Ever notice how hard it is to hear anything with three kids five and under in the room? (Also, storming off makes it difficult to listen. It was my birthday, though, and I was going to cry if I wanted to.)
Anyway, I’m catching up on LDS General Conference and finally got to re-hear this from Quentin L. Cook’s talk (emphasis added):
We recognize that there are enormous forces arrayed against women and families. Recent studies find there is deterioration in devotion to marriage, with a decrease in the number of adults being married. For some, marriage and family are becoming “a menu choice rather than the central organizing principle of our society.” Women are confronted with many options and need to prayerfully consider the choices they make and how those choices affect the family.
When I was in New Zealand last year, I read in an Auckland newspaper of women, not of our faith, struggling with these issues. One mother said she realized that in her case, her choice about whether to work or stay home was about a new carpet and a second car that she didn’t really need. Another woman, however, felt “the biggest enemy of a happy family life was not paid work—it was television.” She said that families are TV rich and family-time poor.
. . . [N]o woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven’s plan.
Second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people’s circumstances. Husbands and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions.
I liked a lot of the thoughts in these paragraphs. The “Mommy Wars” are hurting us all—and television is, too (which, admittedly, is the worse offense in my home).
What do you think? How can we overcome these challenges to strong families?
(Side note: terribly disappointed in Firefox right now. You can’t spell Rebecca or Zealand? Seriously?)
I really liked this next passage from a recent address given by President Monson to my church (see part one from last week):
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can.
I often fall into that same trap—believing that if only I didn’t have to do all this “mothering stuff”/work/housekeeping/good works/church/alone, it’d be so much easier. But frankly, I would probably still find something to stress out about even if I had one less thing on my plate.
And all too often, I let the wrong thing slide. President Monson continues:
But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.
Usually, I get stressed because I’m trying to do too much—and often it’s not stuff that I need to do anyway. Beyond basic housecleaning and a couple hours of work per day, I don’t actually have to do a lot of the things that I make myself do or that I want to do.
Instead, if I focus on the work of motherhood: loving, and giving my children attention, suddenly those stresses that make my life so difficult—the stresses that I have put on myself—seem to go away.
What helps you relieve or lessen the stress of motherhood? How do you show your children your love?
At the most recent General Conference of my church, there was an excellent talk on having joy in the journey. The speaker, the leader of my church, made several great points about raising children—and keeping perspective while doing that.
If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.
As I type this, I’m sitting on a stained couch, next to a waist-deep pile of laundry, across the room from the nose-and-mouth prints on the entertainment center. I’ll go to bed only to wake up three or four times tonight to nurse Rebecca, then get up earlier than I want to to take care of her or Hayden.
And this is what I’ll miss? Yep, says this father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I think the thing that I like most about this quote is the aside of “to your surprise.” It shows that he knows what it’s like to be here.
I think, though, that even though we don’t care for hearing this, we all know this. During the difficult times, it might be hard to believe that we’ll miss all this. But during the good times, the peaceful times, the adorable times, we know that they won’t last. They can’t last. My little children will disappear before my eyes—they already are.
So every once in a while, the reminder that I’ll miss these days makes me value them a little more. How about you?