Let’s talk burnout! Is there a way to avoid it?

“Are you tired, rundown, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular?

“The answer to all your problems is in this book, Julie de Azevedo Hanks’ ‘The Burnout Cure!’”

I love Lucille Ball. Her Vitameatavegamin skit is hilarious, but in all seriousness, while there may not be a little pill or tablespoon of tonic that can help us women get healthier, “The Burnout Cure,” a fantastic new read by Julie de Azevedo Hanks, gives practical, spiritual solutions to helping women keep their inner spark and stay emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy.

It’s a healthy dose of energy, an easy read, and has many different tools and spaces for self-evaluation.

I met Julie several years ago on a Deseret Book “Time Out for Women” tour. We have since become great friends and have had many great conversations about how to be/do/have it all.

Isn’t that women’s ultimate, seemingly unachievable goal? We think we can be Superwoman every day (and most do a pretty darn good job at it!), but no matter how hard we work, there seems to be an underlying guilt as we lie down to sleep at night. Have I done enough? Did I spend enough time with my kids? Does my husband know how much he means to me? Is my career heading in the direction I want it to?

I asked Julie several of these questions on a plane ride home a few years ago, wondering if I was doing too much or too little and how to really KNOW. She smiled and said, “You have to take good care of yourself! You can’t give to your children, your husband, your boss, if your well is running dry. What do you need?”

That conversation was a turning point for me. As a health and relationship expert and licensed therapist at Wasatch Famlily Therapy, Hanks has had years of experience both in giving and receiving counsel.

In “The Burnout Cure,” Hanks shares six “cures” for emotional burnout including “Feeling and Expressing Feelings,” “Giving yourself Permission to Say an Inspired No!” and “Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness.”

For example, when we are young, we are taught simple colors in order to relate to the world around us. An apple is red, the sky is blue, frogs are green.

But that is just the beginning. How many different colors are there actually in the sky during a sunrise or sunset? Apples can be red, yellow, green, pink, or a combination of all those! And frogs are blue, yellow, red, green, spotted, striped… The point is, to just say “I’m happy” or “I’m sad” may not adequately express to yourself or others how you’re really feeling. Joyful, upset, frustrated, mad, excited, disturbed, are all emotions that are OK to feel. Giving ourselves permission to feel and express our different emotions is one way to prevent burnout.

“Consider that emotions are E-MOTIONS or ‘energy in motion,’” says Hanks. They are not necessarily good or bad. It’s how we respond to them that matters.

“Life is about growth, not about comfort,” says Hanks. It’s OK to have bad days and to be stretched a little. That’s how we learn. That’s what life is about!

I’d love to open up the discussion to you women readers: Do you have a question about avoiding emotional burnout for Julie de Azevedo Hanks? She’ll be stopping by to give some advice and answer a few questions. If you don’t get your question answered, (and even if you do!) I would strongly recommend “The Burnout Cure” for women who are on their last ember and are ready to confidently declare, “Fear not, this girl is still on fire!”

“Let’s join the thousands of happy, peppy people and start taking better care of ourselves!”

http://www.juliehanks.com/books/burnout-cure/

52 comments

  1. SLCgal

    Ohmyheck! That video was the most hilarious thing I’ve read in awhile, and to be honest, EXACTLY what I needed to hear today! Thanks for posting that, and to Julie – you get it! You get it!

  2. CMoney78

    Poor babies, they’re burned out. And this chick with her fancy house and furnishings. Wish guys knew who buys this book to avoid them! Trouble ahead with them if they’re complaining about life already! Next relationship book is for guys: How to Be Happy When Your Wife Is Not Because She Has No Realistic Perspective on Life And Therefore Complains About Burnout. A one pager that says “You can’t be. The End.”

    • Nightwisp88

      Really CMoney78? You expect that just because someone feels burnt out that they therefore must have no realistic perspective on life? Let me be the first to give you some “perspective”. As a 33 year old woman with three children under three (one of which was born with a disability), who works 40+ hours per week, manages all of the family finances, cooks the meals, does the laundry and cleans the house, has responsibilities outside of work and home in the community as well as volunteers her time to various church related activities, I can tell you a little something about reality and being burnt out. I get approximately 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and work extremely hard every minute throughout the day. I am lucky to get an uninterrupted 15 minute shower. That is reality. And this reality very frequently leads me feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. So I find this author’s insight to be extremely valuable in offering ways in which I can carve out some extremely meager “me time” to recharge my system and continue on the next day. I do however agree with you that there should be someway to know people’s thoughts before you waste your time with them. It would be very useful for hardworking, intelligent women to avoid you.

