Mother’s Day Reflection

I always had a sentimental regard for my mother and maternal and paternal grandmother, however not until I became a mother of three vibrant little girls did I fully experience the most incredible sense of joyful sacrifice.  We are all familiar with the act of sacrificing some thing, some situation or something tangible and how it makes me feel bereaved and even slightly depressed.  For me the sacrifices I made to become a mother were true blessings in disguise.  I was raised with education being a key element to success and a rewarding career.  That was my aspiration early in my childhood and I know my parents had sincere intentions.  We rarely talked about dating let alone finding love.  It seemed to be a scary topic to discuss dating with my parents so I never did.  I just remember being told to focus and stay in track, I never even thought to veer off track. So fast forward to college, a unhealthy relationship, then landing a great position before I graduated ASU and then graduating, I found I had achieved my life goals! Suddenly, I had completed my B.S. and was working in corporate America.  So was this it?!  I felt something was missing.

Post Motherhood

Fast forward 2 years later and I meet a timid, soft-spoken, 6’5 handsome fellow that opened up my eyes to what I had been missing.  With all the hustle and bustles of chasing after that college degree and climbing up that ladder of never ending workforce, I hadn’t thought about my role as a wife and mother or whether finding Mr Right-for-me was possible.  Yet it was!  We both knew how central family was on this journey we lived.  We got married and soonafter our first was born.

Motherhood

Her I am now a mother of 3, a family of 5.  Am I telling you being a mother is cakewalk? No. Am I telling you to go out there and get married and have kids?  No.  What I am telling you is that Motherhood changes your WHOLE being.  For me even with those difficult days where you seemed to have done nothing but play with your children, it’s worth it!  It’s worth every second!  Motherhood comes with frustration, impatience and exhaustion.  Just ask any mom, working or stay-at-home (I have done both).  Yet the moments you realize, “What is my purpose in this life?”  This is not a question I can answer for you but for me, I have no question why Motherhood chose me.

Support One Another

In this modern age, we must all let go of the divide between us.  Yes we all are in different situations, but as mother’s we need to realize that supporting one another in this ride is what enables each other to grow and become our best possible self.  Our world needs kindness, we need compassion and great examples for charity. Mothers are the epitome of selflessness. For those who are not mothers, think about how your mother or a motherly figure has shaped your life.  We as women, have endless opportunities to reach out and help someone in need.  May we show appreciation for our mothers, grandmothers and women in our lives.  Christlike love can allow us to love unconditionally and spread positivity and kindness to those who need it.  I have a testimony that motherhood has truly brought out a kind of unconditional love that has no boundaries.  The moment a child says “I love you” is the moment you realize what life is about.  Mothers need to unite and lift each other up.  Many mothers rarely get anytime to themselves.

Here are some ways to help a fellow mother:

  1. Visit with them – Sometimes adult conversation is a great change of pace
  2. Offer to babysit for a few hours
  3. Bring a gift for just mom
  4. