Saturday, January 26, 2013

From the Comments: Frustration in Motherhood

Dear friends,

This morning, I checked my e-mail inbox to find that I had a new comment on an older post of mine called "The Incredible Shrinking Family". I could feel the pain of the writer so clearly in her words, and I wanted to reach out to her. Who of us have not been frustrated, tired, and just plain worn-out?

Here's what she wrote:
Hi! I came across your blog today and loved reading this post. I agree with everything you have to say ... in principle. But in practice I find this very difficult. I want to love children and love being a mother, but I just don't!
I have two darling little girls who I love, but I don't love being a mother. Pregnancy was miserable, the sleep deprivation of newborns was horrendous and the tantrums and potty training of toddlers has been torture! Like you say, it takes sacrifice, but I sometimes feel like it is just too much for me. I long for a life outside of my children, for some part of me to be left-over at the end of the day for my husband, for something besides diapers and disciplining and dishes!
So yes, children are important and families are vital and I believe in the LDS doctrine of the family ... but I just can't have more children. I feel it would be disastrous for me, for my marriage and for the children we already have. So I guess what I'm saying is that I totally get why some women do not want to have children or do not want to have a lot of children. I understand what they are feeling!
I would have never guessed that I would be saying this. As a young LDS teen, I yearned for a large family. But now, when reality has set in, I am just not enjoying it at all! I feel like overall I have a good attitude around my children and love them, do all of the good stay-at-home-mom things, but deep-down, I am miserable. Any advice?
I know that often people may think that my posts are so idealistic that I must never have bad days or frustrations, or a bad attitude. I'm sorry if this is a disappoinment, ladies, but I have had those days when I want to throw in the towel. I have moments where I hold my head in my hands and think "What have I done?!"


But those days don't last forever (Thank goodness!) and with the Lord's help we can do the difficult and succeed-- and have joy! (I promise!!!)

Here was my response to her, and to all moms who have those times and seasons where they feel they can't take another step, change another diaper, or wash one more dish:
I am so sorry that you are so overwhelmed and discouraged. Boy, have I been there! But there really is hope and peace on the horizon...

First of all, you are deep in the trenches of one of the hardest times of motherhood! I advise you take a deep breath and try to see into your future five, ten or fifteen years from now.

You will NOT always be sleep deprived and mired in the difficulties of trying to be and do everything on your own. Those little ones you have now WILL grow, they will learn to do more for themselves, and they will not always be so demanding.

The time you take now to patiently, lovingly train them will buy you more liberty and breathing room in your not-too-distant future. Is it hard? YES. But from experience, I can tell you, that when you work hard at training those first few little ones, then they become more helpful to you in your duties AND with any other little ones that may be in your future.

Toddler-hood really is the time that ALL moms want to throw in the towel and say "I'm not cut out for this!" You are FAR from being alone in those feelings, I promise!

It is okay to take a break and let your body and your heart heal for a time. But the secret to that and to surviving and moving forward in everything is to PRAY. HARD. Ask for a blessing from your husband, now and then. Pray for peace. For direction. For patience. 

Good grief, I even once had to start praying that I could LOVE my kids!!! LOL! The beauty and blessing was that MY PRAYERS WORKED.

Anything worth doing is difficult-- that's the test of this life. But you don't need to hold your breath as you try to make it through the difficult years. Come up to the surface and breathe deeply in the Father's love, mercy and help.

None of us can succeed at this alone. We need Christ, and He is willing and waiting to take those troubles and burdens from us if we will just give them to Him.

Please don't struggle alone when you don't have to! The Lord loves you and sees every sacrifice and tear and sleepless night. 

Don't worry about having another baby right now. Just work on your relationship with Christ. Then everything else will fall into place.

We can "do all things through Christ." But we should not run faster than we have strength. We NEED to take time to be healed by the Lord. He will give us all we need and then some, helping us to do all things "in wisdom and order."

I know the writer and I would love to hear any other advice from my readers. Do you have more to add?

With love to all my sisters in the motherhood trenches,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Women in Combat

Painting by Edmund Blair Leighton

I was stunned and disturbed this morning to hear that the United States Pentagon has lifted the ban on women fighting in the military. As I listened to the commentator on the radio speak of women waiting at home for the men serving as something as "antiquated as the wearing of hoopskirts" in a disgusted tone, my stomach lurched.