      • CMoney78

        Nightwisp88,
        Even though I don’t believe half of what you said about your “reality,” the point is this: do you think you’re the only one with trials in life? News flash to the self-centered and small-minded: we all have them and must deal with the, so deal with yours by accepting the responsibilities and consequences in your life. It’s a fools dream to think this author’s sage advice is ever going to: (a) change the reality of your life or (b) help you in any meaningful and long-term way. There is absolutely NO factual, scientific or other basis to support the author’s conclusions or suggestions. They are soft, pop psychology platitudes. “Giving ourselves permission to feel and express our different emotions is one way to prevent burnout.” Wow, real meaty, substantive insight into the human condition! And what research supports this? None. Is this what you claim “intelligent” women accept as a way to help them carve out “me time”? This superficial book is designed for women, apparently like you, who don’t know better than to scrutinize its flimsy and flawed propositions, understand that they are meaningless, yet pay hard-earned money on the useless book. Too bad that’s your reality.

      • Michael

        Nightwisp88 … There is no possible way CMoney78 is a parent. In fact, I’d bet Mommy took care of his pets for him. Forget his insults. There is nothing about “accepting the responsibilities and consequences in your life” as he suggests, which makes it a breeze. To appreciate your daily challenges, try to imagine a boy like Money with one kid crying, another with a full diaper, dinner boiling, the phone ringing, the dog howling, somebody at the door wanting money, and a spouse asking why you aren’t in the mood much. That ought to bring a laugh. Clueless men. We men who converted to the Church in mid-life can spot a lifelong male member miles away: possessive, imperial, smug and self-assured, totally useless in a crisis. Thank God for Mormon women.

    • Rachel

      Well, CMoney, I think this name may describe the very reason why you don’t understand the purpose and very great need for this book. A focus on material things would not have given you the experiences described here. There are women (and men) out there, both in and out of the LDS faith, who give of themselves so freely that they get burned out, people who need to learn how to take care of themselves in a healthy manner. If this is not a book you feel that you need, fine, but why put down on a positive message being shared? I feel like your time may be better spent elsewhere.

    • Maurine Wheatley

      I agree with you. What a cop-out!!! Hanks and other women moaning and groaning about being expected to be all we can be need to grow up and take responsibility. Selfishness is all around us…I hope husbands/fathers don’t lose focus on their responsibilities!! If Molly Mormon means living your life the way the gospel sets….give me the title. If it means rolling over and being a martyr then NO it is not good. But to me this title is positively one that sees being a wife and mother as top top top priorities! My six are all grown and my husband and I find great joy in them, their spouses and families. I wouldn’t trade this for any fame in the world! So much to say that points out the positive of being a Mom. Some times our choices catch up with us when we think we can be ‘supermom’. Choose wisely and non-selfishly…….so says this 65 year old.

      • Julie de Azevedo Hanks

        Thanks for your comment. For clarification, I am not complaining or moaning about anything….A large focus of this book IS about taking responsibility for our own lives and happiness. This song is a joke – intended to poke fun at the “cultural perfectionism” (not gospel doctrine or following the prophet’s counsel) that perpetuates feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness among so many women that I’ve worked with in my clinical practice, and that I’ve struggled with through the years.

    • Pat

      I think most people today want everything yesterday. They don’t know what it means to have a friend drive them to their wedding because they don’t have a car and their parents can’t afford to come because their home just burnt down and they don’t have the money. They couldn’t live in a four room home and put five kids in one bedroom and still be happy just because they’re together. WHAT HAPPENED TO NOT LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS? Moms and Dads work and most of them succeed in everything because worry about the family instead of themselves. First Church, second spouse, third children and last ME. If the rest are OK so will I.

  3. CMoney78

    Rachel,
    You need a sense of humor about the user name. I’m sure somewhere in the book it says its ok to laugh at yourself. As I said above, this book isn’t going to help anyone deal with any issue in “a healthy manner.” To the contrary, it will lead the vulnerable and unwitting to believe that it can actually help them, when it won’t. That’s not a positive message. “Fear not, this girl is still on fire!” Oh yeah, that’s going to “cure” everything right up. Shame on this author for trying to pass this stuff off as anything other than Oprah-esque entertainment lite.

