Monday, March 26, 2007

Motherhood: Choosing It Every Day

“Eeaah … EEAAH!”

I found myself yelling at the kids and the dog, at the washer for its creaks and croaks, at my husband and my dry skin, even at the shower for not staying clean. I was considered by many to be an example of motherhood personified. After all, I had talked at various wards and lectured at community and state functions about the joys of being a mother. And I had often sensed the eternal significance of my role. But now I was feeling like a failure and a hypocrite.

“What’s wrong with me?” I asked myself during one of those brief moments of solitude possible only after our six children are bedded and my husband is asleep on the couch.

Clearly, I was feeling out of control. And I had somehow drifted into a very negative state of mind. Slowly, I began to shift my thinking from complaints to solutions. I didn’t have a grouchy boss looking over my shoulder, setting my deadlines, timing my performance. I had a kind, loving husband and six healthy, beautiful children, and me! I could make my life whatever I chose.

But first I would have to put myself back in control—not the Church, the PTA, the community clubs, or even the children. So I began to reconsider the choices I had made without thinking and those I had allowed to be made for me.

I had always wanted to be a mother. I felt that God had given me the privilege of rearing these children, and I was happy I didn’t have to miss those growing moments, new words, and spontaneous hugs and kisses. In my enthusiasm to do my best, I had been baking, sewing, hair cutting, cooking, cleaning, washing, and PTA-ing—doing everything that seemed even vaguely related to being a mother. But I was “running faster than I had strength.” (D&C 10:4.) I was neglecting my own growth. As a result, I had less and less to give.

“What does it really mean to be a good mother?” I asked myself. Does it mean baking bread every day or sewing matching outfits for all four of your girls? No, clearly being a mother has most to do with tenderness and affection, with nurturing and teaching sound values, with conveying to children a positive attitude and a reliable sense of being loved. And it can be done well in as many different ways as there are mothers.

I realized then that I could be the most effective mother by creating a loving atmosphere in my own individual way, not by trying to live up to anyone else’s expectations of me.

As I considered how I could nourish my spirit and help myself bloom again, I made several very personal decisions. First, I realized that for me mornings are crucial to my sense of well-being. I began getting up with my husband before the children woke up, to exercise, put on my makeup, and groom myself. While doing that, I decided which things I felt were most important to accomplish that day. Then, feeling the master of my own day, I would begin the day’s activities. As I did this I found myself feeling more like smiling, more eager to receive visitors, more able to give willingly rather than grudgingly.

My second decision was to plan time to refresh myself, mentally and spiritually. Each day after lunch I allotted an hour or more of rest time. While the little ones napped, I could dream, explore, and learn. Rejuvenated, I could then more cheerfully devote myself to husband and family.

Even though the core of our family is the relationship between my husband and me, I had been filling every waking hour with never-ending chores for and worries about our children. I’d left very little time for my husband. Here, too, I needed to rearrange some priorities. I had to restore some balance to my life—my third decision.

My final resolve involved my own heart. No longer would I blame others for my feelings. Even facing gum in the carpet and “Mommy, I didn’t mean to, but I tore my new …” I must remember that I am to make the sun shine in my heart.

Once I made these major decisions, my feeling of being trapped seemed to dissipate. I have begun to appreciate once again the advantages of being a mother at home. I am my own boss. I set my own hours and deadlines. I create my own environment—including background music and home decor. I can dress to fit the activities of the day. I can control what food we eat and what system I use to manage my work in the home.

I now feel more keenly that I am exerting a positive influence in my home. Because I daily renew my sense of choice, I feel better about myself and about the life I have chosen.

Fay A. Daley, “Motherhood: Choosing It Every Day, ”Ensign,Feb 1985, 64

“The Name of Mother”

The holiest words my tongue can frame,
The noblest thoughts my soul can claim,
Unworthy are to praise the name
More precious than all other.
An infant, when her love first came,
A man, I find it still the same,
Reverently I breathe her name,
The blessed name of mother.

George Griffith Fether

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Some Benefits of Mothers Staying Home

Baby-sitters do not have the same love for children as their mothers do. During these special years the mother misses out on the joy of raising that child! Those years go fast and never come back They are gone forever!

The mother can observe their talents and help those talents increase. They have time to sit down and cuddle them when they need the most cuddling and loving. What a joy to children to have their mothers read to them as they are growing up. Teenagers need their mothers home at the crossroads of life. This is when they get into the most trouble if left free to do as they please. They need to learn the laws of being law-abiding citizens.

Let's put mothers back in the home and fathers the wage earners. Parents feel they have to work to give their children the financial advantage they need. But much more important to a child than "things"is to have a loving mother at home all the time!

- Rae Olsen

Stay At Home Moms

What an improvement we would see in our environment, if only mothers would stay at home and be good mothers to their children! Not only is this true while they are pre-schoolers, but even more importantly, when they are teenagers and need their mothers when they get home from school and have so many things to tell them!

One newly married couple decided when they first were married to live on only one of their salaries, which they did until the first child was born. By then, they were used to that and kept saving that extra salary as a down payment on their first home. Therefore, when they had to live on one salary after the children came they were not in debt and could keep living on the one salary.

One of the destructive things with mothers working is that their children are denied the great advantage of having their mothers there to read to them and take care of all their needs and teach them correct principles and how to be law-abiding citizens.

