Home > Daily Special

Hi, My Name is Jennie and I’m Lazy

By Hildie Westenhaver

I just don’t feel like doing anything hard lately.  Or unpleasant. Or boring.

My workouts have dwindled from enthusiastic walk/running on the treadmill to a trip upstairs a couple of times a day.

My “diet”, begun in January, now features chips and salsa (because salsa is healthy—it’s vegetables after all.  And tortillas are corn—another vegetable) and cookie dough (I always have lots of milk with my cookie dough.  Milk does a body good, you know.)

I don’t really care if there are dirty dishes in the sink when I go to bed. Heaven knows they’re not going anywhere.  Although I used to always hear a naggy voice in my head saying, “you don’t want to wake-up to a sink full of dishes!”  Now I just figure that I’d rather do them in the morning when I have more energy.

In case you can’t tell, I’ve lost my mojo. 

I’m not moping around all day, or refusing to get out of bed, I have been doing a few things:

Making crafts (including hair clippies, soap, and a cute apron)

Talking on the phone to friends

Painting my toenails

Blogging

Trying different kinds of candy bars from Whole Foods

My sense of “supposed to” is not working very well these days. My self-discipline has disappeared. I look at my friends who go insane if they miss a day of running; I can’t even begin to understand them.  My mother-in-law has a fierce yearning to clean things (she calls it tidiness, I call it OCD).  I kind of wish I were neurotic like that; to not be able to rest until things are just so. 

Learning to master ourselves is one of the Big Lessons of mortality.  The commandments are all about self-denial.  As is fasting and having a calling and temple work.  All the best things in life (and eternity) seem to come from putting our human wants aside for something greater.

What if you don’t feel like mastering yourself? What do you do if a stagnant lifestyle seems pretty appealing? We’re constantly taught the importance of doing better: better eating, better visiting teaching, better scripture reading.  What if you just don’t want to?  It’s pretty hard for me to get jazzed about reading more scriptures.

Is there some secret to motivating ourselves? What do you tell yourself to get off your booty and get busy?  How do you find the self-control to do what you’re supposed to instead of what you want to?  How do you get started again when you’re just plain burned out?

How the heck do I get my mojo back?

About Hildie Westenhaver

(Blog Team) was born and raised in Detroit, but is happy to call Austin, TX home now. She majored in Art History and Geography at BYU and graduated a week before having her first baby. There have been five more babies since then. Hildie is an avid baker and tries to fatten up the people she loves.

99 thoughts on “Hi, My Name is Jennie and I’m Lazy”

  1. I say Heavenly Father is giving you some peace, so enjoy it. There is a season for everything, this is your season to paint your toenails and eat cookie dough – revel in it. The huge caviat of course is that this season doesn't last all year. I'm sure something will come along to boot you out of your comfort zone, that's just how life works. In the mean time I'm jealous of you, if I could find what you have now I would love it for the time I have it. Include your kiddos in a few of those fun things and it sounds perfect.

    Reply
  2. I agree with jendoop! Just enjoy your time. Do things on a need to do basis (dishes, laundry, toilets, etc…) and not much else. Otherwise you will resent having to do things, and resent those that are forcing you (kids, husband, church, etc…).
    I find that when I am eating right, I have more energy, but getting myself to that point is hard sometimes. Maybe you will eat enough candy bars that you will get sick of them, and then you will get your mojo back! Anyway, you said you are doing crafts, so you are really just following Elder Uchdorf's advice to create! 🙂

    Reply
  3. I get into those moods too. Just like the other two, I revel in it, which for me involves reading a lot, puttering a lot, and spending too much time online…

    I don't usually fight it because for me it means that my well is empty. The lazy season is a time to refill. I always come through bursting with ideas and plans. It is usually the allure of trying something new that gets me going: a new class, new boxes and hooks for organizing, a new environment, a new project, or a new friend.

    Reply
  4. i am deep, deep inside the same hole. as you mentioned, feeling lazy is one thing, but being lazy AND not feeling guilty is kind of a junky place to be. most of the time i at least feel like a slop for not doing all of the things i'm supposed to, but lately i actually feel completely fine about letting things slide. i'm in a hole, and quite frankly, i don't know if i care.

    Reply
  5. You are a sister after my own heart!

    I go through productive gung-ho periods, and periods where I just can't be bothered to do anything. Don't worry about it! Your mojo will come back by itself when the time is right.

    Reply
  6. To me this also just sounds like a season. Not a depression or such. It will pass. If I get really upset with myself and something absolutely has to be done – i tell myself that i do not have to feel like it or enjoy it – i just have to do it. Believe it or not, that relieves the pressure of having to feel right all the time.
    I have said many times that my poor poor husband has a wife that is not ODC. The fellowship meetings we go to all the women talk of extravagent cleaning marathons every day. I love to just smile at them and say – Clutter is Love.God is Love. God lives in my clutter, too.
    Really I should not do that someone is going to have a stroke!
    I recently went thru a period where I was overwhelmed with 2 rooms that my husband just keeps shoving stuff into. Then one morning I woke up, did both rooms and 3 closets. I think the sun shine helped, even tho it was only about 35 degrees.
    I am learning to be gently with myself – it is hard work! (that sounds funny doesnt' it?)
    this weekend my husband was feeling poorly – I quilted – I felt like a new woman!

    Reply
  7. P>S> – I also just found 2 sites that have texts lectures free of college courses – this has sparked me greatly. I was not aware until I saw them how much I miss not actively learning something! other than dinner.

    Reply
  8. the only way i get my mojo back is very nike: just do it. if i think about it too much i can talk myself out of anything. & i'm very convincing. 😉

    Reply
  9. My lazy-busters are to set a timer and work until it goes off, make a list, or the big one –invite someone over. I also work better if I have helpers (husband or kids) because I can't sit around uninvolved while they are being productive.

    I am totally with you on cookie dough and milk. (Oats and nuts are in there, pure health food.)

    Reply
  10. i can totally relate. so much so that i read it aloud to my dh. his instant diagnosis: "that's easy. it's because there are no immediate consequences that she's able to be lazy". elaborating further, most people in the world don't have the luxury of being lazy. it's survival or die. so you'll be able to while away the hours conferrin' with the flowers so long as there are no consequences dire enough to spur you to action. and by you i mean me, really.

    and then i remind myself of the scripture that i was forced to memorize by my mother as a child (and was grounded till i had done so) "for behold it is not meet that i should command in all things. for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant. wherefore he receiveth no reward."

    35 years later and i'm still struggling to make myself a wise servant some days. but i also look back and realize that it hasn't always been as much my "fault" as i've assumed. part of mojoless days may very well be due to depression, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, etc. so be gentle on yourself, and pray for insight and assistance. you are not the sum of all your days accomplishments…no matter how much those "high achiever days" may seem to be the only validation of your existance.

    note: everything i've written is directed straight at myself. ♥

    Reply
  11. I just don't have the option of being lazy. As a full-time employee, mother, wife, there is zero time for lying around. I wish! Instead, every moment of my day is dictated by my very busy calendar– up at 5:00 AM to take oldest daughter to skating practice (on the ice by 6:30 AM), drop oldest daughter off at school, straight to work, go for a run at lunch, home around 5:30 PM (at least my husband gets the kids), cook dinner, help with homework, make lunches, pre-pack breakfast (more skating in the morning), put away laundry, put out clothes for the next day, spend some time with my husband, take the dog for a walk, bed by 11:00. At least I don't have to do any housecleaning, yard work, or upkeep of the pool. I'm mostly exhausted all the time. And frazzled. If you have time to paint nails, ignore the dishes, and do some crafts, count yourself as lucky.