  4. Michael

    There was a time I might have made CMoney’s comment, being male and clueless as to domestic life. Then I raised my 2 sons alone, from ages 2 months and 21 months with ADHD. Ran a dept of 150 at work, shortened exec meetings in time to get babies at 5. Feed, dress, bathe, play, bathe again after they throw-up on clean pj’s, off to the doc, etc., etc. Next day, repeat again. Most nights I didn’t take off my tie until 11pm. Ready to sleep at 1am, but ADHD child is now awake, rested, happy and ready to play. There were so many times, if a neighbor or total stranger said, “here, let me help you” I would have broken down.
    Now, I never criticize mothers, I offer to help those I don’t know at the grocery or Wal-Mart. I also think all Mom’s go to Heaven, regardless of any other consideration.

  5. Michael

    But the worst part of it all … being so stressed and tired you can’t think straight, and snapping at them. Hours later, asleep in bed and looking like God’s very own angels, I’d feel like the lowest form of human alive, worthy only to be taken out and executed at dawn. Even now, 30 years later, I wake up at night sometimes thinking I wasn’t as good a parent as I should have been. Overload and burn-out is a very, very powerful and dangerous force. When you take a break for yourself, you’re also taking a break for them. Insist on down time. Demand it. Build it in to your day. Somehow, some way.

  6. NDM

    After many long years of church activity and priesthood leadership, I have slowly come to the conclusion that the most insidious contributor to burnout in LDS women is other LDS women. Sometimes there’s a fine line between sharing health, beauty or homemaking “tips that worked for me,” and simply showing off in front of (or worse, lording it over) sisters who may not have the same resources, time, or genetics. The best thing we can do in Mormon culture to help our beloved but burning- and burned-out sisters is to spend less time ratcheting up expectations and more time serving one another.

    • Michael

      NDM… No, the most insidious contributor to burnout is the husband who doesn’t help, who expects of the woman performance he himself could never achieve. All based on misinterpretation of ‘priesthood’. Notice, please, that the negative comments here all avoid the main issue: it is very hard to work and raise children and work inside the home, alone. Not one critic has addressed that fact.

    • Barbara Wyly

      Pres. Uctodorf addressed many of these issues in his talk about the Forget me Not in General RS conference, 2011. He was inspired. Raising kids, working a full time job and handling all the things we need to do to be good LDS is exhausting if we try to run faster than we have strength. It is not unique to women, though I think women tend to compare themselves to others more than men. My son asked me the other day, “Are your thirties always this crazy or is it just me?” I told him that my thirties were so crazy that I hardly remembered the first few years of his youngest sibling’s life-which is why I decided to downsize and prioritize my expectations. Pres. Uctdorf addressed this issue when he talked about staying up all night to make neat little doodads for RS. Some things you cannot ignore-others can be downsized or put on the back burner. And it isn’t war between the sexes, either. Couples who love each other will walk a mile in their spouse’s moccasins occasionally. Extended families and other church members and friends need to look for those who are burned out too. It is necessary for our collective health and well being and the well being of the next generation.

    • CJJones

      Women everywhere have this burn-out issue with which to deal and like the poster below states, the lack of help and/or understanding from the husband is a key part of it.
      Perhaps LESS time with “priesthood” requiremens and MORE
      time helping at home could be a huge step taken in this issue.

      When “achieving” and “expectations” and constant concern with “am I as good a Mormon mom as such and such”….are inherant in the teachings of one’s religion, this becomes
      a much bigger issue than realized.

  7. Rich

    Perhaps a lot of burnout is caused by striving too hard to maintain the appearance of a lifestyle that is unsustainable. I love the concept taught in the Temple — sufficient for your needs. Perhaps it’s time to set aside some of the “demands” of life that require a “homemade cake” so to speak (that applies to all sorts of things, cooking, sewing, enrolling the children in every conceivable sport and music class, and personally juggling too many balls at once), and become more content with what is sufficient for our needs. Take a deep breath, exhale completely, watch a sunrise, say “thanks” to Heavenly Father, then go your way and don’t worry about what other people think or say about you. Learn to say “No” to some of the requests for your involvement. Count your blessings and embrace contentedness.

  8. Maurine Wheatley

    Everybody has their ‘down’ days….nothing unusual. Make good choices and live those choices and quit being so ‘me-me-me’ oriented…..remember a ‘time and season’ for all things and that may mean putting another career besides motherhood on a back burner for a time. Eternal perspective is what it is called;-) also there is another statement – ‘losing yourself, thus finding yourself’ hummmmmmmmmmmmm…….?

