"In the Church I believe there is a distinct need to develop confidence in the individual, not as he or she should fit into some culturally prescribed timeline but as he or she follows personal revelations from a loving Heavenly Father. It is important to have confidence that other people may be doing the right thing and to recognize that even when their lives look different, they have unique offerings we need." (Having Faith in God's Timeline March '07 Ensign)
I really liked this quote and I have noticed people commenting on this subject in different ways quite a few times in just the last several weeks. Recently, I've been able to notice that I need to let some things go in order to be a happier human being. I have a lot of diverse interests & I like to be a generalist, not a specialist. But during this time in my life, I have to specialize in being a mom & wife. Anything else- Martha Stewart type stuff, starting a business type stuff, becoming an amazing intellectual in many subjects, over-achieving in any way, and yes, even the way we do our church work has to take a back seat. And additionally, can we take this mom & wife thing too far? Ooh boy. We can & we do.
SOMEHOW Mormon culture says women have to:
- say yes to everything
- look like a super model
- have the kids look like super models, too
- win at least 1 beauty pageant
- be skinny
- get married before age 24
- run at least 1 marathon
- be crafty & creative
- sing or play the piano like a pro
- have pioneer ancestors and millions of photos and historic journals
- give treats to our neighbors for every holiday
- have more than 3 kids
- kids & husbands are top leaders in church & community (eagle scout, class president, bishop, stake president, CEO, partner)
- have kids doing calculus at 3, skipping grades, being in gifted & talented
- put your kids in 10-20 extra-curricular activities each
- bear your testimony every month
- have an advanced degree and your own home business
- get your own book published
- do hand-outs, flyers, posters, treats
- marry men who make millions
- have gone to a church university & been in at least 1 traveling singing/dancing group
- wear designer clothes
- have a scrapbook that looks like it was published by a 5th Ave., NY agency
- volunteer for every community occurrence (den mother, PTA president)
- make every meal from scratch
- have an immaculately clean & decorated home/yard
- never yell
- read/memorize the standard works
- read/buy everything published by Deseret Book, especially the cute Primary handouts
- have a year supply of food & water, 72 hour kit, generator, gas masks
- bring your visiting teachees notes and poems every week
- answer every email, send out 200 Christmas cards with photos & newsletters
- never ask for help & if anyone tries to help you, refuse their help & do it all by your self
- never ever let on that you have ANY problems, stresses, sicknesses or trials (keep them SECRET!)
I feel like we talk & joke about this being true. But do we ease up any on these standards? Amazingly, no. And because all this is somehow accidentally tied up with our religion, we think that we ALL have to do ALL of these things ALL of the time, and immediately. We set really high standards for ourselves. But when something goes wrong, and you don't measure up, it can really be brutal. You may judge yourself, others may judge you. But does God judge you?
As the church becomes more global, I am looking forward to the "culture" of the church changing and maybe all of us can accept that people (including they themselves) are very different individuals with different identities and missions to accomplish. I don't think God expects all those things of us. I doubt he even expects ANY of the things on that list.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add to that list?
After that big rant... there are still a lot of Happy Things! :)
- Mom to the rescue (I had a doozy of a problem this weekend, causing anxiety attacks, crying & crying. And it was all solved by a couple of phone calls to mom.)
- Wow- how good I slept after that problem was resolved.
- And a warm bath with bath salts & essential oil didn't hurt, either.
- Warmer weather. Eli & Chris have been flying kites. It's been a long time since I've seen Eli so happy.
- Prayer, scriptures, love from God & family