Friday, December 3, 2010

reprogramming...

I have a friend who recently posted about how she's trying hard to reprogram her "Mormon Brain." It was an excellent post, and got me thinking. For those of us who grew up in strong LDS communities [raising my hand] we have always had the image (or should I say, illusion?) before us of what a "good" LDS woman should be.

Surely a "good" LDS wife is an apron wearing bread baker who scrapbooks, and crafts, while she packs lunches for her (minimum of) six children. Of course she also reads and sings to them while she irons and folds laundry, sews those matching dresses, keeps her eye on the dinner in the oven, and vacuums her large & perfectly decorated home. She totes the tots to Target and back in the suburban during the week and devotes her Friday nights to her Honey for their weekly date-night. In her free time she gardens and cans for food storage, among other things. She also, magically, stays (somewhat) thin, and always has clean, curled, highlighted hair.

I'm pretty sure that part of what she meant by "reprogramming" is accepting that this Woman is fictional. Well, for 98% of us anyway. (We all know a Sister So-n-so who seems to be a regular Wonder Woman, so maybe she actually is. The world will never know.)

So for you my friend, I'd like to let you know I do own an apron, I even sometimes wear it -but I've never baked bread. I don't scrapbook. I don't craft. I do read and sing, but I have a personal rules against ironing laundry and folding clothes. Someday I might have my kids (for sure not six of them) wear matching outfits, but the chances of me sewing those: zero. I consider myself successful if I make dinner once in a week. My floors are not vacuumed. My shelves are not dusted. I do like the way I've decorated, and if Hubby made bucket loads of money, I'd for sure be spending it at Target. And Hobby Lobby. I will [do my very best to] not own a suburban. Hubby and I haven't been on a date since, I think, June. I like to garden. Sort of. If I had to live on our year supply -we'd be starving by the third week.

And yet, I'm pretty sure that I am a "good" Mormon. Life is about doing what you can, when you can -and living the gospel does not require a clean house, prefect hair, or lots of kids. You know?

12 comments:

Sam said...

I totally agree. And coming from a woman that most women think is a "wonder woman" I feel exactly the same as all of you. I think there are "wonder women" out there but I have to remind myself all of the time that we each have our OWN strengths and weaknesses. We each have our OWN struggles and trials. And until you realize that we are all playing the same game and you stop comparing yourself to everyone else you can never be happy with your life or with anyone else. And that is a problem. We are all living and learning and we need to support one another in that and stop with the assumptions and judgements, no matter how flattering. Sorry for the long comment :)

Rachel Sue said...

You know, I appreciated this. I really did. Because that is the woman that seems to be everywhere that I just can't quite live up to. (My sis in law is one of them.)

I am also slowing coming to terms with the mom that I am. There are things in that list that are important to me. Vaccumming is not one of them, but cooking is. But, all of my shirts are stained because, while I do own an apron, I don't actually know where it is. It may be buried somewhere in the pantry.

I think that this woman needs to be dispelled. THere are too many girls who grow up with that daunting image and give up. Rather than think that they are just as good because they can do some of those things and some things NOT on the list, they think that they aren't worthy becase they can't do EVERYTHING on the list.

Anyway. Thanks for posting this.

jLar. said...

I totally agree! I really liked this post. I'm 19 years old, but I've seen how this perfect Mormon mentality affects my mother. She's freakin' Wonder Woman herself, but she doesn't have the perfect children with a perfectly clean, expensive house with expensive cars. I'm from an uppity community where it seems like everyone is perfect and can afford everything.

Oh, PS, I'm new to your blog! I just stumbled upon it and I thought it was way cute, so now I'm following!! :)

Jessica said...

Actually I know this mormon mom!! but she only had 4 kids. ( All girls though) And she built and designed her own house. And now that her children are older - she owns her own construction company in order to put them through College. As fictional as they sound they do exist. But they also only sleep 2 or 3 hours a night.

Holloway Family said...

AMEN sister!!! It has taken me a long time to realize that I am not, never have been, or ever will be that "perfect Mormon woman." I usually love who I am, I've certainly accepted who I am, sometimes I wish I could be that "perfect Mormon woman." But then I think about how much work goes into that persona and quite frankly I'm too lazy to even try. I've been blessed with a husband who loves me for who I am and as long as I am happy...he's happy. I know that my Heavenly Father is happy with who I am, He knows I have my faults but as long as I try to be the best I can be He's happy with me.

iamwoman said...

This is great! I was always so anti-molly mormom. I grew up in a non-LDS community, so I guess I had very little pressure to be so. But every time I go to Utah--I swear... it's a little much;)

You sound like a very fine Mormon to me.

Laurie said...

Amen to that!! It's not about all the little things to keep us going in THIS world. It's about the things we do to make it into heaven! The quick call to someone having a hard time. Offering to babysit so someone can go to the temple. Stuff like that. THOSE are the important things, I think.

My Mom always says she couldn't have a clean house AND happy kids. And she chose to have happy kids!

Emryn said...

You forgot perfect pregnancies too! Actually having energy and health to do things :) I focus on what makes my husband the happiest(food/dinner) and then if I get more things done, its been a very sucessful day.

NatureGirl said...

Yes I *totally* know! I think a lot of us know...deep down...but often forget. Thanks for the reminder! I hope this does not sound like a shameless plug, but your post reminded me of a similar one of mine not too long ago. Keep up the good work!

http://idnaturegirl.blogspot.com/2009/09/my-mother-invented-necessityor.html

Stacy said...

Here from MMB.

This post really struck a chord with me, because I grew up with a mother who tried to be all those things, and ended up miserable because of it. I like the idea of reprogramming, and find that I have to do some of it every day as I look at my less than decorated house and my dirty floors.

One of the things my husband always reminds me of is that "people are more important than things" and remembering that helps me stay out of the perfection trap.

Lesa said...

Can I ditto Stacy's comments?

Visiting from MMB.

Michelle said...

My house will always look like the DI housewares section, but my kids know they're loved. Thanks for the post!