Saturday, January 14, 2017

In the Midst of the Mom Rut by Jenn Frieden

I don’t know if anyone has told you this but life is hard. Being a parent is HARD! There are days that I think I have got this whole mom thing under control and it’s the best job in the whole wide world. Other days I feel like I am willing to take any OTHER job in the whole wide world just to get away from the responsibilities of motherhood and keeping our home running. How can it be possible to have so much joy and misery doing the exact same thing? 
I’ve always wanted a big family. In my adolescent mind I thought the crazier, louder, bigger family the better.  Now all I can think is “What was I thinking?” and “My poor mother!” I think we all have this ideal picture in our head of how our family and our life will be. Our expectations are that we will meet the man (woman) of our dreams, get married, have the perfect amount of beautiful brilliant children and all live in a beautifully clean home happily ever after. And then life happens and that picture is shattered into a thousand pieces of reality. Somedays I am that mother I saw in my mind doing crafts and taking my kids to the park. Somedays I am the mother I never knew existed doing the 17th load of laundry and forgetting, again, that dinner happens every day. I find myself getting into the motherhood rut of doing the same things over and over again, existing in my life instead of living it. Then comes the added bonus of motherhood guilt for everything. I should be doing this. I could have done that better. Even on those good days where I did everything I was “supposed” to and my kids are all clean and sleeping in their own beds at the right time; no one knows about it. Where is my A+? Where is my gold star? I want a little acknowledgment and validation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to, and that I am doing a dang good job at it as well! I want to shout from my rooftop that today, I did my job right! But guess what?  I have to do it again tomorrow, and the result is most likely going to change. It’s an ongoing cycle of crazy and some days I just want to get out. 
It also doesn’t help that there are so many ways that I get to see other mothers doing a WAY better job than me at everything! I get to see kids with perfect outfits and hair expertly done, homes decorated to look like the magazines and dinners that belong in a resort style restaurant. Man, I suck at my job. 
How can we get out of the Mom Rut? How can I change my attitude so that I am living my life and not just existing?  I believe that in our darkest times the Lord sends us little rays of sunshine to point out what we are missing. Rosemary Wixom stated “Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God.” This quote is one of these golden rays! What I do during every day is not changing my worth or value to the Lord. I am important to Him, not because I was that “perfect mother” I expected to be today, but because I was me. I might have been blinded by the 18th load of laundry and dinner but my value in the Lords eyes has not changed. What better validation can I receive than from the creator of the universe? 
Can we stop with the unrealistic expectations of life? Can we stop comparing our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths? Can we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves that we can’t find any joy in our life? Can we all help each other, lift each other, and tell one another the positive instead of focusing on the negative? I, for one, don’t like feeling so overwhelmed that life just feels like a giant to do list. That’s not what God wants for us. I’ve had countless moms from this amazing community tell me they are going through the same things, and that is ok. That is more than ok. It makes me feel like my crazy is normal. 
In the “Family: A Proclamation to the World” released by the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it says “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”  No pressure there! (Sarcasm) He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. I, as a mom, am not more important than my children because I was born first in this world. “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Savior is the central role in this purpose and life and He should be the center of our marriages and families. Easier said than done, I’m afraid. But Elder Jeffrey Holland gives me another ray of hope when he said “Don’t give up… don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead… It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

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