I had an overwhelming week… well, if I’m honest it was an overwhelming couple of weeks. I’m always really prideful and I hate to admit it when it gets hard but I’m admitting it right now. Sometimes it’s hard.
I have all of these expectations for myself as a mother. I’m supposed to keep my house perfectly clean, feed my family three nutritious meals a day plus healthy snacks, teach my children important life and educational skills, be a good wife to my husband, and never ever lose my temper because studies show that if you yell you will damage your kiddos for life, they will be hashing out your faults on some therapists couch for years to come!
On top of that I ran across some stupid crap online where a bunch of working mothers bashed stay-at-home mommies who aren’t really working you know. It was like someone was putting rocks in my pockets…. guilt… expectations… accusations… I was ready to explode. I did explode, well more like I melted. I’m one of those people who is more likely to have a crying fit than a screaming one.
It all climaxed on Valentine’s day. I was wrangling my babies, feeding them some not exciting or overly nutritious cereal, and thinking about last years Valentine’s french toast. As I recall it was heart-shaped and topped with strawberries and Nutella. Hubby came home to me crying and feeling SO inadequate. He didn’t judge. He didn’t scold. And thankfully he didn’t laugh. He just told me it was OK, told me that the things I was worrying about didn’t really matter, and that I was doing a good job. He then took the kids and entertained them so I could have a break.
Not long after this I was listening to a podcast called Keeping Your Sanity in a Home of Little Ones. I missed half of the podcast because I was simultaneously cleaning the kitchen and entertaining a toddler, but I got snippets here and there and the basic feeling that the things I’ve been stressing so much over don’t matter, as long as I’m doing my best and relying on my Heavenly Father when things get tough.
What drove it all home was this quote from Elder Jeffrey R Holland who said, “If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.” Wow, so are my expectations of myself really in line with my Heavenly Father’s expectations of me? It’s worth thinking about because it’s the kind of question that gives comfort but doesn’t just give you a pass, “Oh your child is running naked down the street while you text your BFF from high school? It’s OK you’re doing your best.” No, it’s more like, “Yeah, I’m feeding my kid cereal, but I’m also talking to her and playing with her and you know what, even though the kids screamed through it we still prayed on that cereal complete with the plea that those Lucky Charms give us the health and strength we need!”
I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will get overwhelmed with life, but I hope I’ll remember this quote and take solace that as long as I’m doing my best I’m not letting anyone down. In fact, as long as I’m doing my best it doesn’t matter if someone else disapproves because my Heavenly Father doesn’t. He’s proud of me and right there cheering me on Lucky Charms and all.