    Reply
  12. sometimes i feel exactly as you described: i don't care about anything and i don't care that i don't care, either. i find that when this is a longer term feeling, it's a phase and it passes (kids aren't the only ones that go through phases!). if i jump on the lazy train wholeheartedly, i eventually run into a new project that interests me and i get motivation for life again. sometimes you have to just not care because if you cared 100% all of the time you'd go certifiably nuts. i think the not-caring can, in moderation, be really important.

    on a shorter-term basis, ie daily, it is so hard to make myself get moving in the mornings. but i've found that i just have to pick one thing and DO IT. there is nothing i can tell myself that will make me actually care about getting off the couch, i just have to force myself off the couch anyway and then take things one step at a time until doing becomes caring. (kind of like the advice to smile until you feel happy, or pray until you feel like praying.) just go put my contacts in, because it's 2pm and i am still seeing in fuzz. just make the bed. if i just pick SOMETHING and start, one thing leads to another. after i make the bed i pick up the toys next to the bed, just because i might as well… pretty soon the whole room is clean. i usually get in a groove and by the time my husband gets home, i've managed to mostly redeem my day.

    Reply
  13. Ah, I love you Jennie, and I also happen to know that your definition of lazy includes several loads of laundry, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, scripture study and the general wear and care of six children(and hubby too!).

    You're in a happy season. And yes, I may be that friend who NEEDS a run every day, but I wish I were contented and sweet like you.

    Reply
  14. The commandments are all about self-denial.

    There's something about that phrase that you used that I'm going to have to think about for a while. I'll let you know what I come up with.

    I'll tell you this though, it'll be more interesting than thinking about the paper I'm supposed to be writing for class this week. 😉

    Reply
  15. Sometimes I wonder how many of our "supposed to"s are cultural constructs. Things we tell ourselves we "must" do because . . . well . . . other people might judge us if we don't.

    I also think there's a difference between depression and being secure enough in your own self to stop caring about other people's opinions and doing what you dang well want to do. I think you fall into the second camp, Jennie. Forty years ago, people who went running outside every day were seen as a little crazy. Today they're lauded six ways to Sunday. Seriously, there's a guy at the gym who does these ultra-marathons, who runs hundreds a miles a week, and people think he's just the cat's pajamas. But if I decided I was going to read, lets say, seven books a week? People would think I'm crazy, or avoiding work, or wasting my time, or irresponsible. Culturally, right now running has a lot of cache. Book reading, not so much.

    And all you runners, please know that I think it's a GREAT thing to run–keeps you healthy, keeps you sane, all that–if it's what you want to do. But if somebody doesn't want to run? It's not a moral failing. 🙂 My grandmother and my mother both stayed perfectly fit and healthy as suburban, non-farm housewives without ever going to the gym or training for half-marathons.

    Reply
  16. Stress makes me lazy. When I am super stressed everything falls to pieces as I do just nothing. Except then I do sleep, sew, bake and read. They bring me calmness, along with lots of candles. So, right now the house is a mess, although the basics get done. As it has been said the dishes, cleaning or whatever will still be there in the morning. Sometimes we just have to accept where we are without all of the guilt. It's that mormon perfection thing again isn't it!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  17. Angela-that's so true about the running. Remember those read-a-thons from when we were young? We need to bring those back for adults. "Sorry, I can't help set up for the Relief Society dinner. I'm training for a read-a-thon."

    Reply
  18. Sometimes I go on reading binges. I always tire of them eventually, and I am careful not to let one get started until I can "afford" it. I don't feel guilty because, like Red, the desire to do this usually comes to me when my tank is on dead empty. Put simply, it's not being lazy. It's refueling.

    I don't like to be regimented, anyway. I go in spurts and stops. As long as I get what really must be done finished (and I don't mean the cultural "musts," but my own), I'm good.

    =)

    Reply
  19. Let's not get the mojo back…it's over-rated anyway! I say let's go see a movie and get some dessert! (When's that new McCauna-hottie movie out anyway?!)

    Reply
  20. You could always just decide you won't do ANYTHING. Let the dishes pile up and run out of underwear and not wear make-up. Chances are you'll get so sick of that you'll go super-mode and get caught up again. I tend to live in phases, I have a clean house phase for a few weeks, then it's a reading phase, then it's a nothing-but-write phase, then it's an eating healthy food phase. I figure the good stuff will come back around if I allow myself to just enjoy right now. I get tired of being lazy eventually. Right now I'm in an eat-girl-scout-cookies-and-blog phase. I give it till friday.

    Sometimes instead of doing the Best We Can we can just do the Best We Want. I don't think it's a sin, just a mood, and it will pass.

    Reply
  21. Once when I was praying for those feelings of sadness and overwhelmedness (is that a word?) to go away, I realized that I was actually enjoying my pity party and hoping by doing nothing all those wonderful six kids of mine would jump up and start helping. It didn't work! However, once I prayed for the DESIRE to be happy and productive again, that prayer was answered. I would say that an occasional day – or week – off from a busy schedule is a good thing, but if you're concerned that it's gone too long, my advice would be to change your prayers. At least, that's what worked for me.

    Reply
  22. I guess I'm in shock at the attitudes expressed here, that it's perfectly fine to do what you want.

    I finally understand why some people think moms at home "don't work."

    It never occurred to me to treat my time at home as my own. Being a mom was MY JOB. I treated it as work. Which I guess made the transition to paid work easier when children got older.

    Of course we all need downtime, but the extend that some are describing seems a bit unbalanced. Do your spouses have the same luxury, of going on a reading binge, etc.? Or are they always expected to get up and go to work.

    Reply
  23. Naismith–therein lies the problem. I can't get fired for spending the day painting my toenails and searching for new cabinet knobs on ebay. Although I'm sure my husband wishes I could.

    Reply
  24. I've always been a serious mover. I can't sit still for more than 5 minutes (ask my husband, it drives him crazy that I can't sit through a movie).

    But I'm lazy in my own ways, sometimes. I'm sure we all are. I get up at 5:30 every morning and go go go almost all day — but I take a nap every day or two, too! I'm not sure I want to stop for too long…some sort of strange neurosis of mine (no doubt from my mother, who can't sit still for five seconds).

    Reply
  25. I can totally relate to this post. I think a lot of it stems from being a type B person. Sometimes I wish I were "A" so I could get more done. But, I'm not. I'm also burned out. My oldest is eleven and my youngest just turned one. I have been doing the same job for over 10 years and have 20 to go! I keep the laundry going but what is the point of picking up? I'm outnumbered and even with the older two (11 and 8) doing plenty of chores I still can't catch up because I'm constantly mothering the two little ones (3 and 1). I'm burned out on being responsible for dinner every night with the same old recipes. What's the point?! Don't get me wrong. I'm not depressed. There's just always too much to do, so I've given up on a lot of it. I wish my house were tidier, but oh well, I ain't losing any sleep over it! I'm only one person and I only have so much energy. I have been doing better about my prayers and scriptures and exercise lately, so that makes me happy. The rest will just have to wait indefinitely!

