The One On: When Sundays Feel Hard in a Mixed-Faith Marriage.

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Sundays growing up in my home didn’t look like other members homes.  I use to picture my Church friends in their homes with the Mom making homemade rolls and the smell of pot roast circulating around the kitchen.  I pictured families gathering with cousins and grandparents while having a big feast.  Families coming home from Church together and talking about what they learned in their classes.

I have no idea if that was ever really going on in others homes or where those ideas came from.  I’m sure this was the experience for some members, but I’m also sure it wasn’t always smiles and laughing.

Sunday was my Dad’s only day off from work, so we would spend the day with him after my Mom and I would get home from Church.  My Italian father would usually spend his mornings in the garden while we were gone, then hours in the kitchen making us pasta.  We would sit down to a big feast and he would have my sister and I spell words to earn money.  Sometimes we went out to dinner to my Dad’s favorite Mexican restaurant or we would go to the movies.

I didn’t really have a strong sense of what the Sabbath should look like growing up, I just knew we were together as a family for only one day during the entire week.

Many of my clients tell me that Sundays are the most stressful day of the week for them.  Sometimes it is a battle with their children going to Church or trying to contain them alone during Sacrament Meeting.  They tell me about the loneliness and pain they sometimes feel seeing couples and families sitting together.

I know that sadness, pain, and frustration is real for many on Sunday.

I remember getting to a point where I finally accepted that my father was not interested in ever learning about the Church.  Religion was a topic we did not discuss at home.  There were too many strong feelings about it.

Once I finally accepted that I was never going to have the homemade rolls and pot roast Sabbath days, the father who sat with me during Sacrament, and family prayer… then I was able to start practicing gratitude for what I did have.

I started to be grateful for a Dad who cooked for his family.  A Dad who made me laugh and knew everything.  I was grateful for a Mom who still took me to Church every Sunday.  Grateful that I could still take the sacrament and have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I didn’t need a Priesthood holder in my home to have that relationship.  I was extremely grateful for the Spirit I was able to still feel when at Church…. the list started getting longer and longer.

But when I was hurting for things to look different, then I couldn’t see the good that I did have.  I only felt resentment and pain.

If Sundays feel hard for you because you wish that maybe it would look different than it does, then it might be time to come up with a new vision for your family.  One that you can still feel good about, and one that also feels good for your whole family.

What could your Sabbath day look like when you have love for yourself ?

What could your Sabbath Day look like if you are feeling love for your Savior?

What could your Sabbath Day look like if you felt love for your husband?  For your family?

Maybe it won’t look like homemade rolls and pot roast, but it could be some amazing spaghetti.  I know those were some hard choices my Mom had to make, but I am so grateful for her for choosing my Dad and our family on Sunday.  Those are some of the best memories that I have of our family.

If you are ready to feel more joy on the Sabbath, then begin seeing your situation for where it is right now and create something that works for your personal family.  It may not look like everyone else and you may worry about what is “right or wrong” to do.  I do know that Heavenly Father loves families and wants us to feel love on that day, not anger or frustration.

I would begin by having each spouse make a list of things they would like to do on Sunday and why.  Start with trying one thing from each list and begin some new traditions.  Begin to get past the resistance and pain, and slowly start to allow gratitude to replace it.  There is no joy without gratitude.  There is always something to feel grateful for, even if it is small.

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness- it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.  -Brene Brown

One thing that we like to do with our kids is sit around the dinner table and say one thing we are grateful for about the day.  Sometimes it surprises me the little things that my children are happy about.  Sometimes their answers are gospel related and sometimes they aren’t.

Practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.  –Brene Brown

Choose love on your Sabbath Day, whatever that may look like.

I know opening up these conversations about what the other person is feeling and would like to do can feel scary.  If you need help knowing where to start, but want to start feeling more peace on Sundays, then sign-up for a free call to learn more. 

 

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The One On: How To Be A Better Parent.

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My oldest daughter when she was only 4.

I have this recurring dream that I am really upset with my oldest child.  In the dream she is never listening to me.  I start to freak out and scream in my dream, sometimes I am even abusive towards her.  I always wake up in a sweat and need a few seconds to realize that it was only a dream.

I have concluded that this recurring dream of my daughter not listening to me and me loosing my mind, is just my fear of losing control as a parent.  The worst part about that dream is watching how I act and things I say to her.  I don’t even recognize myself.

We aren’t always ourselves when we are afraid.  We attempt to control others or things outside of us to help diminish the fear, but control is really just an illusion.

Heavenly Father doesn’t use control.  He knows each of us are on our own path, and this includes our children.  As a parent, we are a guide for our children.  A guide is a person who advises or shows the way to others.  A guide does not pull, drag, or manipulate others.  Those are all forms of control.

So how do we guide our children instead of trying to control them?

It begins by working through our own fears.  If we are afraid of the decisions our children are making or will make- then we will be acting from fear- which will cause us to go into control mode.  This doesn’t mean that we just let our kids do whatever they want, because a guide is still leading others along and showing them the way.  It does mean that you have to work through some of these fears and remind yourself who is really in charge, our Heavenly Father.

When I started to understand that my children are really on their own path and that it might look different than what I would do or what I expect it to look, then I could release some of my fears.  They are going to have things placed on their path that they need to overcome themselves, but I can help show them the way.  Not take the obstacles away, but lead by example and share any knowledge I may have for them.  I can explain long-term consequences that they might not see in this moment.  I can have them look at it from different angles.  I can explain to them why I am choosing to set my own consequence if they choose not to follow my guidance.  Not as an ultimatum or a way to control them, but to set up boundaries to keep them safe.  They still have the agency to go against them and suffer the consequences.

I decided one day that no matter what happened to my children, I was going to be okay.  I am going to do my best as their Mother and do my part, but the rest I have to trust in the Lord and His bigger plan for our lives.  It is hard as parents to watch our kids suffer or go through hard things, but it is sometimes a part of their path.  There will always be something they can learn from it, if they choose to.  The more we try to force our own will onto our children, the less they will most likely learn from it or follow it.  We are all designed to learn from our own experiences- that is what brings lasting change.

We as parents need to begin to fear less and trust more.

Trust that your children are here to learn and experience things for themselves.  Trust them more and they will come back to their guide.  They will trust what you are advising and how you are living your own life.

Trust in Heavenly Father’s agency.  He is very respectful of our agency and we need to do the same for others.

Trust yourself.  Trust that you will be guided by the Holy Ghost as you guide your children.  Trust in the Lord to help you and comfort you- especially when your child isn’t being or doing what you think they should be doing.

Build trust in your relationship with your child, not fear.  People always come back to those they trust.

Our children need a guide who will guide them back to their Heavenly Parents.  A guide who loves them unconditionally, no matter how bumpy their path may look at the moment.  A guide who is so secure in their own path, they don’t force their children’s behaviors to be a reflection of them as a parent.

As you start to work through your fears, you will realize that what your child has always been saying to you is: Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.

If you need help learning how to be a guide for your children, I would love to help.  This can be especially helpful when there are two different beliefs in the home and your child is watching their parents on two different paths.  Click here to set up a free call with me to learn more.