Tag Archives: motherhood

A Christ Centered Home

My family is now a family of 4. Don’t ask me how we got to this point, I have no idea. I feel like I should still be in college with my roommates eating pizza and cookie dough while watching chick flicks. But here I am, finally realizing I’m a real adult (think it took me long enough?). I’ve been reflecting on the influence I have on my family and especially my children and I’ve realized that the influence I have on them could either make or break their happiness in life. No pressure. I’ve had a few negative experiences lately (in places where I was expecting positive experiences) that have made me take a step back and recognize that really my home is the only place where I can guarantee that there will be a loving and Christ centered atmosphere. But the only way to guarantee this is if my husband and I make it that way. It’s harder than it sometimes seems. Now that life is much more hectic and jumbled with a very young baby  and a 3 year old I’m finding it’s harder and harder to stay focused on Christ and to have that loving environment.

Though my husband and I have always tried to be doing what is right we are realizing we need to be more dedicated and more diligent. The past 4 days we have made sure that we have read scriptures together as a family (usually only a few verses, we do have a 3 year old) and talked about what the scripture meant and how we can apply it to us. We have had a family prayer before my husband is out the door for work and we had a short but meaningful Family Home Evening (this one is tricky for us because my husband works late so we are going to be experimenting to find out how we can better fit it in).  I kid you not, the past 4 days have been so much better than the month before. My son has had fewer tantrums, I have been more patient, I’ve felt less scattered and all over the place. There has been a real difference in how our home feels. Though it’s hard to always fit things in with crazy schedules and crazy children I’ve learned I can’t afford not to. I owe it to my children to have Christ as the center of our home so that they can feel love here and feel safe here and know that no matter what lies outside of our front door they will always be able to feel the spirit in our home.

A Partner With God

I am now counting down the weeks before our little girl is born. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be best prepared both practically speaking and emotionally. I have been working hard to make sure we have everything ready: meals in the freezer, diapers and clothes ready, babysitters for my son arranged, etc. There is a lot to do to get ready for a baby but what I learned from my son is that the most important preparation is emotional and spiritual.

I am a bit of a control freak. I really hate giving up control, especially if it’s because I feel like I can’t do it all on my own. Giving up control to benefit someone else is not too hard for me but being forced to give up control is extremely hard for me. I am a really independent person and I feel that I have no business getting myself into things that I can’t do on my own. I’ve always known this about myself and it’s never really been much of a problem. It’s caused a few stressed out days/weeks but nothing too much beyond that. And then came motherhood.

After I had my son I literally did not sleep for 72 hours. I was so overwhelmed with not only the responsibility of motherhood but the responsibility of having a newborn. If you’ve experienced what it is like to be a first time parent you know that newborns are so fragile, anything could go wrong. And, as a control freak I had to be the one to make sure nothing happened, it was all on me. With each passing day of no the sleep the crazier I got. It literally became too much for me. I couldn’t do it on my own. I couldn’t watch him constantly. This was very hard for me to accept and I didn’t know what to do. My husband gave me a priesthood blessing to help calm my mind and spirit. In the blessing I was reminded that motherhood is not meant to be a solo job. It’s not even meant to be only a partnership between mother and father. Parenthood is meant to be a partnership with God.

After I really internalized that God was in charge and in control I was finally able to sleep and relax. I have to try my best to do my best but more importantly I have to have faith that God will give me strength and that he has a plan for my family. Without God I can’t do it and it is supposed to be that way. Just like my newborn is dependent on me, I am dependant on my Father in Heaven. And just like I love my children with all my heart and will always do what I can to help them, my Father in Heaven loves me and will always help me.

This time around I can feel myself getting nervous about having to give up so much control again but I know I can do it and I know that God will be there for me. I know that He loves me. These are the ways I am trying to prepare for the arrival of our little girl. This is the most important preparation I can do, to prepare to be a partner with God.

Regaining Patience and Sanity

Last week I road tripped to my brother’s house, 2-year-old in tow, to watch his 3 kids for him while he and his wife took a little weekend away. Hurricane Irene brought a few (more like a lot) of stresses to their home and so I offered to give them a break. I saw this as a great opportunity for my son to spend some time with his cousins as well as give me some practice with multiple children. I realized I need a lot more practice. I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly patient person but I’m not the most impatient person I know either. Last week I was the most impatient person I know. I really started to wonder if I would be able to handle multiple kids (a little late now!). I mean, what are you supposed to do when someone has a stinky diaper that is emitting toxic fumes, a 2-year-old is scaling the kitchen cabinets in search of marshmallows and the other 2 kids are wrestling to the death? All at the same time!  Fortunately for me though, Saturday night brought some much needed perspective.

Saturday there was a meeting held worldwide for the Relief Society, the women’s organization or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I watched this meeting via live stream on lds.org. There was one segment of one of the talks that really stuck out to me. The person who shared this message is an apostle of the Lord, just like the apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament times. I also have great respect for this man, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, because of his life story. As I’ve mentioned before, some people think that all Mormons are totally naive and closed off to the world. Not this man. He grew up in Soviet controlled East Germany. His family eventually had to flee to West Germany because it became too dangerous for them in East Germany due to his father’s differing political views from the Soviets. When this man talks about surviving hard times, keeping perspective, or hope I listen extra hard. He has experienced the worst of what the world has to offer. This particular message is about patience.

Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.

In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences.

As a mother I feel like most of my successes go unnoticed or are considered tiny. I would imagine that people in other circumstances feel the same way also. After listening to this message I realized that the person I was most frustrated with was myself, it wasn’t the kids. I should have been able to go in there and be the super fun aunt/mom that everyone wanted to obey and knew how to take care of 4 kids with ease. When I realized I was losing control of the situation quickly and I had no idea what I was doing, I lost all patience with myself. But, when my sister-in-law came home she proclaimed with joy, “The house is still here and the kids are alive! Thank you!” That is a success I will take. I survived elementary school pick-up for the first time; a success I will take (and trust me, this is a big one). We didn’t go to the ER, not even once; a success I will take. All the children went to bed every night; a success  I will take.

I am grateful for apostles of the Lord that share inspired messages of hope. I know these men and the other leaders of The Church are called of God. I never feel so empowered and so filled with hope than when I listen to their words. There will be more messages shared by these men and women this Saturday and Sunday. If  you are interested in listening, you can do so here. I know their words will help you no matter your situation or circumstance. I know I’ll be listening.

Finding the Upside

The past couple of weeks have been very difficult ones for me. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve fallen into a little (or a lot) of self pity. I don’t think I’ve mentioned on here yet but I am pregnant with a little girl due in Dec. (which by the way is not the reason for the self- pity). My husband and I are very excited. This pregnancy has been significantly easier than my first, but that says more about the difficulty of my first pregnancy rather than the ease of this one. I’ve still been quite sick but have been able to manage pretty well. However, I’ve found that when I travel (which has been a lot lately) it is really hard on me and takes days to recover. During this last trip home from Utah I caught a really bad cough that I have now had for 2 weeks and am just barely starting to get over it. Because of the pregnancy, I can’t take anything for the cough or the junk in my lungs so I pretty much just get to enjoy the misery in its natural goodness (can you sense my self-pity yet?). This sickness has also brought nausea and vomiting which adds a whole extra layer of fun to the mix.

I would not classify myself as a silent sufferer. I’m normally quite vocal about these types of things. A few days ago while I was, we’ll say, not suffering in silence I saw a video on my Facebook news feed that seriously humbled me and helped change my attitude. The website Mormon.org has a Facebook page that every few days shares short inspirational quotes and videos. I recommend that you check it out, it’s how I saw this video.

What I love about this video is its simplicity. It is uplifting and positive in a very natural way. They are just happy people. Pierre Muller found the upside to his situation, and – the humor in it –  which is even harder. He mentioned that it is because of his beliefs that he’s been able to find the upside. We believe that God created man with the intention of being happy and finding the joy in life. This can be a real challenge sometimes but through keeping the focus on the things that really matter–faith, family, and other things that bring joy, I believe it’s possible.

So I decided to find an upside to my situation. My upside is that I don’t normally watch a lot of TV but the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed a lot of cooking shows. Cooking is a big hobby of mine. Through having more down time to watch cooking shows I learned a lot of new cooking techniques and found a lot of new recipes that I am really excited to try. Had I not been sick I wouldn’t have learned those things. So what is your upside? If your week/day/year/current situation  has been less than ideal, what upside have you found to help you stay positive?

For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit.

I was reading a post from our friends over at Mormon Perspectives about her take on the Business Week article: God’s MBAs: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders.  She focuses on the contrast the article points out between the accomplishments of some Mormon men with that of Mormon women.  I liked her thoughts and wanted to provide some additional supporting perspectives from a few other sources that provide the “Mormon model” I’m most likely to subscribe to in perhaps some contrast to the one presented in the Business week article: Firstly, from the “top position” of the Mormon church, former president Gordon B. Hinckley: “The whole gamut of human endeavor is now open to women. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it. You can include in the dream of the woman you would like to be a picture of one qualified to serve society and make a significant contribution to the world of which she will be a part . . . For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit.”

Quoted from an address given in 2001: How Can I Become the Woman of Whom I Dream.

Secondly, from a few Mormons willing to share their day-in-the-life-of:

I’m a broadcaster and a mom. I’m a Mormon.

I’m a wife, a mother and a public health professional who has lived in 4 countries with her family. I’m a Mormon.

I have friends that lead similar lives.  They strive for their dreams and enjoy the blessings of family.  Things don’t always work out as planned, but such is life.  For Mormons the gospel provides a path to happiness and as they apply principles in their lives there are some wonderful outcomes.

A Mormon Mother’s Day

Motherhood is not easy. The past couple of weeks have shown my son (as well as myself) the hard facts of life. He has had 3 mouth injuries (one resulting in two chipped teeth), two dentist appointments (need I say more?), a semi-serious hand injury and has traveled across the country. My mother has 5 children. Needless to say, but I’m going to say it anyway, I have a lot of respect for my mother.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday (you can thank me if this is news to you, you still have half a week). I get to be with my mom this Mother’s day. I’m in Utah visiting my family and so far this vacation has been fabulous. I have been spending lots of time with my mom and I have really been overcome with gratitude for her. She is everything a mother should be and most importantly she is a partner with God. She raised us to love God and to keep his commandments and for that I will be forever grateful. Here’s to my mother and all the other mothers out there doing their best—God is with you.