    Reply
  26. I find that when I get in a funk like this, it's usually because I'm not feeding myself emotionally/mentally. I mean, I'm caring for everyone around me, my house, my husband, my calling, my kids, but I'm not doing anything to feed ME. My life is mentally dry. So usually I need to get away for a while to recharge. Whether it's an overnighter with DH, a weekend with some girlfriends, a day where the kids go to someone else's house, or me going to do an activity on a regular basis that I enjoy (like taking a class). Those really help restore me to my usual vigor. I think these phases of inactivity and not caring are normal. Being a SAHM really sucks the life out of you. So make sure you're doing something to put the life back in you. Little things squished into your otherwise hectic day, like reading a chapter locked in the bathroom, getting online for a few minutes, or eating a bag of peanut M&M's won't do it. Those only make you feel better for a few minutes. You need something bigger, longer, and more fulfilling. Pamper YOURSELF for a few hours/days free of all other responsibility. It's the only way.

    Reply
  27. First of all, I will say upfront that this post makes me feel very jealous and a little bitter, and I'm posting under another name because I'm sure people will flame me for this.

    Do you know how fortunate you are? I really hope you do.

    This post is exactly why people think stay at home mothers have it easy, and the enabling "oh, give yourself a break" comments are driving me insane. Maybe you shouldn't give yourself a break. Maybe you should snap out of it. As you said:

    "Learning to master ourselves is one of the Big Lessons of mortality. The commandments are all about self-denial… All the best things in life (and eternity) seem to come from putting our human wants aside for something greater."

    Exactly.

    "What if you don’t feel like mastering yourself?"

    I think most people don't feel like mastering themselves, most of the time. We all have to decide if we're going to give in to our laziest, most self-defeating impulses and wile our lives away, or if we're going to learn to live in moderation.

    For example, I think blogging is a lot of fun, but I see women who seem almost addicted to it, posting every day, leaving comments all day long and spending literally hours every day on Twitter. There has to be an end to how much complete time wasting we're willing to rationalize away.

    "Pamper YOURSELF for a few hours/days free of all other responsibility."

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's in the bible somewhere.

    Oy.

    Reply
  28. Anon for this–I completely agree with you. My question is how? If I'm not going to get fired, or get in trouble, how do I find my motivation? Not only for doing housework but for exercising, watching what I eat, doing church stuff, or going to the temple?

    I think the issue here is not that I sit around all day (which I don't, as lovely as that sounds), but that it's a lot easier to veg in front of the TV than to read scriptures or have a deep conversation with my husband or kids.

    We can all ask ourselves how to find the motivation to try harder when we just don't feel like it.

    Reply
  29. I'm sorry if I inferred something incorrectly – I thought you said you've spent a lot of time making aprons and painting your toenails and chatting with friends and shopping, so that's where I was coming from.

    I guess if I had lots of free time and nobody to hold me accountable I'd probably waste a lot of time too. But I don't have a choice. My day is devoted to work, and to my kids and to keeping the house from falling into complete disarray. It isn't something you reach deep inside and find a wellspring of motivation for. You just do it, because you have to. (But if there was never a deadline, would I get my work done? I honestly don't know. That has never been my life, for better or worse.)

    Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable. Tell your husband what your goals are, and even if he doesn't say anything about it, maybe you'll feel guilty enough to keep those goal in mind throughout the day.

    Reply
  30. Hmmm. Where to start? First, I can't think of anyone I know personally who is just plain lazy–especially not Jennie (sometimes I beat myself up for being lazy but mostly I'm dog tired).

    If you think about it, a mom is on-call 24/7 and no one can do that for the 20-30 years it takes to raise a family without needing a little downtime. Some of the best moments I've enjoyed with my family were during down time, when I was sitting on the sofa hanging out instead of isolated in the kitchen scrubbing the stove.

    It's all about balance. We are on the earth to have joy and that means doing things we enjoy sometimes, too. Even if that's occasionally at the expense of the next thing on our to-do list. I believe there is a need and a place for both "doing" and "being."

    As for your question, Jennie, about how? I wouldn't do well w/ someone else cracking the whip, but I am big on personal incentives. I tell myself I can make soap once I get the kitchen clean. On Saturdays (those on which I am actually home) after a long work week and when I am ready for a break, I bribe myself with X number of minutes on the computer after each hour spent on whatever chore is screaming at me the loudest. I bought myself some cheap flowers once for doing a fabulous job on the kitchen and dining area.

    But some days I lunch with friends or curl up with a good book for a few hours while the dishes sit in the sink and I don't feel a bit guilty.

    Reply
  31. Speaking of incentives, guilt is the worst one around. If that is your reason to get going, then don't get going. To me the best reason to change is because you see your future differently than your present. If you want that future you have to do something to get there. Most of the time it is that vision that keeps me going.

    As a person now dealing with illness made worse by stress, listen to me when I say to enjoy your down time.

    We each have different lives, we all make choices about what our lives will be. Women cannot feel guilty that their lives are not as hard/easy/rich/poor/etc. as other womens'. It is comparing appples, oranges, mangos and kiwis – there just is no possibility of comparing! Your life is yours, as individual as you are. It is given specifically to you, for your best development.

    Anon for this- I am sorry you feel stuck in a life with no choices and no down time.

    Reply
  32. This is my life. Actually, six months ago I went back to work part time because we need the money. But it was also good because it forced me to get dressed and interact with adults on a daily basis. I'm just not self motivated. And this is nothing to brag about. I am seriously one of the laziest people you'll ever meet. Support group anyone?

    Reply
  33. I assume my reading binge comment is the one that concerned you, but don't worry too much. My children are grown, and I have just retired. (My husband actually encourages me to take a little more time for myself these days, as I have always tended a bit the other way.)

    And I still keep pretty busy. =)

    Reply
  34. My advice is also to "just do it." Make myself do it for a week and usually I see the benefits and can find a better motivation.
    I'm also a big proponent of removing temptation. TV used to be a big temptation and time waster for me, so we got rid of it. There were a few websites that were huge time-suckers for me, so I deleted them from my favorites and deleted my accounts.
    But I have a hard time finding the motivation to go to bed on time, so I'm constantly in a sleep-deprived state which isn't fair to all those around me.
    It's annoying me that some people are assuming you are lazy. I only have 3 kids and they keep me going from the minute I wake up to the minute they go to sleep, and I bet the same is true for you. Maybe you have a half hour when your babies are napping, and instead of cleaning the house, you make some soap. That hardly means you are spending your entire day neglecting your duties.
    But if it bothers you that you are not as productive as you could be, "just do it" for a week and see how things change.

    Reply
  35. Interesting post and replies. A lot to think about. I think the best answer I've read and the one I agree with is to pray for a DESIRE to better. I think there are phases in life when things are, for a lack of a better phrase, simple. These times are a great blessing that is often not fully appreciated until they are over. I think you may have reached a point where the "simple phase" may need to come to a close as the nagging voice in your head was loud enough to blog about. Along with the prayer, I would imagine there is a service component that may be lacking in your life. Don't go nuts on me…but I know that "serving" your children doesn't always feel quite as motivating or rewarding as actually giving selflessly to someone not in my immediate realm of responsibility. It's amazing how THAT can get you moving. I also seem to get FAR MORE accomplished when my schedule is full, especially when it revolves around the right priorities.
    Thanks for talking about food BTW. I can't get chips and salsa out of my mind now…

    Reply
  36. Spring is almost here?