Children usually do better in their school work if their mothers are stay-at-home mothers. They can learn talents, can be cuddled more, and loved at the time they need the most loving. Mothers can keep their homes more organized and it is more conducive to eating family meals together where they can discuss the fun things they did that day. They are ready for Family Home Evening, Family Council Meetings, Family Prayer, and other wholesome things that the Adversary would rather not happen in homes. Satan is running rampant today, especially to destroy the traditional family, as he knows the family is the most important thing of God's creations. He wants to destroy everything connected with it. I was glad I was home and had time to read to my children, which made a big difference in their lives, especially in the life of my Doctor son.

Let's set the example and be at home where are children are and where we can influence them for good!

- Rae Olsen

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stay At Home Mom - And Lovin' It!!!

I taught at a preschool/daycare center for 3 years and thought I was pretty darn good at it. You think potty time is hard with one 2 year old. Try Eight!! It'll make you sweat. Although childcare does not pay well, I just couldn't get myself to quit. I loved those kids so much. I felt so fulfilled at the end of the day. My motto was "I'll treat your children the way you would". And I thought I was. . . Until I had one of my own. No matter how much I loved those 2 year olds, it wasn't the way I love my own. There is no equal replacement for mother.

And because I worked at a daycare center, I'll do whatever I can to not ever have to put my children in one. Are they abused there? No. Are they loved there? Sometimes. Do they get all the attention they need? Not always. And more importantly, that attention isn't coming from the one from whom they want it most - mother.


Feminist Dogma Debunked

This article is reprinted from the The World Congress on Families.

For years elite opinion has maintained that women are happier in marriages that represent a union of equals and where spouses share identical responsibilities in the workplace and at home. Even as very few couples actually live this way, a study by two noted University of Virginia sociologists debunks the feminist spin, finding that women - even those who espouse egalitarian ideals - are far happier in marriages that have a traditional division of labor.

Looking at a subsample of 5,000 couples drawn from the second wave (1992-94) of the National Survey of Families and Households, Bradford Wilcox and Steven Nock measured women's marital happiness, women's satisfaction with the emotional attention they receive from their husbands, and the time husbands spend with their wives against a number of independent variables associated with various theories of marriage.

Their findings reveal that the more traditional the woman and the more traditional the marriage, the happier the woman. Women are happiest when they tend to hearth and home and their husbands bring home the bacon (earning at least 68 percent of family income). This did not surprise the researchers because they also found that men who were married to homemakers are more likely to spend "quality time" with their wives. These traditional wives also expressed greater satisfaction with their husbands' emotional interaction with them. In contrast, women who aspire to having "companionate" marriages, thinking "equality" will deliver what they really desire - the emotional engagement of their husbands - actually end up spending less time with husbands than their traditional peers. And these wives are less satisfied with the understanding they receive from their husbands.

Also contributing to women's marital happiness is a dynamic generally missing from egalitarian marriages: a shared commitment to marriage as a social and normative institution, where each spouse views matrimony as a binding commitment that "should never be ended except under extreme circumstances." Wives also reported higher satisfaction with their husbands' affection and understanding when couples share high levels of church attendance.

The consistency of these findings across their statistical models led the researchers to suggest that cultural shifts in the last generation, from declines in church attendance to acceptance of divorce and premarital sex, have taken a toll on women's happiness. Yet they point to rising expectations of women for marital equality as especially problematic: "Our findings suggest that increased departures from a male-bread winning/female-homemaking model may also account for declines in marital quality, insofar as men and women continue to tacitly value gendered patterns of behavior in marriage."

(Source: W. Bradford Wilcox and Steven L. Nock, "What's Love Got to Do With It? Equality, Equity, Commitment, and Women's Marital Equality," Social Forces 84 [March 2006]: pages forthcoming.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Motherhood - No Greater Call

Our nation would be more free of Crime if our mothers accepted their role as Motherhood-No Greater Call and would stay at home with their children, where they would teach them correct principles and have time to read to them. What an improvement we would have in our environment.

Not only is this true while they are pre-school, but also as teenagers and need their mothers when they get home from school ordering the day when they may need to "talk" to their mothers.

Baby sitters never love your child as much as you do. One family discovered their daughter had a broken shoulder from having been yanked around by her baby sitter.

We all love our own children, but think if we work we can bring them more financial blessings. But it isn't "things" they need, it is their mothers cuddling them, reading to them, and loving them, as only mothers can do. Those early years slip by so fast they are shortly only memories and you can never bring back those years and re-live them. Make a policy to be the best mothers possible and enjoy your babies and children throughout their lives, have fun with them, write down their cherished words and experiences. You can't do it later as they are quickly forgotten.

By raising law-abiding children this nation would have the environment we all yearn for and wickedness would be on the way out!

- Rae Olsen

"Mother, Where Are You?"

Are you fortunate enough to have memories of coming home from school to the warm embrace and comfort of a loving mother? If so, consider yourself blessed, because what was once the norm, is quickly becoming the exception.

This trend seems to be evidenced everywhere I look, from my neighbors to my co-workers. A friend of my daughter currently finds herself in this situation. After school she goes from one friend's house to another or just roams the streets until her mother gets home from work. She is an occasional visitor in our home. I once overheard her telling my daughter that she has the best mom ever for always being there for her. On her last visit, she left for home about the time she expected her mom to be there; but after a few minutes she re-appeared at our doorstep because although her mom had arrived home from work, she was already asleep. The sadness in her eyes seemed to say, "Mother, Where are You?"

This single-mother now finds herself with few other lifestyle options. However, had the been trained in her youth of the actions to take in her life to prepare for motherhood and success in the family, she could be leading a much different life today.