Monday, October 08, 2007

Saying my say

Hooooo-wee! Furor afoot about President Julie Beck's conference talk yesterday. Here are some of my ideas about it.

Power and responsibility, a la the Spider-Man movies. Women today have tremendous power to choose what our lives will be. Nobody needs to be stuck without choices anymore, especially if the follow counsel to become educated and prepare for the future. I feel trusted to choose my own path. I know that if I am prayerful and if I follow the guidance of the Spirit, my choices are right and accepted - by my LDS peers and leaders, and by God.

It's widely recognized that not every woman can be a stay-at-home mother - there are so many obstacles to that, from singleness to infertility to economic necessity. I have never been called on the carpet for working outside the home as my husband progresses through graduate school. I feel understood.

Trust and understanding are empowering. ("That is power!")

With great power, it's said (by the wise Uncle Ben), comes great responsibility. It has been easy for me to forget that if I am not guided by the Spirit as I choose where to spend my time, I am prone to making wrong choices.

I wrote last week about how hard I used to think it would be for me to give up my job, and how my feelings about that are starting to change. What if I weren't willing to follow those feelings when G finishes up and becomes again able (I hope!) to support our family? I'd be placing my family in jeopardy.

I think President Beck may have been swinging the pendulum back, reminding us that all this freedom and understanding doesn't excuse us from our responsibilities. Sure, the Lord understands when we are doing our best. But honestly, it had better be our very best.

Hard Ideals. I am always relieved when other moms admit that the nitty gritty details of homemaking and even mothering do not come easily for them. Man, they do not come easily for me either. I am naturally messy and disorganized. I am impatient and unrealistic in my expectations. It is hard to overcome those things. I haven't done it yet.

And for some other women it seems so easy! How can the ideal be easy for them but hard for me? That is unfair! It's so easy to feel excluded, looked down on, inferior. And if it makes me feel that way, how can it be right?

Look, if we never aspired to things beyond our reach, how would we ever get any better? Just because a standard is difficult, or even seems impossible, that doesn't make it a false standard. Catering to my abilities is not one of the criteria for truth.

I am not going to be a perfect homemaker today or tomorrow or any other day. Yesterday I got all motivated and made myself a little schedule that started at 5 a.m. today with exercise and scripture study. Then the baby got up in the night and there was just no way I was going to short myself an hour of sleep just to be perfect from 5 - 6 a.m.

So, I can't do it. That doesn't mean I quit trying or rail on the person who tells me what to shoot for.

What I do is keep trying, give myself a little credit for that, and rely on the Savior's grace to pick up where I collapse. And eventually I get better.

Actually that is a pretty big principle that applies to a lot of things, not just mothering.


SalGal said...

Thank you! I knew Sis. Beck would catch a lot of crap from her talks both in the RS General Conference and from yesterday's.

Thank you for being so positive, and for hearing what she really said.

Love you!

Syd said...

I really liked your post Ana. I felt guilty during Sis Beck's talk, but I know that is my own problem. I thought she looked like she'd really thought and prayed about what she was saying while she was speaking, and that she knew the impact her talk would make. AND I have to say, I just love her. Her husband was in my MTC presidency and she was always so sweet to us Sisters. Thanks for your opinion, you're awesome Ana!!

Rachel said...

I also felt major guilt during the talk, but I know full well it is because I am not giving mothering my 100 percent right now. Sometimes the truth hurts. After thinking about it for a few days I decided to just give it my all, and not be so hard on myself when I fall short, just try again. I know I have the potential to be a good mom even if I don't scrapbook:)

Thanks for your thoughts Ana

Domestic Goddess said...

I had a hard time with that one too. Working full time with two teenagers, it is a little easier to skip on some things like cooking etc. I have the hubby doing grocery shopping, laundry and cooking on the weekends.
It was a good reminder to keep things in perspective and focus on what is really important though.

Lucy said...

I like this. I've been thinking a lot about this, trying to understand everyone's perspective so that I don't get frustrated. You have the balance of humility, confidence and knowledge that I think is important.