  9. Elmer Jorgensen

    Burnout is a possibility for everyone – especially in the church. There is sometimes a tendency to allow our selves to be bombarded with all of the ‘should-be-doings’ that we try to do it all. Family history, regular temple attendance, multiple callings, home and visiting teaching, service projects, on top of home needs and employment requirements (to list a few).

    These things are all critical, but there is a season. Right now, hours at the family history center doesn’t work out for us — when our toddlers are older — we look forward to that, in the mean time, making it to the temple once every other month is a great accomplishment.

    I can’t be completely perfect right now, but I can become perfect in little areas and I just keep adding to that list as I go. The trick is moving forward constantly, the temptation is to to do so at light speed.

  10. thedadof8

    I don’t think that “burnout” is limited to any one gender. As the father of eight (one with a disability)how has a mother-in-law, with dementia, living in our home I can promise you that “burnout” happens to men. One thing my wife and I have learned is to remove those things that are superfluous and simplify our lives. Even with that there are those days where we are both emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. Personally I think people (myself included) spend way to much time and energy on things that don’t really matter. Seeking happiness from things that are good, but still not being involved in the best. It’s a hard balance to find, but we are still trying.

  11. AllTheSameTrialsAsYou

    I wish the gal in the picture/video would have had a basket of laundry and piles of dishes and a vacuum cleaner and a couple a stacks of bills and a pile of winter coats (that didn’t get put away and now it’s June) and a child with uncombed hair…all in the background. That to me is reality and happiness:)

  12. Carole

    Maurine…YES!! I happen to agree,(hopefully NOT because I happen to be 61!). I found, as a new convert and starting my family not long after, that my priorities were where I felt the gospel had led me to have them. NO, we can’t do it all…guess what younger sis’s…we AREN’T supposed to. I found life extremely challenging with my 5 children and husband going to school, no money, and feeling jealous of the library at BYU! Our wise and inspired church leaders have advised us time and time again to make our first priority our husbands and children,(and YES we MUST take care of ourselves since our Heavenly Father would require this of us and if we don’t we will have dire natural consequences). We have been told that the ONLY reason for us to work outside our homes is necessity. Necessity is NOT new carpet, newest car, largest house, or new furnishings. Our wise leaders have also admonished us, as women, to have a strong background in education or training in case it might be needed. I DO feel these decisions need to be between you and your Heavenly Father, but this is MY understanding and firm belief that this is best…

  13. James Green

    The world has changed for women… yet adaptation to that change is stuck in an old fashioned mode that is damaging to women’s feeling of self worth.

    In the old days, women were involved in the sustenance of every family very much. The made the clothes, they washed those clothes by hand, they made a lot of the food consumed by a family, they grew fruits and vegetables in a home garden and canned/preserved most of it, they made quilts and bedding material. I helped my own Grandmother make soap on the back porch.

    In other words they contributed significantly to taking care of the physical needs of the family, as well as being Mother and Wife.

    Today most of those physical needs are taken care of with cash, mostly earned by the man of the house. (I worked 5 jobs at once so my Wife could stay home with the children.) That has left women with a diminished role. So they have replaced that role by becoming Soccer Moms and with outside interests. It’s no wonder they feel somewhat denigrated. They aren’t contributing to the physical welfare of the family in as significant a way as in prior times.

    It’s good for the Mother to be in the home for the welfare of the children. But when the kids are grown and gone, it is time for the wife to start working to help earn the money needed to pay for all the stuff necessary for a properly functioning home.

    I do not believe that it was meant for the woman to be able to lounge around while the man does all the supporting for the rest of their lives. That is not right and not fair.

    There is nothing wrong with a woman helping to earn the money to pay the bills, whether in the home or out. It was never meant that the women’s role of helping to provide would stop at some point, even though she can’t do it in the old fashioned way.

    And the sooner people realize this and accept the fact, the better women will feel about themselves, and the better marriages can be.

  14. amyjo57

    The article was nice, but there was no mention at all about church callings, about service, scripture study or anything regarding our faith. For many LDS women the responsibilities of family, work, and church are so heavy they burn out. Too bad the only mention of the church was a comment that Molly Mormon is dead.

  15. Josh

    Oh go cry me a river. I have it harder than woman. I have to make sure there’s food on the table the bills and all the other junk men have to take care of. Mormon women have it too easy.

  16. GoodCarma

    Can I just say that we need more men like Michael? You have amazing insight into a woman’s world and I appreciate your comments.

    You are also spot on when you talk about the typical Mormon husband. I see this type of man in my own ward. My heart goes out to their wives but until women learn to stand up for themselves, things will never change.

