Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Perfection, failing, and happiness

Lately I've been needing just to write down some thoughts.  This will probably be a lot of rambling and it won't really have a point, but I need to get it all out.

I have always cared what everyone thought about me.  I always did my hair and makeup and strived for perfection.  If I couldn't meet perfection, I didn't even try.  I would close myself off thinking that if I didn't try, I wouldn't technically fail.  The first day of 9th grade honors biology, our teacher told us that no one would be getting an A in her class.  Coming from a person who has had straight A's prior to that, I didn't even try and got a C in her class.  It was my first C.  But why try and only get a B?

I still have this problem.  Any time I feel like I'm failing as a mom, I want to crawl in a hole and just cry.  Grace has been very tough lately, as she moves from toddler to preschooler.  Every time she defies me, I feel like I'm failing as a mom.  I feel so far from perfect all the time and it's been really hard on me as a perfectionist.  I think this is a big cause of all the anxiety and depression I've been dealing with.  I know intellectually there are no perfect moms.  It's impossible to be perfect.  But then the comparing game comes in to play.  I look at other moms who manage to take care of their kids, work out and stay fit, do their hair and makeup daily, keep their houses spotless, and still manage to do amazing activities with their kids all the time.  My house always has dishes, has at least 2 rooms that are a disaster, laundry needing to be washed or put away, and a "junk spot" in every room that continues to pile up until it literally falls over and needs to be put away.  I can count on one hand how many times I've exercised this year.  Most days my only accomplishment is that the kids were fed and alive.  The TV is on way more than recommended, I lose my temper too often, and I spend way too much time on social network sites like Facebook and Babycenter.

I also have a control problem.  I want to control my life and everything in it.  If I can't, I feel like I'm a failure.  You would think that I would have learned this lesson through infertility.  I can't control everything in my life.  I can't control other people's actions, as much as I wish I could.

In October, Robby told me that he no longer believed the church was true and did not believe in God.  Coming from my return missionary, married in the temple husband, that was a big shock.  I now have to figure out our "new normal".  We no longer have a priesthood holder in our family.  I will be going to the temple by myself from now on.  We don't pray together.  I am the one taking 2 kids to church every Sunday by myself.  I worry about whether our kids will feel dichotomy of two parents with two very different sets of beliefs.  I worry about whether I have enough faith to keep going like this.  I wonder if it's my fault that he left.  I feel like I'm being judged by other members, because I know I've done the same thing.  We've told very few people so it's not something I can just talk about.  I feel like I failed as a Mormon wife.  I was always told growing up that you make good choices, get married in the temple to a returned missionary, and then have children and that is your happily ever after.  That just isn't how it always happens.

I feel like I have few choices.  Go to church by myself with the kids.  Hope that I am strong enough to teach them everything they need to know.  Hope that they have faith and make good choices.  But then this makes it seem like my husband didn't.  Robby still makes the best choices for our family.  He may not believe in God, but he believes in family and love.  He adores me and I love him more than I could ever love another man.  He is my best friend.  So I'm left with hoping that everything will work out in the next life and he will be able to be with me for eternity.

I could leave Robby and be a single mom, and still have to deal with all of that, on top of not having Robby's support.  That's just not an option to me.

I could stop going to church.  Focus on our family and being good people.  But then I face the scrutiny of all my friends and family.  I lose out on the amazing community of the church.  I lose out on the peace I feel about after this life.  I don't even know how to think without a filter from the church.

I feel like I'm walking a fine line between the first and third choice wondering which way I'll fall, because it really doesn't feel like I have a choice in any of this.  I struggle going to church because I think about all the things that caused Robby to leave.  I think about how hard it is going when sometimes the church makes me feel like a failure.  It brings up pain from not being able to bear children and now not having a priesthood holder.  Both things that the church holds above almost everything else.  Church isn't supposed to cause pain.  Even my Bishop told me that we are supposed to be happy and feel peace in this life.  So if church isn't doing that, am I supposed to stop going?  Because most weeks I feel anything but happy and peaceful at church.

And then I'm left caring with what everyone else thinks.  I know it would devastate my family if I left.  I've watched Robby's family deal with this and watched his mom leave in tears after we told her.  I've never seen her cry, until that moment.  I know my friends would look at me differently.  I know people really wouldn't understand this until they've been through it.  But I know people would judge.  I wouldn't know where I would fit in.  Because I still hope that the church is true.  I still hope that I will be with my family for eternity.  I have had so many prayers answered, that I can't even doubt there is a God.

And since I'm rambling, we also stopped being vegan.  It was not an easy decision, but we both felt like we needed to make a change in our diet.  I was hoping it would help with all my anxiety, and it has lessened it, as long as I make good choices and avoid sugar and caffeine.  It's been 2 months, and I've only told a handful of people.