And I began to think about the many reasons to have women home during times of war, "keeping those homefires burning."

Those Left Behind

The first thing that came to mind was the draft. If both the fathers AND the mothers of children are called up to arms, WHO takes care of the children?

Who DOES keep the homefires burning, keeps the money coming in, keeps the neighborhoods functioning, keeps the homes protected from theft and the children from harm?


A Bloodthirsty People

Have we, as a country, as a society, really come to the point where we are as bloodthirsty and warlike as the ancient Greeks and Romans before us? If we haven't already, we soon will be, if our women become as hardened and troubled as our soldiers both past and present. War is one of the most disturbing things that humankind deals with, and if our soldiering men are having such a dfficult time with post-traumatic syndrome and other such mental troubles, what will happen to nurturing, feminine women? 

Is the female sex demanding, as did Lady Macbeth?
Come you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here. . . .
Come to my woman's breasts
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers.
What WILL happen when mothers become "murdering ministers?"

My thoughts turn to the Jaredites, in the Book of Mormon. Near the end of their civilization, (which came about because of all the fighting and killing among them-- in essence, they destroyed themselves!) they had become so bloodthirsty and hardened that they required their women and their children to fight, in addition to all their men.
And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children—both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war—they did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not. (Ether 15:15)
 The destruction was so great among their people, that there was not even anyone left to bury their dead.
And so swift and speedy was the war that there was none left to bury the dead, but they did march forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood, leaving the bodies of both men, women, and children strewed upon the face of the land, to become a prey to the worms of the flesh. (Ether 14:22)
This future, with all the wars going on all around the world that OUR troops are fighting in, is not that far off. How quickly has the unthinkable always happened? When looking back to history and those who have come before, it's sooner than we like to think.


In all of this, the media is speaking from two polar opposite opinions. On the one hand, arming women to fight in bloody and disturbing wars is being applauded, while cries for taking away personal weapons of protection from families are reaching fever pitches.

There is a great deal of talk of "protecting children," but who protects the young when BOTH their parents are serving in distant lands, killing the innocent children of our enemies? The State??? 

How can a mother keep the milk of human kindness in her heart for her own little ones, knowing that her actions are destroying the lives of other babies? 

Lady Macbeth, again, shows us that a woman cannot have both.


Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Men and women ARE different, and yet equal. 

To deny that fact is not only scientifically ridiculous, it is also silly in the emotional, mental, and spiritual senses. Misinterpreting equality in such a way is nonsensical. 

Each have their own stewardships that work within their natural abilities and talents. BOTH ARE NEEDED-- in their heaven-endowed duties. They should then help and support one another in those roles, as equal partners.

The prophets then go on:
...we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

The modern world that women are trying to navigate is more confusing and troubling than ever. For me, this is not a day to rejoice. It is a day of mourning. My pleading prayers for peace will be stronger and more heartfelt than ever.

I raise my voice in protest-- I cannot stand by and let this disturbing issue stand, unchallenged.

May the Lord help our society come to its senses, before it's too late!!! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

40 Years

Me and my newborn Davydd (2 weeks old); photo by Jill

As a mother, today I weep for the MILLIONS of innocent children who have been murdered in the name of convenience. And I know that we, as a nation, will be held accountable to God for those deaths.

To read more, see this article. To see an up-to-the-minute count of abortions given, see this link.

We know what we are doing. 

How long will we allow this tragedy to continue?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

War and Peace in 2013

(Image source unknown)

As I scurry about this week, tweaking homeschool plans, cleaning up after Christmas, decluttering in honor of a new year, and revamping our family's chore assignments, I'm coming to realize that what I really want and need most in my home is PEACE.

Today I found an article and a video that are helping me keep my ambitions in the correct light. I know both of these ladies personally, and their work blesses my life continually. 

Here's the first, an article written by my friend and great parenting coach, Nicholeen Peck: 

And here is a short, though inspiring, video by my friend, Mary Ann Johnson:

I hope these two resources bless your lives as they are blessing mine!

Happy New Year, fellow mothers!!!


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