    Yep, I keep waiting for the spring bug to bite me in the butt—so I can get my house going. I too have been in a slump! I can't even get my bathrooms cleaned!

    AAAcccckkkk!

    But, you know what—its not that important in the grand scheme of things—and sometimes I think that we need to stop and "smell the roses" more or read blogs or paint toenails, or paint a picture or do cross stitch… Whatever it is that makes you feel whole.

    Thats what you should do. And don't feel guilty about it.

    Unless someone comes to visit and wants to use your bathroom, then…

    ….AAAACCCCKKKK!

    Reply
  37. "It’s annoying me that some people are assuming you are lazy."

    The title of her post is "My name is Jennie and I'm Lazy." I hardly think anyone was taking an insulting leap there.

    Reply
  38. One of the things I like about Jennie (and Jennie's posts) is that she's willing to say things that not all of us are willing to say, and to use herself as an example. That takes courage, especially when it opens you up to criticism.

    Anon for this, although I can see where you're coming from, it seems to me that the overall gist of Jennie's post gets at a very common problem, and not just among "stay at home moms." (And also, as an aside, Jennie has six kids. That alone is enough to keep ANYBODY busy, even if you're doing what one would deem the "bare minimum." And I know for a fact Jennie does more than the bare minimum in lots of areas.)

    The problem is finding an innate desire to do all the "good things" we're "supposed" to be doing. To deny ourselves the option of slowing down, watching TV, taking a bath, when instead we could be dusting our blinds, toning our abs, reading our scriptures. At some point, even the best of us burn out on the blind dusting, you know? In much the same way as employees burn out. It's the same dynamic.

    Many, many people working outside the home suffer from a lack of motivation as well. While at work they surf the internet; they wander from cubicle to cubicle to find people to talk to; they sit out in their car during their lunch break and listen to the radio. They COULD be increasing company productivity, or reading the latest management book, or showing their desire to "hussle" in all sorts of ways. But they're burned out. They've lost their hussle.

    It's not a sin to lose your hussle, stay at home mom or not. It's simply a fact of life that many of us deal with in certain seasons. And sometimes the things we're hussling over seem awfully silly anyway, if you step back and take a hard look.

    I would also venture to say that some people (and I'm not saying this is you, Anon for this one, since I don't know you and your circumstances) but some people derive a certain righteous pride from going-going-going. Sometimes the act of slowing down actually scares me, because I'm so caught up in justifying myself and wanting to avoid the judgments of others that it's easier to be frantically busy all the time. That way no one would have the audacity to question my good intentions and excellent work ethic.

    Life is about goal setting and attainment, sure. But it's also about enjoying our days before they're gone, too.

    Reply
  39. Anon, while I understand and value your concerns, your approach feels a bit disheartening to me. Must the entire day be devoted to work? Surely an hour or two of leisure time is not unreasonable? For balance, if nothing else.

    My take on the whole motherhood and homemaker thing is this:

    Is your house hygienic?

    Is your family well-nourished?

    Are your children developing well?

    Do your husband and children feel loved?

    Are you living and teaching the gospel?

    Is your home a pleasant place to be?

    Are you happy enough to share that happiness with your family?

    If so, you're doing a good job, however you choose to structure it. Some mothers drive themselves to the point where no one in their family has any fun at all. Fun is not in the program. Others have checked out of their responsibilities in the home to the extent that everyone's life suffers. These are two extremes, neither of which is desirable. Most women fall somewhere in between, and that's okay.

    If your home and family are happy and healthy, you're succeeding. Within reasonable limits, there is not one "right" way of getting there. I think women do too much judging and comparing when it comes to other women. It's the fruit of a woman's labor that counts, and she should be free to express her individual personality and style in choosing the way she gets the job done.

    LIke Dalene says, being a mom is a 24 hour-a-day job. Being able to hang in there at the top of your game, year in and year out, takes some flexibility and a sense of freedom. Since a mother is never free from the responsibility of caring for her children in those years, she at least needs to be free in creating and running her own program!

    And if her husband and family are cool with it, why shouldn't we be?

    Reply
  40. I'm trying to decide how to balance your reasonable assertion that "the commandments are all about self-denial" against Lehi's assertion that "Men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25.) (I love how often when I'm reading this blog I end up heading over to the scriptures on LDS.org to look something up. This site is one time-waster that does tend to refill my bucket.) I think maybe the answer to the contradiction comes when you ask what the self-denial is offered in favor of: the things of a better world, the love of God, giving our all to build up His kingdom. So we don't just give something up for nothing, we give it up because we have a vision of something far beyond our worldly/selfish wishes — and that's very different, I think, than hustling for the sake of hustling, or because we fear there's something wrong inherently with ever sitting still or pursuing non-essential hobbies.

    That makes me think of yet another seeming contradiction in the Gospel: "Be still and know that I am God" (D&C 101:16) vs. 2 Nephi 28:21: "And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." I think the first scripture is saying to have peace and calm assurance in the power of the Atonement, whereas the second is saying that if our calm assurance is placed in worldly things, it will lead us away from Him.

    So I agree with those who say that getting your mojo back will come from wanting something more than what you already have, and wanting it enough to sacrifice for it. I'm not at all a believer in busy-ness for busy-ness's sake, but I do believe in doing what it takes to stay happy and worthy before Heavenly Father, and for some of us that might mean doing more. (For others it might mean doing LESS of some of the things that are less important for salvation, to leave time for contemplation and inspiration and real service, etc.)

    As far as how this applies to daily life for a mom of several kids, I have to say that I'm FAR more in the camp of those who say that this is a phase and to enjoy it than in the (to me very harsh-sounding) naysayers. I guess the way I look at the job of motherhood is that it requires an extreme amount of flexibility, adaptability, and availability, and that those very taxing requirements justify an offsetting balance in what some people see as lying around and eating bonbons — we need to be able to snatch down-time whenever we can get it, (often during daylight hours when others are busy at work) because we never know when we'll get a midnight page and have to go to work putting out fires. I know I'm not by nature lazy: in my single student days I was a morning person, always turned my homework in on time and also worked a part-time job, spent my reading days actually studying for my finals, kept my room astonishingly clean, etc. Now, with 5 kids, I do so much more than I did then, but it feels and looks like so much less since a) so much of what I do is ephemeral and fleeting, b) I'm used to doing it, so I tend to discount my accomplishments and they're somewhat invisible (to me and others,) and c) even though I do so much, it's only a fraction of what I'd like to do and of what it would take to have a spotless-to-my-standards home and as-organized-as-I'd-like schedule. Currently I have a newborn and I'm in the full-time job of nursing her around the clock, and I'm struggling to figure out, through the fog of exhaustion, how to fit back in any of the other things I used to keep up on. It FEELS like I'm "getting nothing done," but in fact I'm keeping a little being alive whose only nourishment comes from me, and it's frankly exhausting, and when (unpredictably) she does sleep and give me a break, sometimes I really do seem to need to use it to relax and unwind, in seemingly unproductive ways. (Or to write really long comments on Segullah.)

    Other than these thoughts, I'm also very fascinated with the whole question of how to motivate ourselves, and I'm very much in favor of approaches that integrate our true hearts' desires and that seem cheerful, joyful, and positive, rather than having a nose-to-the-grindstone, clench-your-teeth-and-bear-it feeling. It's not that I think life shouldn't be hard; I just think that the reason we do the hard things is because we truly believe in (and have had tastes of) how they'll bring us greater joy. SO, if you're really not feeling happy in your current phase and do think you need to be doing more, I guess I'd suggest asking yourself what it is you think is lacking (in an eternal sense,) trying to find where your best desires really are, and, as others have said, praying about it, or re-reading your patriarchal blessing. I think it may be possible that you don't really need to do *more* per se, but perhaps just do the same amount but with a renewed vision of *why* — but that's really too personal a question for me to know the answer for you.

    (By the way, while I truly believe in the value of what I'm doing right now in caring for a newborn, and greatly looked forward to having this baby, I'm also really craving getting into my sewing room and having longer stretches of time for (non life-giving, recreational) creative pursuits. I guess it's really true that the grass is always greener elsewhere.)

    Reply
  41. Dalene, I definitely was in the lazy category before ds came along. It's not a pretty place to be in.

    Jennie, I keep wanting to have a picture of your day and your heart to understand what you really mean about being lazy, but I think your last response to anon clues me in: "If I’m not going to get fired, or get in trouble, how do I find my motivation? Not only for doing housework but for exercising, watching what I eat, doing church stuff, or going to the temple?"

    I think I've been there, and not always with depression as the biggest contributor. I think what has helped me the most has been to pray for a desire to have a desire to do better. I don't really remember what started an energetic burst recently, but it seems that I was praying along those lines, and somehow I felt an increase of love and gratitude for the atonement–a closeness to the Savior that I hadn't felt for a very long time. There is something motivating in that for me.

    It's not been a constant thing. I often still have to make myself stick with the gratitude portions of prayers to get past the vain repetitions, or force myself to keep the scriptures open long enough to feel something, or really THINK about the Savior. Having the little experiences I did was enough to motivate me to keep at it, but I'm still inconsistent with it!

    Anyway, to sum up, I think being honest with the Lord about where I was at, that I didn't really feel motivated, that I knew I probably needed to do better (and I'm not guilt prone, so trying to do/be all is not my issue), and that I needed Him to somehow help me care enough TO do better . . . I think those things have helped me when I'm where what I think you are describing.

    Reply
  42. Such a tension-filled topic. On one extreme is laziness, at the other extreme is busy-ness — either extreme risks robbing us of peace and progress and perspective, imo.

    I agree that it's about balance. And self-honesty. And seeking the Spirit.

    For me, the best motivator for the daily grind is what to me has become the doctrine of the daily grind that I have found meaningful. A speaker changed my life when he talked about how our daily efforts, even the physical to-dos, are spiritual. Not that we have to be bearing testimony of dusting blinds, but I really do think the Spirit can help us find value, even power in (and motivation for) our daily to-dos.

    This quote from Elder Maxwell has meant a lot to me in regard to all of this:

    Chesterton notes our low capacity for being able to deal with monotony and says in a moving passage: “It is possible that God says every morning, `Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes all daisies separately, but has never got tired of making them.” The divine delight in what seems to us to be mere repetition is one clue to the sublime character of God. Since we must, at times, accept what appears to us to be routine, repeated experiences, we too, if we try, can find fresh meaning and fresh joy in the repeated experiences. God’s course is one eternal round but it is not one monotonous round. God is never bored, for one who has perfect love is never bored. There is always so much to notice, so much to do, so many ways to help, so many possibilities to pursue (Neal A. Maxwell, A More Excellent Way, p.84-85).

    I hear in these words that charity can change the repetition of our lives into something divine. And I think that gift of the Spirit can also help us discern when we really can take a break, and when we really are just self-justifying.

    The trick for me is really listening and leaning on the Spirit instead of my own will and whatever. Also, one thing that chronic illness is teaching me is that I cannot live my life according to some external expectation that I think is my 'should.' I have to figure out what God says is my should. Like jendoop said, for each of us, that will look a little different.

    Reply
  43. Great quote! I'd never heard that before. Monotony is definitely a feature of being a SAHM. Although my husband gets pretty sick of the same old-same old at work too. I think a lot of people could find meaning in this.

    Reply
  44. I think Dalene has a great point about the 24/7 thing. People who work 40 hours a week would do their job a lot differently if they were on the clock 168 hours a week.

    I did a lot of different jobs before I became a homemaker and none of them even come close to the challenges I encounter being a mother. It's not usually hard labor (been there, but thats why people think this job is easy), however it is the most emotionally charged and stressful job I've ever done (we're not talking deadlines we're talking eternal consequences).

    I had more me-time and less stress when I was at BYU taking 18 credits, working at the MTC at 5 am, managing the apartments we lived in, and being a research assistant for two professors.

    I allow myself down-days, sometimes weeks, but I search for the motivation to be better. I look for books, blogs, and even on Segullah for that motivation.
    Prayer is an amazing tool as well. I find that when I pray for Heavenly Father to show me the joy in my day, it usually happens. I notice things that help me in the specific ways I stand in need.

    Good luck ladies. I love the comments. 🙂

    Reply
  45. After reading this post I am so happy that I have a career + kids + a clean house (thanks to a maid). No offense but some of you women sound lazy and I would hate to be the breadwinner and come home from a tough day at work to a filthy house and a wife who spent the day scrapbooking and chitchatting and painting fingernails and eating candybars while I tried to earn a paycheck. Honestly you give SAHMS a bad name. If you are a SAHM, it is your job to keep up your house, kids and yourself because let me tell you that your DH is going to work every day with a lot of women who are showered, clean, accomplished and on their best behavior and you must stand in stark contrast to them. Be careful.

    Reply
  46. Hey, I never said anything about scrapbooking!

    P.S. Helooo, have you seen my picture? I'm good-looking AND clean. And I have kick-A apron making skills. And don't forget my fierce toenails.

    I'd love to hear suggestions about getting out of my rut. Criticism is not what Segullah is about.

    Reply
  47. Wow, Anon. Just…wow.

    I am glad that my "DH" was sealed to me in the temple and takes his covenants a lot more seriously than he takes a day when "HIS" house is filthy and "HIS" children are cranky and "HIS" wife has eaten three candy bars. I would hate to be in a marriage where appearance and a daily-met quota of appropriate SAHM activities was fearfully met on threat of affair/abandonment.

    I have more to say, but am feeling the need for moderation in all things, especially red-hot-fire-poker wrath.

    Reply
  48. And Jennie, you just need to master the art of "spin."

    1. You were not just painting your toes, but working on your attractiveness to you spouse.

    2. Phone= strengthening communications between you and family members. Plus, if you talked to anyone in the ward you were totally succoring the weary and strengthening the weak.

    3. Apron making is STRAIGHT out of the pioneer heritage. Way to not hide your candle under a bushel!

    4. Blogging is a commandment given to us in the Ensign.

    5. The fact that you were at Whole Foods means that you were actively engaged in feeding your children. Totally righteous. And healthy!

