Month: May 2020

Agency and other things that make me angry

Today I walked past my living room and saw this scene.

IMG_3548 copy

I feel like it is a metaphor for parenting. See that orange towel on the left? I found an old towel, cut it in half, and sewed it together to create a mat where the cat can rest and not shed on the furniture. I laid it out on the chair where she usually sleeps. So what happens? She chooses the other chair, and it makes me crazy. I can pick her up and put her on the towel, but when I walk away she’ll move back.

This whole quarantine, I have tried to do the work to create some productive and meaningful options for my kids. I made charts and lists of ideas. I’ve tried to build in purposeful pursuits and avoid mindless activities that just waste time. I’ve invited and adjusted and renegotiated and tried again. But I have three teenagers, and my kids are like my cat: No thanks, I’ll just do what I want instead. Even though it is dumb. Even though there’s a perfectly good option sitting right there on the chair. It is maddening, not only because it feels like constant rejection and disappointment, but because it happens to be pretty much the only kind of human interaction I’ve experienced for almost 70 days. Add on top of that the energy it takes to just stay safe and healthy and navigate all the varying opinions and politics and ambiguous information, and it has felt a little bit relentless.

I don’t have a cute lesson to tie this up with a bow. I’m just saying that for me, parenting in lockdown is hard and frustrating. I feel powerless to bring about the kinds of results that are in line with my own priorities and values. Maybe it’s only me. I’ve seen a lot of posts about people and families doing amazing things while they’re in lockdown–being resourceful and united and determined. It’s the first time I’ve experienced the feeling less that is supposedly one of the big dangers of social media. Because, metaphorically, I can’t get the stupid cat to sleep on the orange towel I made. It makes me wonder how frustrating it is for Heavenly Father when He presents us with so many opportunities for growth and service and learning, and we say, “No thanks, I’m good,” and we choose stuff that really is not as good for us. And yet, He is patient. He keeps extending invitations and forgives us our mistakes. I’m not there yet. Not even close. I imagine He’s more worried about my anger than He is about how much time my kids are on Playstation. So I’m working on it, but it’s a struggle. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. #leastinspirationalpostever

General Conference Book Club

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 8.25.03 PM

Back when I blogged at Diapers and Divinity, I used to do a regular feature called General Conference Book Club, but it’s been years. Recently, I was trying to figure out how I could do some good during this period of quarantine/”stay-at-home,” and I thought maybe I could resurrect it. The “book club” is an opportunity to review the most recent general conference talks, be uplifted by their messages, and experience a sense of community as we share our thoughts with each other.

Here’s how it works: Each Wednesday I post a video on my Facebook Author page announcing the talk for the upcoming week. I share some information about the speaker, the topic, some doctrinal points, or some suggested study methods to get the most out of the talk. You can then read or watch or listen to that talk on your own schedule throughout the week and then return to the video post to share your thoughts in the comments. I think we can learn a lot from each other’s insights and ideas for application.

You can find all the general conference book club videos/posts here. (<– Just click that link.) Please join us. Jump in at any time!

You can also watch the videos on Instagram @stephaniedibbsorensen, but I’ve noticed there’s not quite as much discussion there.