If you’re a Mom “in the trenches,” I’m pretty sure you know the constant juggling act. (If you don’t, I want to know your secret and so do millions of other moms out there! Write a book!)
Cooking, cleaning, car-pooling, public policy, laundry, rocking babies, schoolwork, more cooking, being a welcoming supportive wife, community involvement, genealogy, dance lesson, sporting events, scrapbooking, PTA, making memories, working – and did I mention cooking? The list is truly endless.
How do Moms do it? How do you run from before sun-up to well after sundown?
The #1 question I get asked as a Mom to Many is “How do you do it?”
There are 2 answers to that. (Actually, there are many answers to that, but for today’s post, let’s stick with 2….)
One is this well-known quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: That which we persist in doing becomes easier; not that the nature of the thing has changed but our ability to do so has increased.
The other is this: You can’t get water from an empty well. Moms spend so much time serving others they often neglect one very important person in the family. Mom.
Mama needs to take care of Mama.
As I read it recently, a few things stood out. We must take time for renewal. We must have time for ourselves. Not only is it OK, it’s a necessity!
“People fatigue” can overtake us all if we are not wise.
Many persons, in dealing with the pressures of life, have developed their own ways of handling stress and “people fatigue.” I offer some confirmation and encouragement for them to continue pacing themselves. Those who have worked out things reasonably well likely are aligned with scriptural counsel
“People fatigue” – don’t you know just what he means when he says that? It’s not that you don’t love people – especially your people – but sometimes, there’s just well, fatigue.
How about this reminder?
“Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end” (D&C 10:4).
Thus, the Lord has given us what might be called the “wisdom and order” and “strength and means” tests. Unwisely, we often write checks against our time accounts as we never would dare do, comparably, against our bank accounts. Sometimes we make so many commitments that they become like the vines in the allegory of Jacob, threatening to “overcome the roots,” including the “roots” of family relationships, friendships, and relationships with God.
Wow. Are we over-committing as mama? (And I’m not talking about family size!)
Elder Maxwell continued:
On my office wall is a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.” For me, it is a needed reminder.
Does that speak to you? An Apostle of God says he needed to be reminded that he can’t “do it all.” Are we different?
“And he said unto [the Twelve], Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
“And they departed into a desert place by ship privately” (Mark 6:31–32).
Jesus clearly recognized the weariness of His disciples brought on by their conscientiousness. A renewing retreat can be difficult to arrange. But informal, brief retreats can be fashioned by providing greenbelts of time between busyness, even if these are only a few minutes long.
“Renewing retreat.” “Greenbelts of time between busyness.” Don’t those sound lovely?
Brigham Young needed renewal time too.
After one of the Brethren made a report to President Brigham Young, he was anxious to leave so as not to impose. But President Young said, “Please sit a spell with me. I am weary of men and things.” How often do we “sit a spell” with spouse, children, colleagues, or friends? Unhurried time seems to be worth more than the same amount of time spent hectically.
Too often during those most hectic years raising a family, I did NOT “sit a spell.” I always found ways to keep at least a little water in my well, but there were long stretches of time where I did not nourish MY friendships. I am sincerely sorry about that. I felt like I was drowning and did not think I had time to reach out to friends, or if I did, they might push me back under the water by telling me I had brought it on myself. I did not realize then that true friendships would have been a lifeline, maybe even a rescue boat. Now, with “only” 12 kids at home, I am consciously and deliberating spending time creating and nurturing friendships. What a joy.
More from Elder Maxwell:
Many of our daily choices are not intrinsically hard, but we work hard to make them that way. Some choices are matters of preference, not principle. We have a way, at times, of exhausting ourselves and also of drawing down the supply of goodwill while struggling over what are preferences, not principles!
Wow! How often do we “work hard” to make our daily choices HARD and then exhaust ourselves because of them?! One of the great payoffs of having a houseful of teens is that they share the workload. Imagine if I had chosen to “do it all” instead of teaching my kids how to work? Personally, it makes me want to take a nap just thinking about doing everything for 12 kids (at home).
Instead, they cook, they clean, they do their own laundry, they plan menus and go to the grocery store. They figure out what they need for school and dates and parties/hangouts with friends. They budget. (Some better than others.) I’m still involved as upper level management. In fact, I’m actively engaged in teaching them that they can’t do it all, to ask for help and to learn from others. *I* don’t do it all. The kids see me asking for help and pursuing learning all the time.
Elder Maxwell concludes:
Wisdom and order help us cope with “people fatigue” and commitments beyond our strength and means. Wisdom and order prompt us to “sit a spell” with loved ones and colleagues, allowing us time for life’s extra chores, and remind us that we cannot bear all things now. Wisdom and order help us to separate preferences from principles.
The demands and challenges of our day are great, but wisdom and order help us maintain our perspective. That perspective, in turn, allows us to do all things in “wisdom and order,” that thereby we might “win the prize” (Mosiah 4:27), even exaltation and eternal life with those we have loved and with those we have served.
Exaltation and eternal life. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
So Mama, without one iota of guilt, take some Mom time. Create greenbelts of quiet. Sit a spell. Nourish your heart and soul.
Dream. Live. Love. Laugh. Rejoice.
You can do hard things. Taking time for YOU will make it easier. I promise.