  17. MJ

    I would recommend to all who have commented, the article, “A message to women: Ways to help find a pathway to peace” by Alan Hall, published Tuesday, Aug. 13 2013 also found online at Deseret News. Tender words and wisdom there for both men and women.

  18. Sarah

    There is no such thing as a Molly Mormon. At least I’ve never met one. If anything it’s a hurtful term toward any Latter-day Saint woman trying to do the best she can with what she has. All of us are far from perfect doing the best we can with the same 24 hours allotted to us each day. Each person has varying gifts and interests. Trouble for me is any time I try to improve or do better with some things rather than have folks encourage me to do well, I am more often met by folks who say I’m just being a Molly Mormon. It’s like folks would rather see me fail, than succeed. Some people push themselves so hard that what little I do contribute pales in comparison and isn’t worth much to those who do so much more.

  19. Michael

    Thank you for your kind comment, Carma. The insight came from actually being Mr Mom for so long. If every husband/father of young children took just one month of being Mr Mom, his life would change forever, his wife would be treated like a Queen the rest of their marriage. His appreciation of her would skyrocket.

    Being the only man at work who could tell doo-doo stories with the ladies in the breakroom changed my life, I can tell you. :)

  20. MMM

    James Green and CMoney….you two are hilarious. Your responses got an out loud laugh even. Sigh…..
    Bless the women in your life for putting up, er I mean supporting you!! :)

    Motherhood is hard. The best job/role EVER….but challenging and exhausting and rewarding all rolled into one beautiful experience. Women do need to take a few moments to “sharpen the saw” so to speak. Service is awesome….but filling our lamps is essential as well. I understand the burn out thing. It’s too easy to judge ourselves (and what we accomplish) too harshly. We are all in this world together and need to be gentle with one another… Even ourselves.

  21. Sonja

    Wow. You seem to have some really big issues with yourself. I certainly hope you don’t get involved with anyone. You come across as very selfish and a know it all. Newsflash. … It may not be your reality but people do have to much on their plates and do have burn out. Site., some may be complainers and some may just be whiney. but you have no right to tell them they don’t have the right to feel this way or that this poor woman that replied to you (nightwisp88) is lying. I don’t see one thing in her response that rings untrue.

  22. Michael

    James Green … receipt for homemade soap:
    Lye — Mix in large pyrex measuring cup, stir with a chopstick saved from order-in Chinese food. Again, do not breathe the fumes. Wear goggles.
    700 milliliters purified water
    270 grams or 9 1/4 ounces lye (one small container)
    Oils (Mix in a big pot.)
    Olive oil 955 grams or 4 1/2 cups (Use the cheap pomace olive oil; virgin doesn’t work as well.)
    Coconut oil 390 grams 500 milliliters 2 cups
    Grapeseed oil 515 grams 500 milliliters 2 cups

    Pour into mold. Wrap with heavy blankets for 24 hours to keep the heat in and help the chemical reaction.

    The next day, when soap has set, cut it into bars and store, separated nicely, on brown paper in cool place. Turn over after two weeks. Use after one month.

    Receipt for Soccer Mom…
    - Make sure little soccer star is dressed properly. Smurf underwear on, clean ones thanks, tag in the back. Tuck in your jersey, please
    - Ignore ringing telephone.
    - baby sister securing in traveling bucket. got extra diapers? two bottles packet. should be enough. get more wipes though.
    - stop kicking the ball in the house, honey.
    - everything in the house turned off? dont want to come home to smoldering ruins.
    - little sister just filled her diaper. oh heck. i’m coming, honey, just a minute! i asked you to stop kicking the ball in the house!
    - from the hallway bathroom, little brother to soccer star yells out “mommy, I’m finished!” okay, baby, be right there.
    - little sister now diapered, clean and kissed. down the hallway, carrying her in bucket, to attend to little brother, perched atop the commode swinging his feet. Naked as a jaybird. look at watch. gotta get to the soccer field.
    - oh, come on. not now. this is no time to be out of toilet tissue! put little sister down, run to the closet for new roll.
    - crash! Soccer star, I told you to stop kicking the ball in the house! What was that crash?
    - Soccer star is unusually silent. Moments later, a very weak “nothing, mom.”
    - Little brother wiped and dressed, baby sister is asleep. Praise be. God is real.
    - The phone again.
    - To the car. Baby sister secure and sleeping. Little Beckham kicks ball against car. Little brother starts crying, “I forgot my ball”
    - Run to his room and back. All kids in car and secure.
    - Wait a minute. “Soccer star, did you get your thermos of Power Aid?
    - No, ma’am.
    - Back to the house, run into the kitchen. Phone message from hubby says “Hey, babe. Doing anything?”
    - Run back to car with thermos. Kids still secure.
    - pull out of driveway onto road. I can drive, but its the other idiots I worry about. Drives and watches for texting teens behind her.
    - Pulls into parking area at sports field only 5 minutes late, boys straining against seat belts to get out.
    - Oh, no! No no no! Remembers its her day for team refreshments.

