"Motherhood is a holy calling."

“Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord’s spirit children and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments. Could there be a more sacred trust than to be a trustee for honorable, well-born, well-developed children?”

“Motherhood is a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord’s work, a consecration and devotion to the rearing and fostering, the nurturing of body, mind, and spirit of those who kept their first estate and who came to this earth for their second estate to learn and be tested and to work toward godhood.”

“The role of mother, then, is to help those children to keep their second estate, so that they might have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.”

Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar 1976, 70

More than just a sneeze

If you happen to sneeze at our house, you might get more than the standard “Bless you”.

One way that The Dad and I have tried to foster love in our home is through our sneezing ritual. What’s so loving about sneezing, you ask? Read on for a typical sneezing scenario at our home.

The Dad: “sneeze”
Nurture Mama: “Bless you”
The Dad: “sneeze” again
Nurture Mama: “Oh, I love you.”
The Dad: “sneeze” yet again
Nurture Mama: “Oh, I really love you!”

This tradition started when we were first married, and has now grown to include our children. The Ant Bug loves this routine and usually continues the conversation with fake sneezes. I then respond: “Oh, so much love!” and “Lots of love!” and “Hugs and kisses!” and “Loving you forever!”

This is just one of the ways we nurture and show love to each member of our family.

"Your influence for good is incalculable and indescribable."

“Some of you sisters may feel inadequate because you can’t seem to do all you want to do. Motherhood and parenting are most challenging roles. You also have Church callings that you fulfill so capably and conscientiously…In general you noble sisters are doing a much better job of holding it all together and making it work than you realize. May I suggest that you take your challenges one day at a time. Do the best you can. Look at everything through the lens of eternity. If you will do this, life will take on a different perspective.”

“I fear you sisters do not realize in the smallest part the extent of your influence for good in your families, in the Church, and in society. Your influence for good is incalculable and indescribable.”

“I truly believe you are instruments in the hands of God in your many roles, especially that of motherhood.”

“In the work of the kingdom, men and women are equally important. God entrusts women to bear and nurture His children. No other work is more important. Motherhood is such an important role for women.”

James E. Faust, “Instruments in the Hands of God,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 114

On our bookshelf

Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney
This rhythmic story tells the tale of what happens between mama and baby llama after the bedtime story and good night kiss. What mama hasn’t stood at the kitchen sink after tucking her child in bed, only to be interrupted when her child needs comforting? A sweet story, enjoyable for the mama too!

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
The B has started to realize that books have more value than just as something to taste, so we’ve been having a few minutes of story time each day. This is one of our favorites for the beginning baby reader. Who wouldn’t love three singing pigs?

Be a Joyful Mama

“All of you are children of the Most High.” Psalm 82:6

“Be a joyful mother of children.” Psalm 113:9

“Children are an heritage of the Lord” and “Happy is the [woman] who hath [her] quiver full of them.” Psalm 127: 3, 5

The Night of 1000 Wake-ups

Last night felt like a night of 1000 wake-ups. My sweet B was suffering from a number of irritations: teething and runny nose, numerous mosquito bites, and undoubtedly a headache from the bump she received from a toy carelessly dropped on her head by her sister. I’m sure all of this conspired to give her a very fitful sleep, with wakings every hour all night long. Not to mention two night-wakings from the Ant Bug tossed into the mix, and the result is one grumpy Mama.

But around 3 a.m., as my patience had nearly reached its limit, I thought again of Elder Holland’s words and had to smile. I began debating the size of the shadows under my eyes: certainly bigger than Rhode Island, probably more like Michigan or Minnesota. And I was grateful once again for inspiring, uplifting words.

That is why I have started this blog. To nurture myself and you in all of our mama moments.

"You are doing terrifically well."

“In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island.

“It is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.

“We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.

“You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.

“Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever.

Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘Because She Is a Mother’,” Ensign, May 1997, 35

Becoming Mama

The Ant Bug has recently started calling me Mama. I used to be called Mommy or Mom. For awhile she repeatedly inquired “what does Daddy call you?” until she learned my real name. But now she calls me Mama. Is it because we live in the south? I’m not sure what prompted the shift. But I like it.

“Watch this, Mama!”
“Mama, will you help me with my shoes?”
“I love you, Mama.”

To Nurture

“I take great delight in my role as a nurturer, which allows me to express my deepest identity as a woman. I never fail to be struck by the way that women, young women, and even little girls seem to have an instinctive interest and ability in nurturing. It is not only a mother’s primary responsibility but also part of our “individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed, and to nourish. Who would not shout for joy at being given such a blessed role?”

Susan W. Tanner, “My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2008, 81–83