This is one of our Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Arwen Mosher who is a wife and mother of four.
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a thirty-one-year-old wife and mother of four young children. My husband Bryan and I were high school sweethearts, and have been married for eleven years. Our children are Camilla, who’s almost seven, Blaise, who’s four and a half, and twins Linus and Ambrose, who are two.
(Why, yes, I DO have my hands full! Thank you, kind strangers in the grocery store!)
I’ve been home with our children since Camilla was born, and our life is as crazy and wonderful as you’d imagine. I have a bachelor’s degree in theology from a small Catholic college, and although I never intended my degree to be job training, eight years later I’m still continually surprised by how my theological studies inform my day-to-day life.
Besides my family, my main passion is writing, which I do for my own enjoyment these days, although from 2008 to 2012 I blogged professionally at the now-defunct FaithandFamilyLive.com. I read avidly, a habit I inherited from my non-TV-owning, book-loving parents. (Yes, they did name me after a character from The Lord of the Rings.) I also love to cook and bake, although I hate laundry and cleaning. I am wild for tea and mixed drinks, can’t stand coffee and beer, and will choose potato chips over ice cream every time.
I’m an ENFJ, a choleric sanguine, and an enneagram type 2. I also, incidentally, really enjoy taking personality tests. I talk to strangers in line at the store, am confident and decisive (my five younger siblings might say “bossy”), and I love to help others. I like people. I don’t know you yet, but I’m sure I’ll like you too!
2. What does living a “super awesome life” mean to you?
To me, living well means being the best version of yourself.
I love the idea of vocation, that each person has her own call to live a life exactly suited to her unique self. Within that framework, living well has nothing to do with impressing others, or making money, or any of the things usually associated with important achievement. Rather, it means using my talents and strengths in the places my life takes me, and trusting that I will become the best me I can be that way.
3. What does a typical day look like in your world?
I’m lucky because my husband, who’s a morning person, gets up with the children and feeds them breakfast every day. When I roll out of bed I brush my teeth in a stupor and go in search of caffeine. A cup or two of strong tea later I’m awake and can face the day, so I shower and dress, send my big kids to dress themselves while I chase down the toddlers and wrestle them into decently presentable clothing, and start the main part of our day.
It’s summer, so things are very low-key right now. If I don’t have too many chores to do around the house, we might play outside for a while, take a trip to the library, go visit some friends, or stop by the grocery store (although I’m only desperate enough to take all four kids to the store solo if we run out of milk or something). Later, it’s lunch time, and then Ambrose and Linus go down for their nap while Camilla and Blaise tidy the living room and kitchen. During nap time they’ll play outside, or sometimes play a board game or do a puzzle with me. I like to make some iced tea and read for a while and enjoy the temporary quiet.
Once the twins are up and everyone’s had a snack we’ve got a couple more hours to kill. I’m doing laundry or working on dinner prep, and the kids are getting out all the toys and strewing them around the room, as per their normal M.O. I might let them watch some TV if I’m stressed, call a friend or sister and talk for a while if I need some adult conversation, or put everyone in the car for an outing if I’m feeling generous or stir-crazy.
Then Bryan (who works from home) is finished with his work day and it’s dinner time, and he’ll take the kids on a walk/bike ride or to the park while I take a bath or do dishes, depending on what kind of day I’ve had. Then it’s bedtime routine (which takes a while) and once everyone’s finally asleep and the house is tidy again, he and I talk about the day or watch TV before rolling into bed (too late, as always) to sleep for a while before doing the whole thing again.
4. What has been your biggest challenge since becoming a mother?
Honestly? Fighting the voice in my own head telling me I’m not doing it well enough.
I plugged through my first two kids’ early years, but when my twins were about six months old I realized the stress of having a preschooler, a toddler, and two babies had catapulted me into a head space where I was constantly disappointed and angry with myself for failing to do it all.
I found a wonderful therapist and did three months of intensive work to pull myself out of that space, and it helped immensely. But I think perfectionism and self-doubt will always be my bugaboos. I fight them every day.
Am I now able to tell you with a firm clear voice that I know I’m doing a good job in my life? Yes. Do I believe it? Well, sort of. Sometimes.
It’s a journey.
5. What advice would you give to other women who may feel overwhelmed in their roles as a wife and mother?
In a sentence: Keep your eyes on your own paper.
I think the worst, most self-undermining thing women do is compare ourselves to other women. We see other people accomplishing things in their own lives and imagine a lack in our own selves and lives by comparison. I think this is so destructive.
Every person is unique, every family is unique, and every one of us will be happiest living a life that’s suited to our own personalities. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to any of life’s problems. There’s no one perfect mother or perfect spouse. Each of us is the right wife and mother for her own family. Have confidence that, as you make decisions with the best interests of your family in mind, things will shake out as they should.
6. What little things in life right now make you do a happy dance? Big things?
Little things? When my twins both take a three-hour nap on the same day. When I make bread and the loaves turn out perfectly. My six-year-old daughter reading books to her brothers. Dinner out with my husband. Candy Crush.
Big things? My perfect little family. Maybe we’re all here, and maybe not (it’s God’s game, in the end) but we had two and a half years of fertility struggles before I got pregnant with our firstborn, so it amazes me that we have four precious, healthy children here with us now. They and their father are the best things that have ever happened to me.
7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?
Even though I look nothing like her, I think Toni Collette. That woman can act! And she has so much soul.
8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?
I think it would make all the difference if we could all see each other as human persons, made in the image of God, who deserve love and respect at every moment.
Imagine if people gave each other the benefit of the doubt, and listened to each other, and wanted the best for each other instead of wanting others to be condemned. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?
“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.”
That’s from St. Catherine of Siena, and encapsulates what I believe about vocation and life’s purpose.
10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?
Well, my children. They’re adorable and perfect to me and I’m all too aware that these days with them are fleeting and they’ll be adults before I know it. I don’t want to waste that.
And also, most importantly, my conviction that God loves me and gives me the grace to grow to be the person I was created to be. I don’t always do it well, but I try to live up to that every day.
Thanks so much for sharing, Arwen!
P.S. Wanna indulge yourself? How about cake for breakfast?