I remember when my dad was bishop. I was already married to Duncan with a couple of kids at the time. As you may know, bishops are set apart through the Priesthood of God to be judges in Israel. One of their many responsibilities is to counsel with members of the church, who have serious financial, physical, or spiritual troubles. They hear confessions and guide individuals through the repentance process, all made possible through the loving and eternal Atonement of Jesus Christ. All personal financial/emotional/spiritual matters he kept strictly confidential. Bishops in the LDS church are usually bishop for 5 years, not paid – but greyed through the sacrifice and joys of service. Once he confided in me a realization about things he had learned as bishop. He said, “You know, Kristin, it makes you wonder if anyone is normal.”
I figure this is a common realization to bishops/priests/counselors all around the world, so that means that many of us are walking around looking like typical, “normal” people, but in our private lives, we are in crisis.
Why do we fake it? We want to be liked, respected, and even admired.
Social media is a good example of this. We post good hair days and accomplishments of our kids. Even though we do this, for some reason we may forget that everyone else is doing this too. As a result we naturally assume that everyone has perfect hair and perfect kids. Out of embarrassment and desperation, we respond again on our next best idea or happy family photo. The cycle continues.
I can see how we kind of want to believe that certain people are perfect, but that really gets us down at the same time. For instance, my sister was talking about her sister-in-law (I’ll call her Jane) who has oodles of money and is SO generous that she gave a neighbor, in a time of need, her very own awesome vacuum. My sister admires Jane for her charity and resources. She wishes she could do that too, but she doesn’t have the resources. What if she doesn’t even have the heart to do it? My sister may never know. AND YET, “Jane” struggles with building deep connected relationships and carrying on meaningful conversations. My sister, on-the-other hand, is gifted at conversation and has many meaningful relationships as a result. Being honest about the fact that “No one is perfect” could help my sister, who compares herself to Jane and gets frustrated with her own ability to measure up.
You can’t have it all.
I don’t know anyone that is tall, beautiful, fit, musically talented, organized, smart, socially adept, faithful, patient, refined, charitable, AND has straight teeth. We all make mistakes. We all need our Savior, Jesus Christ.
ANYWAY. The same goes for me. I AM NOT PERFECT. My life is not perfect, my husband is not perfect, my kids are not perfect.
I know. Perfect means complete. I know. We all to strive to be like Jesus Christ and He is perfect. I know. BUT, being the writer of a blog that is titled, “Life of a Real Mom: Unedited Mothering,” puts me in a tricky position. I try really hard for you to see that I am not perfect. My dirty laundry can swing in your face. I have decided to be okay with that. However, I don’t want to throw my husband and kids under the bus in the meantime. This is my blog and my decision, not theirs.
How do I tell you this without hurting their feelings? Hmmm. I can’t. So, you are going to have to take my word for it.
I have chosen to be happy despite the mistakes or lower capacities of my husband and a couple of my kids. I look on the bright side of things, because I don’t want to dwell on the negative. Complaining doesn’t help anything. Getting mad makes things worse.
Duncan and I are very different. Being married has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I argue with my husband as little as possible, but we do argue. To avoid contention, I often let him have his way. (I could say more, but I won’t.) I listen when I am tired or annoyed, Sometimes, I build him up and support him even when I am disappointed in him. BUT he is my love and the father of my children. I can’t change him. I accept him and work on being the best I can be, for me.
A couple of my kids have made gigantic mistakes that will make their lives harder than needed. They are going to have to deal with the consequences for a very long time. I HOPE that they get back on track. I know the way is available to them through a loving Savior. Those choices are up to them. My choice is to do the best that I can and to love them unconditionally. I can’t change them. I accept them. I pray for them to have the desire to come closer to Jesus Christ, to hold onto the iron rod and to find peace, which I know will only come through obedience to God’s laws.
I am kind of like a bishop. Though I know of the mistakes my kids have confessed to me, I will keep their confidences. But, please don’t think we have it ALL. My family is like everyone else, struggling to live the best we can in a confusing world. You can trust that I will tell you the truth – just not ALL the details because on “Life of a Real Mom” I am juggling my reality with the privacy of my closest loved ones.
Love yourself. Repent often. Learn, process, and change as quickly as you can, but don’t be too hurt when others don’t do the same. You don’t have control of them. We set an example, we teach, and we let others make their own future. This is Heavenly Father’s way. So, try not to compare, complain, or criticize. Everyone may look normal, but they are probably in crisis. Maybe this is why charity is the best of all the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). What we all need is love. Unconditional love.