At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I kind of feel like I need to follow up on this whole “being enough” stuff because I never put in my personal theory of the most important measurement for whether we are “enough” or not. (Seeking that answer from God.) I get these kinds of questions about what is “enough” quite a lot and it makes me realize that it is a heavy weight, especially among women so I wanted to touch on it just a bit more. I certainly don’t have the answers, but something I’ve sure thought about a LOT in my journey to be “enough.”

Someone sent me this funny poem a while ago (which really makes light of a lot of “Mormon” things but I think most of us women can relate):

The Girl in a Whirl
by ‘Dr. Sue’
(a.k.a. Vickie Gunther)

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

You could do what I do

If you only knew how.

I study the scriptures one hour each day;

I bake,

I upholster,

I scrub,

and I pray.

I always keep all the commandments completely;

I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.

I help in their classrooms!

I sew all they wear!

I drive them to practice!

I cut all their hair!

I memorize names of the General Authorities;

I focus on things to be done by priorities.

I play the piano!

I bless with my talents!

My toilets all sparkle!

My checkbooks all balance!

Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;

I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)

I’m taking a class on the teachings of Paul,

But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I track my bad habits ‘til each is abolished;

Our t-shirts are ironed!

My toenails are polished!

Our family home evenings are always delightful;

The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.

I do genealogy faithfully, too.

It’s easy to do all the things that I do!

I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;

I know all the names of each youth in my stake!

I read to my children!

I help all my neighbors!

I bless the community, too, with my labors.

I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;

My visiting teaching is done the first day!

(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.

It’s the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)

I chart resolutions and check off each goal;

I seek each “lost lamb” on my Primary roll.

I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.

But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I write in my journal!

I sing in the choir!

Each day, I write “thank you’s” to those I admire.

My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!

My kids get straight A’s!

And their bedrooms are clean!

I have a home business to help make some money;

I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.

I go to the temple at least once a week;

I change the car’s tires!

I fix the sink’s leak!

I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;

I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.

I make sure I rotate our two-years’ supply;

My shopping for Christmas is done by July!

These things are not hard;

It’s good if you do them;

You can if you try!

Just set goals and pursue them!

It’s easy to do all the things that I do!

If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!

It’s easy!” she said …

… and then she dropped dead.

I just think that is a funny little clip of how much we THINK we can do. Because we think others around us are doing it too. And if they can, some silly, crazy part of our mind tells us we should be able to too.

But the truth is, we can’t do it all. No one can. Sure, we may be really good at a couple things we are trying to perfect and work on, but inevitably other things fall through the cracks while we’re busily working diligently on our new “goals.” And they’re all GOOD things. They are all worthy of our time.

We have to prayerfully figure out what we want to prioritize. Because life is a giant game of balance and if we try to prioritize everything, then we will fail miserably. The tricky thing is that no one can come in and say, “Ok, this is what you need to cut out. This part is not working,” believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried to ask Dave, church leaders, friends, etc. What can I cut out? How can I figure out how to not be so tired anymore? How can I give enough of myself to those around me?

But when it comes down to it, we have to figure the answers to those questions with help from Above, and then stick to our guns, and not feel guilty about letting some things go.

It was one of the toughest things ever to give up my photography business (more about that here). I felt ungrateful for what had sort of fallen in my lap. And now where we live and Young Women and all that goes into that. I miss those girls. And there are little daily gives and takes that cause a continual deliberation in my mind. Little things: “If I go don’t finish that book, I will feel silly going to book club for the third month in a row without reading the book. But if I read that book, I’ll miss out on reading the one Max needs to read this month and I know he could use some help getting motivated.” Hundreds of those little things every single day.

But when it comes down to it sometimes you have to choose the “best” things over the “good” things. And to me, the best thing is my family and my faith. Through prayerful consideration I came to the answers of what needs to come first right now. (And when I say “prayerful consideration” that makes it sound all easy-peasy, which as we all know, it is not. It is agonizing.)

At some point we need to step back and evaluate life. When we do, sometimes we realize the direction we are going isn’t really what we want and we can make adjustments. Sometimes small ones. Other times drastic ones.

But if we don’t take out time enough to think and ponder and pray about what should be added or taken away, we’ll be at the end of the wrong road before we know it.

In the scriptures it says that we are saved “After all that we can do.” Yes, a very tricky thing to measure. But I’m telling you, this article explains it perfectly. Through the Atonement, Christ doesn’t just make up the difference of what we can’t do. He IS the difference.

And oh, I’m so very, very grateful for that.

(More of my thoughts related to this topic here and really, all over this blog…I obviously think about this a bunch.)