    - Later, back home. Supper done and dishes in washer. Two loads of clothes washed, one drying. Homework done. Gotta return 3 calls. Collapses on couch for 1st time today. Hubby awakes from recliner at television. Says ‘babe, I’ve worked hard all day (8 hours) for the family. You aren’t in the mood much anymore. Don’t you love me?

    James, contemporary women have it just as hard, if not harder, than women of the past. Every bit as much.

    • Carole

      Michael hon, I feel your experiences have enlarged you GREATLY. I admire who you seem to have become. One caveat to your Soccer Mom and comment to James. Your description is EXACTLY the same for “us oldies, but goodies” as the “contempary” woman!!
      P.S. I ONLY made soap for a short while!!lol

      • Michael

        Carole … thank you for your kind remarks. I consider myself duly corrected! But so should you: at 61, a year older than I, you ARE contemporary!

    • Josh

      Michael, I agree with you on this that our world is much more complicated and demanding than years ago, especially for women, but doesn’t having our kids signed up for soccer, etc. seem *optional*? I am a father of 5 and have my oldest in soccer, my next in karate, and my next two in dance. Sometimes I am left wondering if doing all of that is worth the toll exacted on mom OR dad (whichever is the taxi driver, etc.). Besides it being *expensive*, it keeps us from having a regular dinner hour, a regular time for scriptures, a regular bed time, etc. Further, it keeps me at work for longer hours to try and pay for all of it, which leaves my wife on her own for even longer during the day. (By the way, who only works 8 hours a day nowadays? Try 14. And no, I would NEVER manipulate my wife’s emotional love to wrangle physical love out of her; totally different topic, of course, but that’s just awful.)

      To boot, we have a humongous 3500-sqft toy-filled, clothing-filled home for which we have a sizable house payment and all the upkeep and clean up that goes with it. Such financial burden keeps me away from helping around the house, carting the kids around, etc. for even longer. It is a lifestyle that we chose, but I believe more and more each day that it is at the expense of the happiness of the mom and dad who work so hard to achieve it.

      My wife is as stressed as any other “soccer mom”, and life is really hard for the women in our society, but I think we do a lot of it to ourselves when we give in to the expectations the world sets before us.

      Now, with all that said, my wife and I took the comments of this discussion board to dinner with us last night, and she said that her biggest stress was not the demanding schedule/lifestyle, but instead the catch 22 expectation; the working mom being condemned for not staying at home and the stay-at-home mom being condemned for not working (her words: “not being ‘somebody’”). She and I have chosen that she will be a stay-at-home mom for the foreseeable future, but she feels like the world sees her as less because “that’s all” she’s doing. One consequence of our choice combined with the world’s expectation is that she feels like she is less and less a real person every day. I agree that women need take time each day (or regularly) to do something that they find self-fulfilling, and husbands need to help facilitate that, but what happens when we allow the world to tell us what is self-fulfilling and what isn’t?

      Anyway, I believe that we both left the dinner table in mutual agreement that the world is trying to pull our family into expectations that simply don’t align with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We still have differences of opinion on how to execute on it, but I believe that we feel that we are both yoked together and pulling our hardest.

      • Michael

        Josh… Nice post sir. My thoughts, in no particular order… 1) If what prevents a husband from being actively involved in domestic affairs is his job, that is clearly understandable, unavoidable. He is to be commended for the long hours on behalf of his family. But if he doesn’t help his wife because ‘it is woman’s work’ or ‘I work outside the home’ or any other evasive excuse, then equally clearly this is unacceptable and he is causing his mate undue stress. And I have seen soooo many men with that exact attitude. I didn’t consider child care beneath me. After the 1st month or so I’d have put my diaper-changing skills against any mothers. :) 2) yes, extracurricular activities are optional, for the most part. But in another, I considered the total, wholesome development of my children to include activities their peers were involved in, too. Not that I was enslaved to what the Jones’ were doing, but I did keep one eye on what was happening in their little lives so that my attitudes would not marginalize them at school and play. All that to say, if they wanted to play, Dad was committed. 3) I think you taking your wife to dinner to discuss this blog and comments is just too cool. Good on you! It shows concern, and the best kind of love. 4) Your wife fears “Not being somebody”? I can’t think of a duty more important than motherhood, more influential. History has been influenced by the gentle touch of mothers, and by their cruel neglect. Peruse bios of great men and look for comments re their mothers. Your wife should bow her head to no woman working outside the home. None. Conversely, those who MUST work outside the home need not feel neglectful. One must do what one must do to provide for one’s brood. Again, History rises or falls as a consequence of a mothers love or neglect. Some women can point to a framed doctorate – and that’s good – but the stay at home Mom who daily faces the trials and celebrations … well, her credentials are incalculable.

