Feeling Overwhelmed?

As mothers it is hard for us NOT to feel overwhelmed. We wear many hats and the responsibilities are endless. In my ten years experience as a mother I have learned a few things about myself. One is that I create the overwhelm myself and I can be a little overzealous when it comes to fulfilling my roles as a mother. We are constantly advised by older and much wiser women to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the precious moments we have RIGHT NOW. For one day we're going to ache for the sound of little feet running around our home. When ever I hear this advice I always think to myself, yes, I know, I've heard it before, but I'm different you see. I can slow down AND accomplish a lot at the same time.

Back when I was pregnant with my first baby I remember hearing a talk in church on this topic. The person giving the talk shared a poem that completely caught my attention. I'll share it here below.

This poem was presented at the 2007 Women's Conference
at the campus of Brigham Young University.
To be read in the style of Dr. Seuss:

The Perfect Mormon Woman
.by Vickie Gunther.
(gently edited by Dr Matt).

Look at me, look at me, look at me now.
You can do what I do, if you knew how!
I study the scriptures one hour each day;
I bake and upholster and scrub, and I pray.
I keep all commandments you see, quite completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.
Design all their clothes and sew all they wear,
I drive them to practice and cut all their hair.
I memorize names of the General Authorities;
Order each goal to be done by priorities.
I play the piano, bless all with my talents.
My toilets all sparkle! My check books are balanced.
One day a week every child gets a date;
Attend all my meetings — on time, never late!
I'm taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh no, that is not all:
I track my bad habits till each is abolished;
Iron every t-shirt. My toenails are polished!
Our family home evenings are ever delightful;
The lessons I plan are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully too.
It's easy to do all the things that I do!
Up early each morning, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of the youth in my stake.
I read to my children! I help all my neighbors.
I bless the community too, with my labors.
I exercise daily, cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!
I also go do it for someone who misses,
The least I can do for my caring ward sisters.
I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I search for "lost lambs" on my Primary roll.
I store home-grown produce in summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh no, that is not all:
I write in my journal and sing in the choir;
Each day, I write "thank you's" to those I admire.
My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen.
My kids get straight A's, and their bedrooms are clean!
I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
I go to the temple at least once a week;
I rotate car tires, fix each plumbing leak!
I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure to rotate our two-years supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!
These things are not hard; it’s good if you do them.
You can if you try. Set your goals and pursue them.
It's easy to do all the things that I do.
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all too!
"It's easy!" she said . . . and then she dropped dead.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *
Would you believe my first thought after hearing this poem was, Where can I get a copy of this because I'm going to use it as my daily check list!!!? I wanted to hang it in my office and read it every day so I could  become "the perfect" Mormon women, except for the dropping dead part of course. I thought well, SHE may have kicked the bucket, but I was going to figure out a way to DO IT ALL...

Without dying...

In my several attempts to fulfill every responsibility and worthwhile goal as a mom, I literally drove myself and Sean insane. I would crash and burn but continue trying. That's the definition of insanity, you know that right? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.

It took me ten years to learn this lesson, but I think I'm finally catching on. I don't need to keep adding to my list. I don't need to do it all in one day or one month. I want to focus on ONE thing at a time and give it my all. Quality over quantity. Not try to do as many things as possible until I run myself into the ground. I guess I couldn't distinguish the difference between passion and obsession. To me being laid back was laziness, contentment was idleness, and removing things from my list was simply giving up. In my mind, admitting I couldn't do it all was a lack of confidence and faith in myself.

Let me walk you through a series of events that lead me to this "AHA" moment. About 4 months ago I made the decision to get my tubes tied and close the baby making door. Immediately I thought to myself, YES! Now I can go back to DOING MORE! Since I will no longer be making babies, now I'll finally have time to be the amazing mom I always aspired to be. What I failed to remember was the fact that I STILL HAVE babies. I may not be making them anymore, but I still have them and they require A LOT of time and energy. I just began piling on more and more without acknowledging the reality of my situation.

Now looking back I recognize the slippery slope I once again found myself falling down. I was feeling constant stress, overwhelm, and my confidence began to waver. After about 2 months, my internal stress began to reveal itself externally. My skin broke out so bad. All over my face, neck, chest and back. I began my usual remedy that always works when I break out around that time of month. Quit sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine. I went all natural in my skin care products and make up. I supplemented with everything I knew that helped with skin health, Zinc, Vitex, Cleansing minerals, Omega's, Vitamin B, Chlorophyll, Colloidal Silver, ect. I sanitized all my pillowcases, sheets, blankets, make-up brushes. I did EV.ER.Y.THING! And my skin only got worse. Pure break outs for 2 months until I finally realized that maybe it's not what I'm consuming or putting on my skin. Maybe it's something emotional. So that's when I made the decision to go see someone who specializes in energy work, muscle testing, Kinesiology type stuff.

Last week I spent two hours with this women and I must say, I feel like a new women! Within DAYS my skin started clearing up. She helped me pinpoint what kinds of emotions I had trapped within my body and how to release them through energy and intention. It was absolutely incredible. So much so that I'm going to go see her again tomorrow.

So the moral of the story is. You may have good intentions and believe that you are motivated and determined enough to DO IT ALL, but ultimately, will you be happy?  In my case I was NOT happy and felt stressed and completely out of balance.

It's the most liberating thing to throw out that list, and appreciate what it's like NOT to have a schedule. To just BE, FEEL, APPRECIATE, NOTICE, and relax. Sometimes you just need to let go of it all and start over. Start fresh, with new intentions, purpose, and mindfulness of your surroundings and most importantly, the people you love the most. I am literally trying to make myself MOVE slower. I'm trying to gently glide around my house instead of rushing around like a mad women. I'm really trying hard to be more relaxed, in the moment without any thought of the millions of things I THINK I should be doing. Because the thing I should be doing in this season of my life is slowing down and appreciating the fact that I still have babies in the home and the wonderful blessing that is.


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