I wish I could just stop caring what people think.  I wish I could just live my life how I want to and not worry about what friends, family, or even strangers will think.  I just want to be happy.

And if you made it this far, you deserve a gold star.  I didn't even go back and read all of it.  Sorry for the ramble, I just really needed to get this all out along with the tears that came with it.


Elizabeth O. said...

Oh Angee I'm so sorry. I wish we lived close so we could plan a park day for the kids and just sit on a bench and talk. I do not know what you are going through but I really do know that the Savior does. Please hang in there. You're an amazing mom and wife. These hard days will pass eventually and things will get brighter. They always do. Your description of the day (keeping the kids alive and watching too much tv) sounds just like life at our house. You are loved.

MissKris said...

I know what it feels like to be judged and talked about at church from things that happened a long time ago in my family. It sucks. But remember, it's the people who do that (not all, but some) and not the church itself. That is just how the world is- in church and out of church. But even with that, the church is really the only thing that brought me true peace and happiness during hard times. I am so sorry you are going through this! I often times feel the same way and wonder how moms can do it all. I am like you- most of the time my house is messy, often times I am scrubby and my patience is low, but you have to just keep going. One thing that has helped me is routine for myself and the kids. Even though we don't follow it all the time it helps. You guys will be in my prayers!

Safari said...

My true blessing of a daughter in law-take a deep breath, let it out slow and find joy in the journey. Sometimes we feel that we are just running in circles and not making progress, but just remember that your Savior knows you by name and is there with you every step of the way. Sunday will come. Stay close to the church and teach my little grandchildren the gospel. That will be the greatest gift you can give them. They will need to know their Savior as they go thru life and He will give you the strength you need. You can do this. You, Robby, Grace and Joey are in our prayers every night. Hold tight. You have what it takes. I believe in you and love you. You go girl....

Karissa said...

Love you no matter what, no matter how long it's been since I've seen you. I'll always count you as a friend, and love you just the same =)

Jessica Nickerson said...

Angee, You're an amazing person. I know it's easier said than done, but try to not worry about what other people think of you. They don't live your life and you don't live theirs. It's hard to pass judgement on someone who you don't even know. I'm sorry your going through these trials, but keep holding your head high and know that people do love and care about you. No matter what happens ahead of you in life, you'll always have people to love and support you in any decision. I know I'm one of those people! I've seen many people fall away from the church and no matter what, I still love and care about them. It's just who I am. I love you!

Mark said...

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind."

Meghan said...

Oh Angee, I SO empathize with you. At times when I read this it was like reading my own thoughts from a year ago. My heart aches for you because I know how hard this is! I hope that you find some clarity, some comfort, and the strength to press forward and do whatever your heart says is right no matter what others think. The hardest part is admitting to yourself that life will never be the same again, but that doesn't mean it has to be worse, just different. There is happiness and very real joy ahead, I promise!

Kristy said...

It's been a while since I stopped by your blog and I'm sorry to hear about the trials you are going through. I know we never got a chance to really get to know each other but want you to know my heart goes out to you and your little family. You'll be in our prayers and thoughts. Just stumbled by this great blog today


I hope it might help you to know you are not alone in your doubts. "No one is exempt from doubts, questions, or even a crisis of faith. Everyone experiences moments that test their faith; moments when the reason of the world is seemingly incompatible with faith in God (The Infinite Atonement, pg. 110)"

Audra Owens said...


It is so easy to feel alone when your life doesn't go as planned, or when your marriage doesn't seem like it's as perfect as everyone else's at church. Years ago I was in a similar situation to yourself and I.know.the.feeling. Do not let anything or anyone else decide your faith, and you have a responsibility to those precious babies (and their birthmoms) to continue in that faith. Take them to church with your head held high, people will admire you, and the ones that judge you are the ones you should care least about. You can still have the spirit in your home event though Robbie doesn't believe in it's existance. In a few years he will miss that feeling! Your story is one I've seen so many times over, and is the common story of so many members re-converted after years of unbelief. Stay strong and steady. You, your marriage, and your children need the protection the gospel provides. And for the record I don't think any less of you because of this, it's something so out of your control. The only thing within your control is what you choose to do yourself. - Audra

Tom Larsen said...

Hi Angee,
Dixie and I love you, no matter what your choices are. Nothing has changed for us. You have your agency to choose what is best for your family. Family first, and you have honored that principle.

Please stay close to all of us in the Ward. I would walk a mile for one of your bulletins. :-)
We miss you.
Love, Tom and Dixie Larsen

Kathy said...

Angee, I've just been reading your blogs and I LOVE you! Good for you on being debt free! What a hard, disciplined, amazing job you've done! Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts and even heartaches. You are such a talented writer and I would read your blogs anytime! Alan and I love you no matter what-- we always have. You are family to us:)