  23. CAF

    I think that a lot of men and women are doing their best and need to take a breather sometimes. Unfortunately, most of the women who advise us ‘burn outs’ are still doing much more than some of us could even hope to do. So,…the advice ends up being not so helpful. Fortunately, I can smile and love them for the help they are TRYING to give.

  24. Amy's Mom

    I did not like the song at all. She seemed so smug and self satisfied. I never hide the fact if I bring a store bought cake. Molly Mormons are great gals! Michael is sooo right on!!! Also the lady that said there is nothing better or more important then a woman staying home to take care of her children. There is no age, i.e. jr. hi., when she is not needed in the home and should go outside to bring in the dollars. they can just kiss the kids good bye if they do that because they desire more stuff. Stuff of any kind will never be of more value than the children.
    Age 68 mother of only 3.

  25. Bethany

    I find it so ironic that her music video is all about how “molly mormon died” when (i hate to break it to you), SHE IS A MOLLY MORMON!!! Ugh, it is so infuriating to me. She is the opposite of “real”. She has her hair all perfect and her nails manicured, and her house is all clean and decorated. Sure, she plays the guitar, maybe not every mormon woman does, but can we please just ditch the act?? I just moved here from Iowa where people are much less concerned about keeping up appearances. What’s with that out here in Utah? Why does everyone care about looking or seeming like having it all together? I’m so sick of people like her.

    • Carole

      Bethany hon, I DO know EXACTLY how you feel about moving from another state. I experienced the Utah cultural shock in the late ’70′s. I feel what your experiencing is a result of a condensed amount of people with the same social values. I do believe a “watering down” effect would happen in most any social group. There
      CAN be a lot of complacency, BUT there is also a lot of the GREATEST strength in the church to found there. Most all of the people I ran into in the military community, that were LDS, were the most wonderful, strong, and loving people when taken out of their “natural habitat”. Many of our greatest leaders have and probably will come from Utah. Look for the good(after your initial shock) it’s there!!

  26. Jillian

    Regarding church first, spouse second, kids third, me last, and if everyone else is OK, I’m OK, that just doesn’t work for me. Under that model, I’m basically last on everyone’s list, and I cannot function if that’s the way it’s going to be all the time.

    When I was up all night with my dying mother (who would pass two weeks later) the and called the Primary President to tell her I really needed someone else to fill in as chorister that morning — that materials were prepped and I would have a lady across the street bring them, she whined at me that she really wished I had told her about this earlier. She asked nothing about if there was anything she or the Church could do for me or my family. No one offered to come pick my children up and take them to church. My husband was out of town visiting his own ailing mother. Did she really want me to call her between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. when I was changing my mom’s sheets for the fourth time that night? Did she think I was psychic and could have predicted my mother could have had an especially rough night? I had stayed with my mother literally hundreds of nights, but this was the only time I had “called in sick” for a church duty. So much for church being first. I do what I can to be faithful, but real life can get in the way.

    Regarding spouse always coming next, after church . . . My husband is a big boy. If I have two barfing children, he can heat up leftovers for himself and the remaining three offspring who are healthy enough to keep food down. He doesn’t always come first in the family. If he’s in dire need, he comes first, just as whoever else is in dire need at a given moment comes first. Still, my husband is a man. Many but not all men are lovable but selfish creatures by nature. He’s not going to put his needs in front of mine. Maybe he did just a little bit when I was in labor, but that was pretty much the extent of it. Therefore, if I always put his needs ahead of my own, I come out at the bottom of the heap every minute of every day.

    As far as children are concerned, not one of them begged me to conceive him or her. Of course they come first. Their relative ranking varies from moment to moment depending upon who is having what crisis, but their needs will be met if I have to kill myself meeting them, although I have no qualms about asking their father to get his butt off the recliner and help before I almost literally kill myself in meeting their needs. (He, too, had a hand, so to speak, in conceiving the offspring.)

