By Heather O.
On one of our earlier posts, Annegb had this to say:
“Sadly, I think we, especially Mormon women, keep score way too much…We rate ourselves and condemn ourselves on the basis of very superficial things, like how clean our house is.”
I just read this comment, buried as it was in the earlier post, and I thought, “That is me. I do that!” I’m not sure I do so much score keeping on other moms, but I definitely have some pretty harsh criticisms of myself that include, among other things, how clean (or not clean) my house is. I stress out about whether or not my child’s socks match. I’ve been known to be reduced to tears about planning a Relief Society dinner. My husband, who just could not get on board with that one, said, “C’mon, do you really think that your celestial glory depends on how well you can plan a barbecue?” I mournfully wailed, “Yes, and at this rate, I’m going straight to hell!” (I’ve since come to the conclusion that this is erroneous, that I’m not going to hell for failure to plan a dinner well, but that I’m going to hell for a variety of other reasons.)
Needless to say, my husband found my response to his question, well, just plain silly.
So why on earth do we do this to ourselves, women? Why this score-keeping? Why this need to prove our worthiness based on things like baked beans and ham? Why can’t we say, “Hey, my son felt loved because I was there for him when he hurt his finger, I gave him lots of hugs, and I played the music he especially liked while we were in the car”, and have that be enough? Whence cometh this silly notion that our celestial glory rests upon how clean our baseboards are? Why do I feel more righteous when I scrub my toilet than when I help my son with his fingerpainting? (Of course, I guess that one depends on exactly what the toilet looked like when I started!)
Sometimes I feel like there is a big scoreboard in the sky, and that everytime I do something that I feel is good, I get a check mark, and then every time I do something that is bad, I get a minus, and then at the end of it all, we’ll add up the checkmarks and minuses, see where they come out, and then I’ll head to wherever that is. Somehow I know that’s not true–something I learned once about the Grace of Jesus Christ refutes that notion. But in the daily throes of motherhood, I sometimes forget that He is here for us, not only for our clean baseboards, but also for giving us peace and comfort in our hearts to help us all be better mothers.
But then I always come back to the question: Do they have Relief Society dinners in the celestial kingdom? If they do, I don’t want to have to plan them!