Monthly Archives: March 2009

Motherhood: An Ennobling Endowment

“President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that “God planted within women something divine.” That something is the gift and the gifts of motherhood. Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.”

Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is “as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.”

Sheri L. Dew, “Are We Not All Mothers?,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 96

Preparing for General Conference–With Children

Viewing General Conference is a different experience now that I have young children in my home. I feel very fortunate to be able to see and hear the words of the living prophet in my home (hooray for BYU-TV). But if I expect to be able to actually listen to any of the conference proceedings with two children, it’s best to be prepared.

Sugardoodle.net is the best place to look if you’re searching for General Conference packets and resources to use with your children. Melanie has one page indexing the General Conference activities on her site. There are a lot to choose from! Since my oldest daughter is 4yrs old, this Conference Coloring Booklet is a good match for us. Here you can get the one sheet page to color the General Authorities Ties.

This packet that Melanie created is great for older children. And this packet by Jodi is a great combination for older and younger children.

Did you see this excellent article in this month’s Ensign magazine? Preparing Children for Conference. Kate took the ideas from the article and compiled them in an easy-to-read list. These two ideas sounded like fun to me:

• Hang the pictures of the apostles near the T.V. and each time a new speaker gets up to speak, find his picture on the poster. When the picture is found, put a sticker on that person’s picture.
• Have a bowl of small treats for each session. Next to the bowl place objects that represent key words for that session. Each time the children hear one of those words spoken from the pulpit they can help themselves to one treat.

With still a week and half to go until the big weekend, it’s quite likely that more resources will still appear. Check the main page for any new postings. Thanks again to all of the wonderful people who have shared their ideas with us on Sugardoodle.net.

You can also check out Mormon Momma for more ideas on Making General Conference Memorable.

That should give you plenty to last through four sessions. Or, really, with the attention span of most children, that’s probably just enough for one session. When all else fails, I am thankful we can read the proceedings of conference online and in the Ensign!

The Fruits of Parenting

I was very fortunate this past weekend to be able to attend a session of Time Out for Women. It was a very enriching experience and gave me much to ponder in my roles as woman, wife, and mother. Tonight I thought I would share a scripture chain from the talk How Can I Know If I’m Getting It Right? by Emily Watts. The scriptures are in bold, and my version of her words are underneath.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).
-The fruits of motherhood are agonizingly slow to ripen.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart” (Psalms 27:14).
-Don’t forget that Heavenly Father loves my children as much as I do.

And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him” (1 Chronicles 5:20).
-Parenting can indeed be a battle. In the midst of the battle, turn to the Lord.

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalms 9:10).
-Sometimes the fruit doesn’t ripen in this life. Be patient and trust in the Lord.

The key point of her talk is this: What if the fruits of parenting have less to do with how my children turn out, and more with how I turn out? How am I being changed and refined as a mother?

How do you teach your children to work?

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of…work…” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph 7)

The Ant Bug loves to help with house work. Wearing her own pair of yellow rubber gloves, she happily cleans the bathrooms with me–using the toilet brush is her favorite part. She likes to set the table, and after dinner she often stands at the sink with me to rinse the dishes. She gets offended if she doesn’t get to wash the tile floor with me. And she and the Sweet Bee joyfully run around screaming like banshees whenever I pull out the vacuum.

It is a myth that children don’t want to work. Most children, especially young children, love to work and often offer to help. What most children resent and resist is being asked to work alone. “Go clean your room” sounds overwhelming. “Let’s go clean your room” says something quite different. This does not mean that efforts to train children to share in the family work will be easy or will always go smoothly. What it does mean is that we can reject the popular idea that children must be prodded, enticed, or supplied with some external motivation to participate in family chores” (Bahr, see below for citation).

To date, we haven’t sat down with the Ant Bug and given her specific chores for which she is responsible. At four years old, there are definitely age appropriate chores she could do. But I haven’t been exactly sure how to go about the process of starting. A part of me worries that by giving her a list of chores to do, she’ll lose her enthusiasm for working alongside me.

So I’ve been doing some research:

Simple Mom has a great chore chart for preschoolers. Being the compulsive list-maker that I am, a chore chart is a must for me.