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  1. I thought of Pres. Uchtdorf's talk "Forget Not" and how one of his points is to forget not to be patient with yourself. God knows we are not perfect. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. He also says that God "wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal.He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It's OK that you're not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself." I think that is such a key. Realizing we can only do what we can do and letting Christ be a part of our lives to fill us with strength.
    Thanks so much for the reminder and for your words of wisdom! I look up to you and implement a lot of the things you/your family talk about and it has been such a blessing to our family. Thank you!

  2. Wow!

    So many will benefit from your words, me included. Thank you for a post each and every one of us needed to hear. I love hearing your insightful thoughts, you have such a beautiful way with words. Thanks for always inspiring me. Your blog is such a blessing to so many……

  3. I know Vickie Gunther. She is amazing. She has been through a lot in her life. She is a very strong woman. Glad you shared her poem.

  4. Thank you for your posts. I do appreciate them. I am not able to pull up your post on being enough, are any of your other readers having experiencing the same thing?
    I would love to read it. Thanks again for your insights.

  5. When I was a kid…my Mother was the Primary President. And she was a GREAT president. I remember watching her give talks and the creative ideas she used to get ideas across. Kids LOVED my Mom. She did it for about 9 months. Then one day she abruptly asked to be released. From that point on she would only be a Visiting Teacher. That was it. No other church callings. She explained to me (years later) that she was feeling overwhelmed (as the Mother of 5 boys) and prayed many nights trying her best to keep her head above water…asking HOW TO manage everything…and feeling like a complete failure in every direction. The answer came with surprising clarity. It said, “THE most important calling you have, at this time in your life, is to be the Mother to those 5 boys. EVERYTHING else is secondary. There is NO SHAME in realizing you can’t do both. Let it go Karin.” So. She did. And she never felt guilt or shame about the reality that she just could NOT hold a church calling AND the calling of raising kids at the same time. Of course…she attended church and did her visiting teaching…but each time she was called into the Bishop’s office to be “extended” another calling…she repeated the answer to prayer back again: “Bishop…I already have a full time calling being a Mother. Get back to me when Ryan turns 18.” Each time…the Bishop smiled and told her he understood. The sky didn’t fall. They didn’t take away her temple recommend. The Sun kept on rising and setting.
    And when my youngest brother turned 18…she became a Stake Missionary. (And she was a one SUPER-DUPER Stake Missionary too!)
    There is no shame…in concentrating on the most important calling you are doing right now. Being a Mother.

  6. I LOVE your blog and the past few posts on "being enough" have been super. I am a bit of a perfectionist and also have a 9 year old daughter who is the same way…we have adopted a mantra around her…"Is it good enough?" instead of "Is it perfect?" For example- Is the singing time I prepared for Primary tomorrow perfect? No. But is it good enough? Yes. Is the book report poster perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yes. Is the curtain color for the room perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yes!" This has helped us so much! There are times when the answer to Is it good enough is actually no…and that's when we know that that project or event does need a second look and a bit more effort. But we are finding that those times are quite rare! Most of the time, when we try our best, things are "good enough!"

  7. Oh that poem is hilarious…I love it. The whole time I was thinking—oh, how I would love to pull this all off! But alas…just as you said PERFECTLY Shawni—we know we cannot. I loved Marc's comment above..what a neat lady and a neat story.

  8. Yay! I always look forward to Friday Q&A! 🙂 speaking of questions, I have one I keep forgetting to ask! On those crazy days, when you don't have much time to fix dinner, do you have any good 'quick dinners?' Im not sure what to fix on the run!!!! Do you ever use quick microwave foods, cuz I've never really tried those microwave hot pockets, burritos, etc. thanks for always taking time out of your day to help others by answering our crazy questions we bombard you with! You're a life saver!!! 🙂

  9. The best advice I ever got came from my sister-in-law. She was, once again, out in the hallway at church with a fussy child and she was feeling frustrated, as many of us do, thinking, "Why do I even come to church if this is all I do: sit in the hallway?" A friend said to her, "There is a time and a season. Right now is your season to sit in the hall. You're here- this is where you should be. To everything there is a season."

    I've remembered that often as I sit through church lessons about all of the good things I *should* be doing. I know that with 3- soon to be 4- young children at home, there will be some things that will need to be set aside until a later season in my life (genealogy, for example) and as long as I pray about what those should be, I will know that I am where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

    I love your posts! Thanks for reminding us we can't- and shouldn't try- to do it ALL!

  10. I love the poem. I hope you don't mind if I use it on my blog as well? Your blog is great! Did you catch the clip from Sister Beck on blogging for good. You are definitely blogging for good.

  11. I wonder if it is possible to start a movement "doing less, is doing more"…in other words, putting our family's needs above other things, is a-ok! Not doing it all, is a-ok! Letting go, is a-ok! Not doing what "she's" doing, is a-ok!
    The funny thing is the person who we need to convince the most, always seems to be ourselves!
    I am really grateful to get this message from you and also from Sarah from Clover Lane. I'm looking forward to seeing how this movement spreads!

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