Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Trap of Perfection Parenting

This post is dedicated to moms. Young moms; experienced moms; tired moms; feeling-rested moms (what is your secret???); "I'm-doing-okay" moms; "this-is-the-worst-day-since-the-beginning-of-ever" moms; all moms

Motherhood is hard. Probably most women, on the verge of motherhood, have some idea of how hard it will be and think they are prepared. I sure thought I was. But I was not prepared, not really anyway. I'm not sure that anything short of raising children can fully prepare you. 

Any parent you know who has it all figured out is either lying to you or they are perfect. I am far from a perfect parent. I make mistakes every single day--usually all day long. We all make mistakes. I am beginning to think that parenthood is the ultimate school for becoming as God is--and sometimes, school is just hard.

Sometimes we are pretty sure we are messing up our kids for life. Sometimes we wake up with our patience spread thin as egg shells. Sometimes we don't do that art project they're begging to create; OR we just don't have it in us to play dolly princess one more time; OR we lose our cool when they needed us to lose our judgement and just give them a hug. And then we feel terrible because, once again, we failed at Perfection Parenting.

In pop culture this is usually called "mom guilt." If we look at it in terms of spirituality, we might recognize these thoughts as an attack on behalf of the enemy. I was once told by a professor that one of Satan's most effective and favored tools is discouragement. If he can make you feel discouraged, a big part of his battle is over. Discouragement is an effective tool against God's plan because when you are discouraged, you don't want to keep going. You might think, "what's the point? I'll just mess up again. May as well quit now." But the Lord's plan involves a lot of picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off, apologizing, and trying a little harder next time. 

YOU are a powerful woman because you are a woman of God, a daughter of King, with divine DNA flowing through your being. YOU are a powerful woman because you are a mother. You have been entrusted with the most important task any human being has been given: raising those precious little spirits you've been sent and bringing them up in the light of the Lord. Satan sees how much power you have and he doesn't like it. He doesn't want  you to be powerful or influential. And if he can convince you that you aren't good enough for any reason, he's put a serious wedge in your ability to raise those sweet children up to their Father in Heaven. If Satan convinces you to live in guilt, he is keeping you from living in the spirit. 

So today, I just want to echo what Elder Holland has said (see quote above): You are doing better than you realize. A loving Heavenly Father gave you this job, this calling (and I do believe it is a calling). President Monson has said, "Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies." He spoke these words to the priesthood brethren in a General Priesthood meeting, but I believe they are a promise that applies to every calling, including motherhood. This thing that you're doing is hard. It is. I'm right there with ya. But you've got this because you have an all-powerful Being and His angels on your side. Don't let yourself fall prey to the trap of perfection parenting. Don't give in to the "mom guilt." When Heavenly Father sent His children to you, I don't think He expected you to raise them perfectly, but to raise them with love and the spirit. He expected you to be YOU and give them what only YOU can. YOU are exactly the person those children need in their lives, right now, this very moment. YOU are their mother for a reason. YOU are the mother Heavenly Father wanted for those children and He knows you have what it takes. He knows you'll give them exactly what they need. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, apologize if you need to, and move forward with faith and trust that Heavenly Father will see you through this duty. Because He will. Just ask Him and He will be there. You've got this, mamma. You got this.

And just as a side note, I'm pretty sure ice cream was created for the sole purpose of helping you unwind and feel good after a long day. It's a good thing. So no guilt from eating that ice cream, either. Deal? 😉

Monday, November 7, 2016

Jesus Loves Me

Yesterday I finished reading the book, "Eliza: The Life and Faith of Eliza R. Snow" by Karen Lynn Davidson and Jill Mulvay Derr. It's a great book, an easy read, with an inspiring subject. Eliza is truly a person to emulate and I loved learning more about her. One of the things I loved reading was her poetry.

I really enjoy poetry. I'm no English expert and there is a lot of poetry I don't understand, but I still enjoy it. I have a few volumes of poetry on my shelf that I read from time to time. But one particular volume is dear to my heart. It is a one inch, three ring binder and is bursting at the seams with poems--that I wrote. I began writing poetry almost 20 years ago. The very first poem in my binder was written in 1997. I began writing poetry as a means of expressing my innermost feelings. Most of the poetry in this binder has never been read by another person.

I apparently go through bursts of writing, as there are clusters of poems all composed in the same year or two period and then there are breaks of time where no poems exist (at least not in my binder). I've recently begun writing poems again and I've decided to share some of these new poems on this blog, in addition to a few of my old ones.

To begin this poetry label, I thought I'd share my very first poem. I was only around ten years old when I wrote this poem! My notes included with this poem say, "This is the first real poem I ever remember writing. I was about 10 years old, and it was late at night when I was overwhelmed by a feeling of love! This poem is the result of that night, when I felt the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ!" Aside from a few small edits, this poem is as it was originally written.

Jesus Loves Me
Jesus loves me and I love Him!
He died for us to be with Him once again.
If He did not love me then He would not have come,
and died for us to go to the place we long came from.
Now because of Jesus' love, we can always do what's right
and live with God again in His heavenly love and light.
With His example for all of us we should all love too.
So let us try to love each one as much as He loves you!
(C) Jessica Harwood, 1997