Weighed down by wimpy trials…

Do you ever feel that way? Like you live a semi-charmed life (no major tragedies or heavy trials to bear), but some days still just feel … hard?

I don’t know if it’s just my general aversion to January (see here for a refresher that may make you feel a little better about yourself if you suffer from the same winter-hating malady that I do), but this has been a rough week.  I admit that it’s totally a first-world-problems kind of rough, but it has still felt hard.

Anyway, when I was mulling over my own thoughts this morning, I remembered a quote from a novel I read recently, so I went and looked it up.  It renewed my hope a little bit and made me feel up to the task–however silly it might be–of just surviving a series of bad days. Thought I’d pass it along in case it feels helpful to anyone else.

quote

Goodbye, January, and good riddance!

My favorite New Year’s thought so far.

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It’s possible that I’m the only one who has recurring “Bad Mom Days.”

But I doubt it.

Goals are wonderful things, but they don’t always pan out like we intend them to.  (That’s code for: Sometimes we downright fail.)  I don’t know if you’ve seen President Monson’s New Year’s message or not, but one paragraph at the end of it has been rolling around in my mind a lot this week.  It’s a great reminder that new years are great, but new days are even better, and trying again and again and again is what keeps us on the right track.

Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.

Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

That little voice is a true friend because it points us toward the Atonement, repentance, forgiveness, and starting over.

So imagine me riding on my horse on the battlefield of motherhood waving my banner and shouting to all the mother masses, “Courage!”  (That just means get up again tomorrow and try again.  You’re doing better all the time.)  Or I guess all that imagination really isn’t necessary if you just listen to the prophet instead.  Yep, probably better to do that. Because me on a horse is kind of a stupid idea.

I might get a banner anyway.

If anyone has a link to President Monson’s talk (It’s called “Living the Abundant Life”), feel free to paste it in the comments so others can read it.  It’s a good one.  My dad sent me a copy by email, but I haven’t found it online yet.

Be not weary: the paradoxical commandment for mothers?

You know how Eve got those commandments in the Garden of Eden that contradicted each other?:  Don’t eat the fruit, and oh, be sure to multiply and replenish the earth. I’m sure there was some genuine and well-deserved stupor on Eve’s part.  Luckily, she’s smart and she got it right in the end.

Nowadays, things are only slightly less complicated.  The proclamation on the family teaches us that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is still in force.  In other words, have children.  And then there’s that little scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that tells us to “Be not weary in well-doing.”  Is it really possible to have children and not be weary?  In fact, if I died right now, my tombstone might accurately say, “Weary do-gooder.”

I chuckled a little inside when I heard that scripture read in church a few weeks ago (and probably made some witty comment under my breath about the impossibility of compliance when, for example, you have a newborn and a potty trainer at the same time– which I don’t at the moment, but I remember.).  I mean, telling a mom to not be weary is like telling Mike Rowe to not get dirty.  So, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, because, let’s face it, if I ever have a snarky reaction to a scripture, I’m probably dead wrong.

Here’s what the scripture says: 

D&C 64: 33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Do you think weary is supposed to mean tired and exhausted?  If so, this commandment escapes the realm of possibility because I don’t care how much faith a mother has, she’s still not going to get enough sleep.  Perhaps there’s more to it than that.

Dictionary.com defines “weary” like this:

wea⋅ry

/ˈwɪəri/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [weer-ee]

–adjective

1. physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired: weary eyes; a weary brain.
2. characterized by or causing fatigue: a weary journey.
3. impatient or dissatisfied with something (often fol. by of): weary of excuses.
4. characterized by or causing impatience or dissatisfaction; tedious; irksome: a weary wait.

Perhaps the Lord is asking us to adjust our attitude more than our physical or mental state.  He’s asking us to not get dissatisfied with our work, to not become discouraged.  We may give up sleep, but we should not give up hope in what we’re doing.  This is what I’ve decided.  With absolutely no authority whatsoever, I’ve rewritten the scripture to read what I believe it actually means:

“Don’t get discouraged in your very important responsibilities.  They are tedious, but they are an important part in my eternal plan.  What seems ordinary and insignificant to you actually has infinite and eternal influence.  Believe in it, and keep going.”

