As a mom and wife, I am constantly bombarded with reminders of my inability to keep a perfect home, feed my family perfectly healthy meals, and stay current on all of the latest fashion trends, all while maintaining perfect patience with my kids.
A few years ago, I was flooded with feelings of inadequacy, stress, frustration, and more importantly, I was devoid of peace and joy. It took a long time to realize that the source of many of those feelings was the idea that in order to live a fulfilling life, my life needed to look perfect too.
I’ve now learned that maintaining a picture perfect life is anything but simple, and simplicity is what I really craved and needed during that particularly stressful time in my life. It didn’t happen overnight, and there were several “Aha” moments along the way, but I am now at a point where I can share 3 ways in which I have found greater peace and joy in my life through the process of simplification.
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Avoid the Pinterest perfection trap.
My daily life compared to Pinterest suggests that I’m falling short in just about every area possible. Not so long ago, the pressure to create a perfect home, host the perfect parties, cook perfect meals, and raise perfect kids nearly crippled me. Instead of focusing on all of the good things I accomplished at home and all of the positive things that I did with my kids each day, all I could see were my failures stacked right next to the piles of laundry and stacks of dishes. Then my 4th child happened, and any pretense I projected of having it all together flew right out the window.
I was so engulfed in the trenches of motherhood that reality finally slapped me in the face. I don’t live in a Pinterest perfect world, and neither do you. So why do we hold ourselves to such unrealistic standards and expectations?
I’m not sure why it took me having 4 kids to figure out this simple truth, but as soon as I did, I embraced it and dedicated an entire year to simplification. What does that mean? I didn’t beat myself up over letting my child pick out a Halloween costume at the store rather than crafting it by hand. I stopped waiting until my house was perfectly decorated or perfectly spotless before inviting a friend into my home.
Lead image from Aggieland Mormons.
As a wife, mother, clinical counselor, and musician, author Julie de Azevedo Hanks understands better than most the demands placed on women in the Church, and she has spent years providing clinical counseling to Latter-day Saint women and families.The Burnout Cure dispels common cultural myths that often leave women feeling “never good enough.” Through scriptural quotes, personal stories, and clinical examples, Hanks offers a bevy of tools designed to help sisters identify and meet their emotional needs, to accept their limitations, to let go of the guilt and perfectionism, and to lean on the Lord.
We've all been there — too many pressures, too little time. Life starts to spin out of control. Learning to simplify our lives is much more than avoiding phone calls and trimming hectic schedules, more than cleaning closets or paring down possessions. Convinced that the most destructive aspect of stress is what it does to us spiritually, Carolyn Rasmus in her book Simplify outlines eight principles—using each letter of the word SIMPLIFY—that will help us keep from becoming so distracted by trivial things that our spiritual perspective is obscured. With these eight principles as a guide, we can enhance our ability to choose our priorities, remain calm amidst the daily chaos of life, and focus on things that really matter.