Marie at Make and Takes recently tackled the issue of encouraging independence in children. Her comments struck a familiar chord with me, since the Ant Bug also likes to make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I thought the following was excellent counsel, taken from Strengthening the Family: Resource Guide for Parents

Give Your Children Responsibilities
Many parents tend to overindulge their children and shield them from the responsibilities they once had to go through—experiences that helped them become capable adults. When parents dole out goods and services for their children while requiring little in return, their children lose the motivation to become self-reliant and responsible. Instead, they tend to become lazy, selfish, and self-indulgent. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “Those who do too much for their children will soon find they can do nothing with their children.”

Teach your children to work alongside you, starting when they are young and have a natural desire to help. Assign your children routine chores according to their abilities. Family work activities “can become daily rituals of family love and belonging.”

Teach your children to serve others. Elder Derek A. Cuthbert of the Seventy taught, “Wise parents will provide service opportunities in the home for their children from an early age.” Teach them to do their best and to try again if they fail. (p. 34)

So…giving children opportunities to work is a good thing! (Duh). As I formulate my plans for instilling a work ethic in my children, I would love to hear from you. How do you teach your children to work?

Great Further Reading:
Kathleen Slaugh Bahr and others, “The Meaning and Blessings of Family Work,” in Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family, ed. David C. Dollahite (Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, 2000), 178.

"Keep loving and keep testifying"

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
2 Nephi 25:26

Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can. Keep the covenants your children know you have made. Give priesthood blessings. And bear your testimony! Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own.

“Nephi-like, might we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the scriptures? Do they see us reading them and marking them and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees in prayer? Have they heard us not only pray with them but also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental love? Do our children know we believe in fasting as something more than an obligatory first-Sunday-of-the-month hardship? Do they know that we have fasted for them and for their future on days about which they knew nothing? Do they know we love being in the temple, not least because it provides a bond to them that neither death nor the legions of hell can break? Do they know we love and sustain local and general leaders, imperfect as they are, for their willingness to accept callings they did not seek in order to preserve a standard of righteousness they did not create? Do those children know that we love God with all our heart and that we long to see the face—and fall at the feet—of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.

“Carl Sandburg once said, “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” For that baby’s future as well as your own, be strong. Be believing. Keep loving and keep testifying. Keep praying. Those prayers will be heard and answered in the most unexpected hour. God will send aid to no one more readily than He will send it to a child—and to the parent of a child.”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, May 2003, 85

Study the Proclamation and do your best

“To parents everywhere, my counsel is simple: Get a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Read it and strive to align your marriage and your family to its inspired, revealed direction from the Lord. Then, be the very best and act the very best you can. God will give you strength beyond your own as you strive daily to fulfill the most sacred mortal responsibility He gives to His children. Listen to the voice of the Spirit and the counsel of the living prophets. Be of good cheer. God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failure unless you give up.”

M. Russell Ballard (2003, August 19). “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,” BYU Devotional Address.

Nurture Mama turns 100!

Nurture Mama has reached a milestone: Today we’re celebrating the 100th post!

I hope you’re enjoying this blog as much as I am. It’s helping me keep my focus on the right priorities in these busy child-rearing years of my life.

Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done. Like any mother, I have my down moments when it is difficult to see past the spaghetti on the the floor, the middle of the night wake-ups, and the “mother hubbard” decor of my living room (wait, make that my entire home).

But for this blog I have chosen to focus on the good moments, and the reasons we mothers do what we do. Because sometimes I need a reminder, and I thought you might need one too.

I hope this blog is helpful and encouraging to you. I’ve enjoyed sharing my mama moments with you, and I love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. Comments are great, or email me at nurturemama2{at}gmail{dot}com

In honor of the 100th post, I wanted to come up with a list of 100 things mothers do. Because we all know that every day mothers are doing hundreds of things, and probably more than just a few of those things at the same time.

But I need your help. I made it to 53 words before my mama-brain tuckered out. So I’ve decided to ask the experts in the trenches–you! Will you help me come up with a list of 100 things that mothers do? Leave a comment with your one-word suggestions in answer to the question: A mothers job is to…

Thanks to wordle for the great image. I’ll post another image once I’ve compiled your responses.

To end with today, here is one of my favorite mama thoughts:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grow up, I’ve learned, to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.
- Author Unknown

The doctrine of motherhood

“Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.

“When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.”

Sheri L. Dew, “Are We Not All Mothers?,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 96