    It is all about the spin, I tell you… 🙂

    Reply
  49. One of my favorite pictures is the picture of Mary and Martha. Mary is sitting at the Savior's feet feasting on the words of Christ. Martha is up and about working and serving. Which one is better? The scriptures say that Jesus loved both Mary and Martha. It doesn't say He loved Martha more because she was working hard, or Mary more because she was listening to Him. We can choose the better part for our life, not for someone elses life. I think it is walking on shaky ground to start to judge someone as lazy because she is not doing what you think she should be doing.

    My husband goes to work every day. He has always supported our family and never complained. He also comes home to a messy house some days and doesn't complain. He comes home to 5 children and a wife. Somedays we are happy, some…not so much. To my knowledge he has never had to stop what he was doing at work to change a poopy diaper or pants (potty training not so fun), soothe a crying child, break up a fight between siblings, clean up a giant fort made out of every clean blanket in the house, put away the bag of cheese over and over again, I could go on and on. A messy house does not always equal a lazy SAHM. Sometimes it just means that lots of fun happened or lots of disasters happened.

    I am a firm believer that we are just too hard on each other. Instead of encouraging we call each other lazy. My advice is to ask Heavenly Father to give you help with your "mojo". I believe He will help you know what to do each step of the way…or He will give you peace knowing that its okay to take a break and paint your toenails or sit and read a book.

    Oh, and there might be a lot of wonderful looking women in my husbands office, but I am secure in my knowledge that my husband loves me (even if I haven't made it in to the shower or put on makeup). He has made temple covenants that he will not break. When he sits down at night to watch TV or go on the computer while I am doing dishes or putting a chid to bed, I try not to think of him as lazy and I certainly don't think about leaving him for someone who is still working at the office. I love that he takes a break, comes home, plays and talk with our children, reads stories, helps to cook dinner and takes a break (just like SAH moms do during the day.) For better or worse, we are an eternal family and neither of us are looking for the "stark contrast" of our spouse. We are happy and secure in our love for each other and covenants we have made before our Heavenly Father.

    Reply
  50. Shanon– your comment was beautiful, thank you.

    But, I found some of the comments uncharitable and disheartening. Segullah is a place for kindness and encouragement– not criticism. We are trying to lift each other, not beat each other down.

    Jennie is a fresh light-hearted writer who approached the universal topic of burnout through a personal lens(we always try to use personal experiences at Segullah because it's simply more interesting). But responses should be directed to the problem and not the person.

    Please, let's maintain the gentle civility known as Blog Segullah.

    Reply
  51. My name is Sharlee, and I'm lazy too.

    Anyone who knows me would scoff at that statement, but it's true! I really do feel lazy sometimes (maybe even often). I think it's easy to feel lazy when you're a SAHM (even when you're anything but!) because the results of your labors are so often invisible and so quickly undone. Several years ago when all my kids were small and I had a newborn, I made a list of everything I did during the hour it took my husband to mow and edge the lawn one Saturday morning. There were over 30 things on that list (nursed baby, changed diaper, cut up and peeled an apple for Patrick, changed another diaper, got Dylan a drink of milk, started to load dishes into dishwasher, cleaned up Dylan's spilled milk, threw in a load of laundry. . . . You get the picture). I didn't stop for a second. But at the end of that hour, I had absolutely nothing to show for it while my husband had a whole wide green expanse of well-groomed lawn.

    Jennie, knowing you, I'm sure you're accomplishing a lot more than you think you are. Write everything down that you do in a day, and you may just amaze yourself!

    Reply
  52. I have to get out an initial snark: I found it interesting that some of the flame-y commenters who patted themselves on their backs for their paid work industry made their comments in the middle of their professed "work days". What's that adage about rocks and glass houses?

    Personally, I know I don't work well and my children don't work well when our lives are jam-packed with activities and appointments. When I look at my calendar dense with places I have to be and commitments I must fulfill, I get more than just a little ill (this may be at least partly because of the stress-induced migraines that tend to accompany too many of the dense days). But I have friends who thrive on the on-the-go lifestyle. "To each his own" is a powerful thought that really needs to be listened to better by all of us.

    I know that my life and my motivation goes in ebbs and flows. Many of the comments here seem to echo the same sentiment. I also know that I work best when I get beyond the "have-to" motivators and the toxic guilt motivators and find something of value to move me. For example: There are many days when I don't like to run, but I enjoy the hour I spend in the gray light of morning with my friend where we run as we talk. I don't want to miss that time and I don't want to flake on a friend, so I get up even when I'm tired. And I scheduled the runs specifically that way because I know my life functions more smoothly when I run regularly. When I can see where I want to be and how doing an unpleasant or unmotivating task will get me to where or who I want to be, I am best able to light the proverbial fire under my behind.

    As mentioned by many here, there is so much of tedium and sisypheian never-doneness to the tasks of making and keeping a home. It is exhausting to be always on duty. It is so very tempting to groan at the piles of laundry and dishes, because even if we get them ALL clean today, tomorrow they will all be dirty again. I love the Maxwell quote m&m copied here. And I have tested the principles with great success in my life and family. When I focus on the love I want to show and the peace I want to create with the home that I make and the nurture that I provide, the jobs aren't as discouraging. But it's not an easy thing to maintain. For that reason I loved one of the earlier commenters advice to pray for the desire.

    It is natural to feel beleaguered and resentful when you are tired and overworked and you perceive that someone else is not carrying what you deem their fair share or is getting a vacation. I think that's when we can so easily resort to one-up-manship and begin catcalls of "lazy". When I see that begin in myself, I have to ask myself what changes I need to make–is it all really necessary? What have-tos can be eliminated; where is my motivation suspect? If I'm tempted to say snarky things, where is my thinkin' stinkin'?

    And as for being natural, I love the words I heard at a BYU Women's Conference once (and I can't remember which speaker). She reminded us of the song "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" and then commented that if someone makes us feel like a natural woman, encourages us to indulge our natural (base) natures, we should run far far away. The trick for me is how to run away when I am the person who's making me feel like a natural woman!

    Reply
  53. I lost with my mojo with child #5, 9 years ago, the only thing I've found that may work is to simply lower your standards, then your amazing!

    Reply
  54. "How do you get started again when you’re just plain
    burned out?"

    Hi Jennie,

    1) I think you start by giving yourself credit for all the energy you expended in the process of "burning out." I have 5 kids so anyone with more is automatically a hero for me. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be lazy when that many people are constantly demanding your help. Your efforts may be invisible, but they are nevertheless unending.

    2) Fertile fields lie fallow periodically to renew.

    3) My burnout periods at home and (formerly) in professional work occurred when it seemed that my earnest hard efforts went unnoticed or unappreciated for long periods of time. (Example: You summon up the energy to try an exotic new recipe and the kids complain that it's not Ramen noodles. When this happens daily for weeks, why cook?)

    I think a solution to this is to match your next big effort to something that you know will be truly appreciated by someone in the family. (Maybe that was aprons and scrunchies…) Then the hard work will be enjoyable and you might pick up momentum.

