Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Last night I read scriptures to Hannah while she was in the tub. It was just she and I. Kate was long gone in her crib and Jimmy was at the hospital. I was tired and getting Hannah tucked away for the night couldn't have come sooner. It was one of those days.

I am going to assume that we all feel a bit overwhelmed at times. Or a lot of times. Or maybe even a lot of the time. Whatever the case may be, motherhood brings those feelings.

Yesterday my beef was with time. At eleven in the morning I looked around to a disaster of a kitchen and wondered what exactly I had accomplished up to that point. One of three of us was dressed for the day and I had yet to check any of my to-do items off of my list. It felt like we were surviving.

My kids eat, nap and they are usually pretty clean. My dishes mostly get washed and the laundry is usually done each week. I serve in my calling, and I try to exercise, and that about rounds up my life. Oh and I write here on this blog.

The problem is, I want to do a lot more. I have ideas and plans and don't seem to get to them. It frustrates me sometimes. There never seems to be the time to do anything beyond the day-to-day living. These thoughts led me to remember a conversation with my sister-in-law, she was feeling much what I feel. She recommended Sister Beck's 2010 Women's Conference talk.

It is an expanded version of her talk given in April 2010 General Conference entitled, "And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit."

In it, Sister Beck shares:

"Years ago I began using a system that works for me, and maybe it will work for you. There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down. I asked, “What has to go in the category of essential?” What things must be taken care of, and if I don’t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life won’t be mine nor will they be my family’s" 

Later, she expounded on each category, I'll share my synopsis of the things she mentioned. All of our lists will be a bit different.

Essential Things: 
Scripture Study
Personal Prayer
Making and Keeping Covenants
Temple Attendance
Sacrament Meeting Attendance
Sharing the Gospel

Necessary Things:
Keeping a House of Order
Supporting Your Husband

Nice-to-Do Things:
Crafts and Hobbies
Recreational Reading
Lunches with Friends

She then shared:

"To walk with the Lord, we have to know what is essential, what is necessary, and what is nice to do. There is a lot to do, but I find that it is amazing how much I get to do on my nice-to-do list. The Lord blesses us with those mercies, but only if the other priorities are in order." 

What a wonderful reminder that was to me. Much of the things I want to accomplish fall into the nice-to-do category. While they would be fun to do, they are not essential at this time. I appreciate the wisdom and counsel of our leaders and felt renewed as I reviewed Sister Beck's words.

One more quote from her General Conference talk that rang true to me:

"A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. "


Anonymous said...

I needed this post today. Thank you for your words and the words of our church leaders.

Heidi said...

I loved this talk and that last quote. I find myself most frustrated with life when I start to feel entitled and begin to look for happiness outside of my primary responsibilities.

runningfan said...

I was just talking about this talk with a friend! I absolutely love it. Julie Beck has taught me how to seek revelation, and it has changed my life! I don't accomplish nearly what I'd like to in a day when it comes to my "nice to do" list, but I can feel content and joyful when I know I have been an instrument in the Lord's hands in some way. That's enough for me.

katie said...

Oh Erin, you hit the nail on the head for me. I was just thinking about this today, though I hadn't gotten to the solution to my feelings until I read this post. I'm excited to start my day tomorrow with those talks and start to evaluate those categories in my life. I still miss our play dates!!!!

Laura Elizabeth Fredlund said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. I really needed that reminder as well. I love sister Beck!!

Naomi said...

these talks are two of my favs...I followed Sister Beck and have my own list I made up next to my bed - so the first thing I look at when I get up in the morning is my Essential list - makes a big difference to my day :) great blog. Naomi x

Alex said...

It is so good to hear others who feel the same as me! I beat myself up so much for not loving every second of being a mum. And get so frustrated at my lack of time and/or energy to do all that there is to do! Thank you for your honesty and for reminding me of this important counsel from our Church leaders. So glad I've come across your blog! :-)

High Heels and a Sippy Cup said...

i so appreciated these ideas! i am going to work on making a list for my bedside.
you post made me think of one of my favorite quotes, "the secret to happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one has to do." - j.m. barrie

Mary Anne said...

Um, thank you. With Dusty being in Ranger School and not being able to talk to him for the last 7 weeks, I feel like this sometimes. "What exactly did I get done today? And who even cares?" Ha ha...I appreciate your honestly and open-ness in sharing from your personal life. It IS nice to hear about other moms and know I'm not the only one who feels that way from time to time. I admire and look up to you and your mothering skills. And we've definitely had FHE in the bathtub before. I actually worked really well! She was contained, and I was happy :)

I opened my Google reader and you had nine new posts since I last read. I felt so behind! It's been a crazy couple of weeks here, too. But your posts are so good! I'll try and comment on some others.

James and Summer said...

thank you for your thoughts and openness! this was a great reminder of the good, better and best that we seek to apply in our lives! I shared this post on FB. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=657119534

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