A Short Respite From Stress

I’ve been stressed out today.  I follow a blog called the NieNie Dialogues.  Nie is such a good mom and she has perfect children.  Of course, she was horribly burned in a plane crash, but other than that, her life is perfect.  I want Nie’s life–without the burns.

So like I said, I’m stressed out.  My sister and her two beautiful daughters were here for most of the week, and we had a grand old time tooling around Taipei.  I fancy myself and expert tour guide.  I was sad to see them leave this morning.  But, as a result of all the fun, I have neglected my house, my children, my husband, my church calling.  So today was the day to pay the piper and get back to reality.  And reality is stressful.

My least favorite part of the day was when my 7 year-old told me she hates me because I insisted she have lettuce on her Subway sandwich.  Nie’s children would never say that to her.

My second least favorite part of the day was looking at my dirty, neglected house and knowing that I had other priorities and that the dirt would have to wait.  But even with all of my valiant attempts to ignore it, the dirt just seemed to taunt me.  Nie’s house is always perfect.

My third least favorite part of the day was the stress that my church calling causes me.  Most active Mormons have some sort of church assignment.  My calling is as the Relief Society President of my ward.  As Mormon women, we’re taught not to complain about our callings, but to do them to the best of our abilities and then bask in the blessings that flow from the service that we render.  That’s all well and good, but sometimes my calling is such a STRESS!  And today was one of those days.  I love my calling.  I really do.  I love the women in my ward and I love the relationships that I’m able to foster with them.  But some days, the weight of the calling can be crushing.  Nie (who also happens to be Mormon) is never crushed by her calling.

But today, in the midst of my failed parenting, my dirty house and my crushing calling, I did something that helped relieve the stress for just a couple of minutes.  I got down on the floor and painted my daughter’s toenails.  (Yes, it was the same daughter from the above lettuce incident.)

In the New Testament, Christ got down on the floor and washed His disciples feet at a time when I’m sure He was under a great deal of stress. More stress than I can imagine in my pathetic little life.  Maybe it brought Him a few minutes of stress relief during that difficult time, like painting my daughter’s toenails brought me today.  I suppose I should do more of that sort of thing.  Then maybe my daughter wouldn’t be so quick to say that she hates me when I do something cruel like make her eat vegetables.

I’m sure Nie’s daughters’ toenails are always painted and, as a result, they eat their veggies without complaining.

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15 comments

  1. zfriloux · May 20, 2012

    Your family must be a lot like mine if you count lettuce as a vegetable. (OK, OK, I know it is, but kids really have no right to complain about being forced to eat it when we could be forcing them to eat brussel sprouts or something.)

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      Lettuce is definitely a vegetable. The question is where french fries are a vegetable. 🙂

  2. diplomom08 · May 20, 2012

    I swear I read a post on Blogher at some point when Nie was asking for advice about getting her kids to eat more fruits and veggies or be more adventurous eaters. Oh, and lettuce is definitely a vegetable!

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      Given that it’s about the only green thing my kids ever eat, I have to consider lettuce a vegetable for my own peace of mind.

  3. Becky · May 20, 2012

    I can’t wait to be your neighbor. Our family is perfectly chaotic, other than that, we don’t get perfect marks on anything 🙂 Let’s be buddies shall we? I love the reminder to slow down for a moment. Will try to put it in practice. Sending you love and support on the church calling. It’s not an easy job at all but I am sure you do it wonderfully.

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      Thanks Becky. Can’t wait for you to arrive. I feel like we are old friends already!

      • Becky · May 21, 2012

        Me too! You might change your mind once we get there though ’cause we’re crazy. We had a tick removal and two ear infections all before 8am today 😉

  4. Tracy · May 20, 2012

    I can guarantee you that everything in Nie’s blog is not what it seems. A good friend and I had this very discussion about the blog world and even Facebook. They are places for *some* people to create the life they wish they had or want others to perceive they have. My friend has a blog that is focused on her children and she even admitted that she only posts the great and wonderful things and leaves out the tantrums and fights and name calling that went on behind the scenes. I used to be guilty of comparing myself to blogs and even friends on FB until I realized it’s all BS. My life is perfectly chaotic as well and to me that’s FAR more interesting! You are doing a great job 🙂

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      I’m probably a little too honest. But it’s theraputic to get all my foibles out there for the world to see.

  5. Donna Brown · May 20, 2012

    Really a good thought to remember, Erin. And I TOTALLY agree with Theroux’s statement. We just got home from Europe (Portugal, Spain, England, Belgium, Holland, and Norway) with a week stop over in Boston for a baptism. We are exhausted and Robert keeps saying, “Never again!” It has gotten much harder for us to travel now. We were in Portugal for a week and the other countries during an 8 day cruise. The best part was seeing our dear friends again in Spain, the ones that we had known on our mission. It would not have happened if the Lord didn’t answer prayers! So much good has happened in our mission so we were thrilled. Love to get your messages.
    Donna

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      Glad you had a fun trip Donna. I’m jealous. Travel does take a lot out of you. The injustice is now, when I have good health, I have to travel with kids, which is exhausting. Later, once the kids are gone and Jason and I will be able to travel in peace, we will probably be too old and decrepit to enjoy it.

  6. Lisa · May 20, 2012

    ahh So glad I am not the only one who is hated my their children for such things as making them eat veggies.

    • Erin · May 20, 2012

      Oh no, you’re not alone Lisa. There is a whole sorority of us “hated because of vegetables” moms.

  7. Gretchen Buhrley · May 20, 2012

    Erin, this was the first thing I read whenI woke up and now I’m going to put my phone away and get ready for the day, just so i can ponder the things you wrote. It was the perfect way to begin my Sunday morning. Stress is stressful! Ha. I’ve been feeling a lot of it lately as well and am thankful for your perspective and thoughts. I think I too need to paint some toe nails today :).

  8. cindy · May 21, 2012

    Love your post Erin! It made me smile. I quite reading NieNie stuff, one can only handle so much perfection. I miss you and your sweet family. I always feel good when I’m chatting with you. Have a safe uneventful trip home.

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