good example for my children.

Tristi Pinkston said...

When I started my family, I had every intention of putting my writing on hold. I believed that I couldn't write and be a mom at the same time. But that's not how it was to be for me - the idea for my first published novel literally came to me in a dream and demanded that I pay attention to it. I listened, and I've learned that you can do both, as long as you keep things in balance. That's been the hardest part for me, is the balance thing. I can get caught up in writing a chapter and have to be reminded that I do need to make lunch, etc. but overall, like everyone has said, it does make me a better mom. We were given our talents for a reason and if we squelch them, we're not achieving the highest that is in us. I believe that we can reach for any number of dreams, as long as we also work at attaining balance.

Julie said...

I believe if we don't practice the talents that we do have regularly than we will lose them.
I learned that the hard way with the piano. Now, I can hardly play anything at all. After I let that go, I realized that you can lose talents so I've grabbed onto the bits and pieces of talents I have left and I've tried to practice, create and make use of them as much as I can so I can keep them.

Liz said...

i loved this post so much!! i don't know why i'm not visiting your blog as often as i want. i think cuz you'r bookmarked in safari and i tend to click on foxfire (ok, that was totally irrelevant! i guess writing wouldn't be a talent of mine! :) ) anyway, it's always a treat when i come to visit your blog. i'm so proud of mothers who model multi faceted behaviors for their children. i think it inspires them to see the world and it's many possibilities! thanks again for using your talents to write this post!