    I often call my husband at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon and ask him to RANK for the day how important the following items are to him (just for that day):

    **clean, pretty wife
    **happy kids
    **clean house
    **dinner ready
    **some other task

    His rankings change daily according to his fluxuating needs for food, romance, peace and quiet, etc. Sometimes I can only achieve the top 1 or 2 items. Sometimes I'm lucky to get all five on a supermom day. But either way, I have more confidence that my efforts will be appreciated by him and relevant to our team efforts for happiness. Then I can slide on the lower priorites for that day.

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  55. Editorial Note:

    The editors removed some comments from this discussion for violating the Segullah Comment Policy: no personal attacks.

    We respect differing opinions and healthy disagreements, but have zero tolerance for personal attacks. If you would like to personally attack people, may I refer you to the rest of the Internet?

    Now, let’s resume our discussion.

    Reply
  56. This is great. And it works even better if the timer is short–say 5 mintues. Because chances are, you'll end up doing 7 or 8, and then, hey–that's extra credit, right?

    Reply
  57. Holy Cow, homeschooling too? How can that be "lazy"? As they say in Princess Bride, "I do not think word means what you think it means."

    Reply
  58. I absolutely agree that mothering/housekeeping is my job. and worthy of the same professionalism I expect from my husband. That said, my kids are up from 6 am until 7 pm (or more). I work like crazy for most of that time, but I try to count a 10-11 hour work day sufficient, and then breathe in the remaining hour or two, just like my husband does if he reads the paper or plays ball with the guys. None of us would begrudge a day care worker a decent lunch break or a day off once a month or more. Why shouldn't we be as gentle with ourselves?

    Reply
  59. I bet he doesn't. I bet he's grateful his wife looks great. And toenails don't really take all that long–5 minutes does a decent job most days–they last a lot longer than fingernails, too.

    Reply
  60. Angela, I really appreciated your reminder of the corporate fluctuations in "mojo". Though generally very driven, I have occasionally experienced the "lost hussle feeling" in professional and academic settings after very stressful periods. Remembering those helps me put fluctuating mothering energy in better perspective.

    I also love your reference to dusting blinds. Isn't there truly an UNENDING list of tasks to interfere with legitimate rest? (Seventh habit: sharpen the saw…maybe we need to oil it some too.)

    Reply
  61. Jennie- I can totally relate-this week I said the same thing to a friend- I have lost my mojo-help! I tend to go through extreme bursts of creativity, productivity, when I accomplish things that seem crazy impossible and life feels like a delicious five course meal, serving up endless delectable tastes and then times like now where I feel like a bad tv dinner, I just can't serve it up. I have learned sometimes I do burn the candle at both ends too much. My big culprits are lack of sleep and stress- and those are my mojo killers- Rob me of 1/2 a nights sleep and I am a totally different animal (and we won't even talk about pregnancy- that is my kryptonite- when i am pregnant I do like 3 paintings in 9 months- in the 3 months after my 3rd was born when I should have been dead tired I 14 big paintings)I have also learned to be patient I think sometimes those lulls are what get you hungry and ready for the explosions of production and creativity- so I try not waste my energy paddling futily with no waves, but be patients and get ready for the next big one,

    Reply
  62. Thank you for putting mom's happiness right up there with hygenic home. Doesn't the saying go–

    "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

    Reply
  63. Wow Zina! You wrote two entire paragraphs that describe my life WORD FOR WORD (5th newborn, school and all). What an incredibly validating comment. Thank you SO MUCH!

    [All the way from "we need to be able to snatch down-time whenever we can get it," to "comments on Segullah" and your final paragraph too.] My favorite phrase of all: "I’m keeping a little being alive whose only nourishment comes from me."

    Reply
  64. Just one more thought: a quote from chapter 8 of the Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

    [Screwtape is a demon advising his nephew demon named Wormwood on how to tempt Wormwood's "patient." Thus, everything written is said from the perspective of the demon and God is therefore referred to as "the enemy."]
    ————
    MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

    So you “have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away”, have you? ….Has no one ever told you about the law of Undulation?

    Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal….As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation—the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life—his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dulness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it…"

    —————

    CONCLUSION: Lack of "mojo" (great word!) is going to be inevitable sometimes. In no way a victory of the devil unless we let it degenerate….

    Reply
  65. i am a lover of your paintings. i'd seen them all on your website studio, but the IRL one was even more amazing. can't wait till it's hanging in a room 3 blocks from my house this summer! 🙂

    and pregnancy is definitely kryptonite for some of us. by the end of my 2nd one, i'd been reduced to a mere mortal…if that.

    this has been an interesting thread for me. so many great thoughts and ideas. thanks jennie for your fabbo post!

    Reply
  66. I thought I was going through a lazy patch. Well, I am, for me. Last night we had a R.S. Presidency meeting to discuss our next enrichment activity which is all about spring cleaning. The 3 of us discusssed what we each did each day, each week, each month etc. I have cut back a lot since having children on my daily routine, and yet I am still doing way more than the others. They must laughed at how much cleaning I do, even when I am in a lazy patch like now and doing the bare minimum for me.

    It just shows that we all see things differently. What is lazy for one is way too much for someone else. We need to be comfortable with our own lives, not other peoples. They asked, that now I know that others do not hoover, dust, sweep floors etc as often as I do would I do less? The answer is no, I do what is right for me.

    Being a SAHM means I do things differently in my day to day life to those that work. I feel entitled to take a break every now and then. My husband has an official lunch hour and breaks, officially gets holiday time, works set hours and gets paid overtime. I break when convenient. Still do my work even when he and the kids are all off. I work odd hours depending on the day. Paid overtime? What could I be paid in? By the time my husband has got downstairs in the morning I am showered, dressed, made up etc, I have made up the packed lunches, set the table for breakfast, put on the first lot of washing, hoovered the house, and got the children all downstairs ready for family prayer and scripture time. Different roles, different work, different hours, different priorities. My husband may not be lazy 9 to 5 but he has a break at other times. I can take my break when it suits.

    Life is for enjoying in all it's different stages.

    Reply
  67. I can't tell anyone how to get their mojo back…. mine feels like it's completely crashed. I definitely appreciate all of the comments here. You've given me some things to process as well as some good practical suggestions. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  68. Jennie, and Sharlee, if y'all are lazy, than I'm a serious waterbuffalo. Burn out, I can imagine. Laziness? Shah. I echo whoever said, "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

    A timer works for me, rewards, incentives, everything that's been said here. But I still don't think laziness is a term meant for either one of you.

    And yes, Jennie is hot. So is Sharlee. Their husbands would be idiots to look elsewhere. And if laziness could lead to hotness, than maybe I should sit on butt a little longer. Hmm…

    Reply
  69. I like the words of this hymn (#224). Some days I confess, I wish that sun would just go down already 🙂 ♥

    I have work enough to do, Ere the sun goes down.
    For myself and kindred too, Ere the sun goes down.
    Every idle whisper stilling, With a purpose firm and willing,
    All my daily tasks fulfilling, Ere the sun goes down.

    I must speak the loving word, Ere the sun goes down.
    I must let my voice be heard, Ere the sun goes down.
    Every cry of pity heeding, For the injured interceding,
    To the light the lost ones leading, Ere the sun goes down.

    As I journey on my way, Ere the sun goes down.
    Gods commands I must obey, Ere the sun goes down.
    There are sins that need confessing; There are wrongs that need redressing
    If I would obtain the blessing, Ere the sun goes down.