    I drag my tired body off to teach special needs children five days a week unless one of my children is too sick for school or daycare. During that time, those children come first. If necessary, I have to take a bullet for them, which is highly unlikely, but we all know it can happen. Then I come home and clean my house and cook dinner because those tasks will not take care of themselves. I’m training my children to help, and they do “help,” but supervising them is every bit as much work as doing by myself if not more work.

    As far as priority lists go, I’m not very high on the church’s list of priorities. My husband likes to think I’m high on his list, but running, working out, and watching anything and everything connected t the NFL are also quite high. he’s a surgeon, so work must be high on his list as well. If we were to be perfectly honest, I think we both know the children come before me as far as he is concerned. I wouldn’t have that part of it any other way. They cannot fend for themselves.

    It may sound as though I’m working unnecessarily since my husband is a physician, but we’re supporting a part of his family as well as our own and need the income.

    I’m not going to put the entire world ahead of myself, though. It’s a really nice and martyr-like thought, but I’ve never been much of a martyr.

    • Josh

      Jillian, that was very insensitive of that Primary President; while that kind of stressful reaction does seem to accompany those with big church burdens, it was still a very unfortunate response on her part. My wife and I are raising 5 kids currently; life is crazy, but I remember a specific time just a few years ago when we were in shoes very similar to yours (my mom passing away, us taking care of four kids, fulfilling church callings, etc., etc.). Before that time in my life, I didn’t ever feel a need to take time for myself; but during those months, taking “me time” was vital to my sanity. While it still pales in comparison to Michael’s Mr. Mom experience, it helped me better understand my wife’s need for personal time.

      Regarding priorities, I don’t think anyone except hopeless idealogues see “the list” (church, then family, then etc.) as a rigid law of Heaven any more than “i over e except after c” is supposed to a rigid law of spelling “ie/ei” words. You gave great examples of how life throws wrenches into just about any game plan. My wife and I still try to follow the spirit of it, though, putting the needs of the church, one another, and our kids before our own needs, and it seems to work for us in general (of course, between church, work, and kids, our time together seems non-existent at times). Both of us try to find time to rejuvenate ourselves, and we both think that’s okay. Moreover, every mom I’ve met so far has been amazingly better at following “the list” than any dad I’ve met, so don’t be too hard on yourself. The gospel of Jesus Christ taught us that we should “consider the lilies” and that if we put Him first, He will take care of us, but I’ve never personally thought that meant that Christ would condemn us for having private interests and personal time.

    • Michael

      Jillian … If I were a Catholic priest, right now I’d be motioning the Cross and saying ‘Bless you, my child.’ For 10 years I was responsible for seeing that surgeons acted like adults outside the operating room: complying with policies and procedures, budgetary guidelines, administrative duties, etc. They were Kings in the o.r., but outside it, they had to join the grownups.

      I’ll never do that again. I’d rather have a root canal without anesthesia.

      Add to that 5 little ones and a job with special needs kids?

      You really are a saint, latter-day or not.

  27. Julie de Azevedo Hanks

    Hi CMoney78, I find your perspective fascinating. Usually people actually read a book before posting online comments and reviews. Since you seem to have a lot of time on your hands here are a few well-researched concepts that support some of the suggestions I offer in my book and have informed my work. I suggest you research the following terms in scholarly journals. You just may find some of the concepts to be helpful in managing your own negative affect: affect regulation, contingent self-worth, Dialectic Behavior therapy, Dr. Dan Seigel’s research on mindsight research, Dr. Kristin Neff’s self-compassion research, cognitive restructuring techniques, family systems theory, relational boundaries…Enjoy!

    • Josh

      Julie, these sound like interesting reads as well. Can you suggest specific references? Or maybe these references are listed in your book? Thanks.

  28. George Weight

    History repeats itself. The battle of the sexes isn’t new, folks! Some 40+ years ago, a Relief Society President got up in our Sacrament Meeting and spent several minutes reprimanding the Brethren for letting their wives pack all the burden. The husband was the next speaker. His opening remark? “Wow, that’s a hard act to follow!”

  29. citygrrl

    Wow, Carmen! Forty-one comments! (I guess that’s now 42 with mine). Did you strike a nerve or what? I think it’s great so many people responded. The NYT recently had a follow-up article to one published 10 years ago regarding the “opt-out moms.” There were over 1,000 comments. Just an idea: maybe more blog posts regarding just how and why the work of motherhood generates elicits such passionate opinions.

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