Friday, September 12, 2014

Exhausted Deliberate Christian Mothering

Truth: attempting to be a deliberate Christian mother and wife is exhausting.

Lie: It's not worth it.

Truth: I mess up a lot.

Lie: So, it must not be worth it. 

Sometimes, I do not hear a "thank you" for days, and if I didn't truly believe in what I was doing, I could let myself be overcome with despair. My brain likes despair, and whenever an opportunity to dwell in dark places of sadness occur, the temptation is very great.

[Example: For a few weeks during a really hard 1st trimester, I harbored thoughts that having another child was a mistake because of my mental illness, my marriage struggles, lack of supportive understanding, and my many mistakes. I have since been grateful to eradicate those dark feelings from my being and I am so grateful God is sending us this daughter!] 

A few days ago, I had a cold. The virus came home from school with a few of my children and had been making the rounds. I spent the day trying to rest, but the 2 year old was also sick and as it goes, my opportunities for sleep were limited. The children came home, I tried to help with homework, I attempted to help with chores and I hit a wall. For the first time in one week, I couldn't muster up the strength to be calm AND be a deliberate mother. And so I yelled, I complained, I had a personal pity party, complete with guilt-inducing words directed towards my children. I felt like a complete failure. I had only gotten through one week! 

As I rested on the couch, my daughter came to me to ask how to make part of the dinner we were going to have. I saw her sincere expression and the Spirit reminded me that my children were not the enemy. 

I got up and made dinner for everyone; the children helped willingly. The evening progressed and my rotten mood left. I resigned myself to the fact that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was correct when he said: 

" misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse." (The Tongue of Angels, April 2007)

In fact, his entire talk reminded me that my words, my tone, my actions have a defining affect upon my children, my marriage, my household... It is something I am constantly aware of and have constantly prayed to improve upon. That night, after I apologized for my harsh words, my daughter said to me, "I have noticed you've been better lately about speaking kindly. I'm sorry you're not feeling well." Knowing that they have noticed and appreciated my kinder and more involved mothering was all the gratitude I needed to do much better the next day.

And I did so much better.

What I am finding in my deliberate attempts to keep up with my responsibilities is that I am feeling better enough to try! This is how:
*My medication is working: even though I'm on the lowest dosage of Wellbutrin and had to go off the Lexapro, it has settled into a comfortable routine that takes away the edge and gives me the ability to make a choice of how I want to respond/react to the stress around me. Therapy is also helping --having a third party listen to my concerns and help me sort out everything...
*I'm in the 2nd trimester and my energy has returned, along with a desire to establish good habits before the baby comes this winter.
*I am making choices based on logic and my love for my family, not on how I selfishly feel. A lot of this has to do with the decision to follow The Love Dare and what I've learned about what real, true, unadulterated love is and looks like (but I'll save that for another post).
*Daily prayer --asking God to help me make the choices that will help my family the most, and thereby, will end up helping me the most.
*Reading the words of Christ (scriptures, General Conference talks) and the words of dear righteous women who keep their covenants and strive to share the gospel with their families and the world.

Yes, I'm exhausted. But each night as I lay down to sleep, I am happy with the choices I've been making. I'm attempting the positive, the service, the charity that I have covenanted to share! Even if I don't always make the right choices, I'm still headed in the right direction.

P.S. I want to point out that my "deliberate mothering" is not something I have taken from any kind of book or seminar or blog. I like the wording and the definition of what the word deliberate means, and so I've adopted it. I'm not advocating for anything but for women to keep their covenants with God, and to keep Christ at the center of their existence, their mothering, their marriage, and their fight against worldly influences that can rob our families of eternal joy. That is all. 

1 comment:

Amanda D said...

I'm with you! It is exhausting, but I think you are on the right track. I like the term deliberate motherhood as well.