Looking at “weariness” in a new light, and with a specific twist toward my job as a mother, I loved reading these scriptures (my thoughts are in red):

Gal. 6: 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint notKey word:  in due season.  The fruits of motherhood are slow growing, but fainting is not an option if we hope to ever harvest.

(The footnote next to the word weary leads to this scripture:) Luke 8: 14 (14-15) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. So interesting that it cross-references a scripture about distraction.  It’s easy to feel discouraged in the labors of motherhood if we give too much importance to the cares of the world.  And yet, if we choose thorny paths, we are kept from the development of perfection– both our own and that of our children.

Isa. 40: 28, 30-31 ¶ Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. . . . But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Did that say there is a cure for weariness?  Yes.  And it’s in the Lord– waiting on Him.  Consistency and patience.

Jer. 31: 25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. The Lord heals, invigorates, and blesses those who come to Him.

And, of course, Elder Maxwell says it best in an awesome talk called “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds” :

The urgings for us not to weary in well-doing contain prescriptions to avoid such weariness. (See Gal. 6:9; 2 Thes. 3:13; Alma 37:34.) We are to work steadily, but realistically, and only expect to reap “in due season.” (Gal. 6:9.) We are to serve while being “meek and lowly” (Alma 37:34), avoiding thereby the wearying burdens of self-pity and hypocrisy. We are to pray always so that we will not faint, so that our performance will actually be for the welfare of our souls, which is so much more than just going through the motions. (See 2 Ne. 32:5, 9; D&C 75:11; D&C 88:126.)

And that my friends, is how I was wrong.  Because with faith in and help from our Savior, even us mothers can move past weary and keep doing the work we were called to do, just like Eve did, invigorated by the knowledge that we’re truly doing “that which is great.”

Small victory: Power to the people!

I empowered myself today at the checkout of the grocery store.  I had Clark and Natalie with me and as we checked out, this lovely piece of literature was right at the level of my waist (in other words, right at Clark’s eye level).

cos_cvr-lg

I edited it for you a little.  You’re welcome. Then the same thing happened that always happens:  I got annoyed.  Then I remembered DeNae and how she became like a Las Vegas Lysol wipe.  (Put that on your resume, DeNae.)  I also thought that since I’m spending so much time on this Protecting Innocence Project*, I’d better walk the walk.  So I asked the lady at the checkout to call over the manager.

I introduced myself and then said, “I shop here a lot, but I have a concern.  Some of these magazine covers are inappropriate.  You can see that they are right here at my son’s eye level.  And he can read.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had a five-year-old, but I think you’d agree that this (pointing right at the headlines) isn’t something he needs to see.  What I would like is for them to be moved out of a child’s line of vision like the tobacco products or covered up.  I’m just asking for a little discernment about what is placed at a child’s eye level.”

He nodded in agreement because, really, you don’t have to be a preacher to know that “BAD GIRL es-ee-ex” (I’m trying to avoid the wrong kind of Google hits) is not a headline for a kindergartener.  He agreed that they would cover up all of their Cosmopolitan magazines with a black shield.  It just so happened that the magazine rep/distributor was there and he called her over and asked her to please cover them up every time she restocks the racks.  And that was it.  I thanked him, gathered up my groceries and my imaginary weapons of motherhood, and we were on our way.

It was that simple.

So arm yourselves, moms.  It’s not nearly as hard or as embarrassing as we think it might be.  The checkout lady said to me, “I’m sixty-nine years old and even I think it’s raunchy.”

And if the manager blows you off, get an address for whomever he reports to, and mail a letter like Captain DeNae did.  Fight on, sisters, fight on!

*The Protecting Innocence Project is getting closer and closer to launch.  Check out this draft of one of the logos (we’ve altered the shield a little to make it more obvious.)

ProtectingInnocence_logo

When it’s all up and ready, I really hope you’ll help me publicize it because it’s going to ROCK.  Think form letters and contact information to make it easy for moms to complain, alert forums where we can get more voices to speak out against offensive material, tons of research, resources and links to organizations that promote the cause of protecting children from inappropriate media.  I’m telling you, the devil is NOT going to like this site.  :)