"Some people feel that their responsibilities stifle them. I feel that fulfilling obligations is the best way to grow. Any woman should be alive to opportunities--alive to public interests, to her family, to growth from Church service. I have no patience with women who find life boring. Life is so interesting, it just worries me that I cannot get done all the things I want desperately to do."
~ Camilla Eyring Kimball
What a great reminder of what life is all about - not the "What about me, me, me?" attitude, but about what we must do even when we don't feel like doing it. Our responsibilities are not a curse or condemnation, but rather a chance to grow, think beyond ourselves, & find joy & success in our everyday life. So much of our ability to see it this way, however, falls with our attitude. It's easy as a wife & mother to feel like a martyr & underappreciated for the work we do. My problem is that I vacillate between actually following through with the work & pretending I'm doing the work while bitching about how rough I have it. Give me a break - talk about a sour, pathetic attitude.
The happiest times in my life have been in recent years, especially, I have found, when I'm living by a routine & getting the basic things done in my life that are rightfully required or expected of me. I don't mean by dragging my feet & complaining along the way, but by tying my hair back (or actually washing & styling it), rolling my sleeves up & getting to work with a smile on my face. Life is a blessing. Work is a blessing. Family is a blessing. So why fight it? There is such a sense of accomplishment that comes from fulfilling responsibilities without rushing around last minute to do everything. Planning & organizing makes life so much less stressful & allows for more stress-free time & opportunities to accomplish things you didn't think were possible.
When I was on my A-game, my house was spotless, the cupboards were organized, my laundry pile was practically non-existant, I had meals on the table each night, I was exercising, I studied my scriptures instead of just reading a verse real quick to get it checked off my list of things to do, & I spent free time playing with Will & developing my talents (taking a photography class, practicing the piano, baking treats for my family & neighbors . . .). And I still had time to spare in my day! I did all this stuff throughout the day & had more energy than I had on days where I'd laze around the house & think how down & bored I was.
So what are my responsibilities (that oftentimes feel stifling when I have a poor attitude or don't have my priorities straight)? And what can I do to improve myself in each responsibility (w/o being overwhelmed by a sudden change in my routine, or lack thereof)?
- Mother - plan activities with/for William; set up play dates for him; continue to read him scriptures at breakfast time
- Wife - be positive & don't take my frustration out on a loving husband who works so hard for me & our family
- Homemaker - stick to a daily routine (it worked miracles in the past, so get back to it); start cooking again
- Church callings - review the next week's lesson throughout the week & prepare activities/object lessons when possible; prepare & schedule ahead of time
- My health - set aside a time 3x a week to do simple exercise (walks, stretching)
- Develop talents - work on one talent each week for 30 minutes on a designated day or days
- Spirituality - get back to reading the scriptures daily after breakfast (can include actual scriptures, General Conference talks, Ensign articles - something's better than nothing)
Looking at this list seems so overwhelming, but when I've put all these things into a simple daily routine, my responsibilites no longer feel like they're taking me over, but rather, they enlighten me & bring an amazing sense of peace & accomplishment to my life. I just need to remember not to worry about doing things perfectly. Even imperfect work with a positive attitude, as oppossed to no work or perfect work w/ a frustrated attitude, still blesses my life, family & home.
Find joy in the seemingly mundane things. It will make all the difference in the day-to-days of life & will surprise you with how much you've grown when you can look back & see where you started.