    Reply
  70. This discussion reminded me of something I read in the Church News recently from Sister Beck:

    "Sister Beck said she learned how to prioritize her time as a wife and mother while observing her father-in-law, a steel worker who at various times in his career worked the day, evening or night shift. She said she realized she was working all three shifts simultaneously, and she had to prioritize the demands on her so she could provide the service her family most needed.

    "The most valuable time of the day for a family, Sister Beck said, is the afternoon/evening shift.

    "'Be at the top of your game on swing shift,' she said. 'People are hungry, people are teachable. You feed them; that's when you serve them the most. Plan for swing shift, and then work the rest of your day around that.'"

    If you follow Sister Beck's counsel to be at the top of your game for the swing shift it means you rest up in the middle of the day – when the rest of the world is working their hardest. This does give SAHM's a bad name. But this is where we must be strong in our commitment to be "mothers who know". If we are strong in our commitment to what is right for ourselves and our family we will disregard the negative voices of the world, crying that because we are SAHMs we should work around the clock to earn our keep.

    Church News article here: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/56597/Be-at-the-top-of-your-game-Sister-Beck-urges.html

    Reply
  71. That's fantastic! I love it. It's so true about the swing shift. If I've been going hard all day I'm pooped by the time the kids walk in the door. But it is the most critical time. I'd better step up my PM game.

    Thanks!!!

    Reply
  72. A friend had Sister Beck visit her stake recently and Sister Beck shared this same "swing shift" idea there, and my friend blogged about it, but with the caveat that it wasn't official — so I didn't mention it in my comment here, but had it in mind. 🙂 I've found it to be a very useful observation, and it has really helped me feel a little better about the down time I take during the day, and also made me notice how from about 3 PM onward I'm typically on duty constantly until the kids are all in bed (and sometimes far beyond, especially now in caring for a newborn, or whenever I have sick kids.)

    Also, Jennie, in response to your very most recent comment, and since I've continued to think about what might motivate *me,* I think it's a good idea to focus on one specific, well-defined area at a time, so that it's not just "I will be less lazy" but, rather something like (in this example) "I'll be more available to my family in the late afternoon through evening hours." (And then it can be broken down even more specifically from there.)

    Also, although the more mean-spirited comments have now (thankfully) been deleted, I've continued to think about what it means as a criticism for someone to tell another that she "helps give SAHMs a bad name" — as though it were any of our responsibility to uphold some idealized standard for what SAHMs ought to do, on behalf of the world at large, instead of listening individually to the Spirit for what we as individuals need to be doing, or as though some stranger's opinion is going to be improved or worsened based on our personal confessions on some fairly-obscure blog. I think it much more likely that most people have already made up their minds and anything we say will either reinforce that or, possibly, mitigate it a little. I guess really that criticism is just an indirect and externalized way of saying "*I* disapprove of what you seem to be doing and it doesn't match *my* criteria for what a SAHM ought to do." And I hope I don't usually assume that I have nearly the amount of information to make that kind of judgment about someone I've only met on a blog (or even in real life.)

    Reply
  73. It took an anti-depressant to get my mojo back. So now either I'm doing the things I feel I should do, or I no longer care that I'm not getting them done. And exercise–so not on the list. As long as the house doesn't smell, I'm calling it good. Personally, I feel like I've accomplished something if I get dressed before noon.

    Reply
  74. As I've read through the comments and initial post, I have a couple of thoughts: 1. sometimes there are external reasons behind a lack of willpower or desire to work. For me those external reasons have been soul-sucking depression and at other times serious chronic illness which saps the life out of me. Other times I'm simply allowing myself to wallow in laziness.

    I do know the feeling of a reasonably tidy home with a decent supper on the table makes a world of difference for me.

    Oh and one last thought, if you are struggling because of health issues or depression, it does no good to beat yourself up because of what you aren't accomplishing. There are times when your body needs time to heal and frantically vacuuming or mopping is really counterproductive to that healing period.

    Reply
  75. Sorry, one more comment. One thing that lights the motivational fires for me is listening to books on tape or CD. Many libraries have outstanding audio book collections. Nothing motivates me to clean than having a great story to listen to.

    Reply
  76. Okay, one more comment to my previous comment. I have been very, very ill for the last 6 weeks. Keeping my home clean has been a major struggle for me. We had to have a realtor come and assess our home. I wanted to get the place clean and so I listened to a wonderful story. Even though I felt terrible, the story kept me motivated to clean and keep at it until I was done.

    Reply
  77. This reminds me of Newton's First Law of Physics: an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an external force. Maybe the Holy Ghost can be my external force.

    Reply
  78. I'm trying to get my mojo back–it feels like I've been in a fog for months, though I'm not actually depressed. I was asked to serve in a position that would normally make me extremely happy, and then realized that in our congregation, my usefulness and ability in the calling are limited to the point of being quite useless. And that just seems to have triggered a long slide of BLAH for me.

    It would almost be easier if I had a Really Good Reason to be mad, or sad, or something other than foggy. Here's what I've come down to: this particular season of my life is going to be focused on getting my own house (spiritually) in order. Serving in other capacities is going to be on a very limited, non-permanent sort of basis. Sure, I'll sing for X or Y, and yes, I can fill in for someone in Sunday School… but right now I'm not a permanent person. I'm trying to be okay with that, and it's still a struggle.

    I think I'm at a plateau… needing to deepen my conversion, if that makes sense? In that aspect, getting myself deeper into my own scriptures, and focusing on those basic of Sunday School answers, may well be the kick in the pants I need personally. Goodness knows, I've got a zillion things to be grateful for, and my current fog sure isn't showing that gratitude very well.

    Jennie, you may feel like you're being "lazy"–but me being able to read you post, know that there are other women going through a similar season–well, it's helping. I don't know what's next, but I do know that I'm going to take the Conference Challenge, and see what Conference has for me this season.

    I have a sinking feeling I'm going to hear correction for all my favorite minor sinfulness… dang. 🙂

    Reply
  79. I didn't read all 97 comments, so maybe I'm repeating myself, but: the end of March is the worst possible time of the year to do anything. I'm not sure what it is, something about being certain winter's over and it not being over? The anticipation of real spring? I say settle in to hibernate (insomuch as a mom can) until April comes. Seriously. (I was feeling exactly this way all last week, but am recovering miraculously. Weird.)

    Reply
  80. I know this is an old post, but I'm not really known for my punctuality. So, all I have to say is…AMEN. I'm tired. I don't want to have to do anything either. Since January I have had a son return from a mission and then got him accepted to and sent off to college. I had my oldest daughter get married to a great young man, so I had the whole wedding thing to orchestrate. Two weeks ago my eight year old was baptized and we threw another party then with his cousin that came into town so they could be baptized together. Then there is the day-to-day with five kids still at home, two of whom are teen-age daughters that have concerts, sporting events and pageants that they are involved in that I support them in. And the three boys ages 8, 10 and 13 that I am in my fourth year homeschooling. Oh yeah, plus
    all the normal cleaning, cooking, laundry. And the wifery. And the extended family obligations. And the church callings. So, I am totally with you. And I have been here before. Fortunately it isn't permanent. We'll get our mojo back. Hopefully. Soon.

    Reply

Leave a Comment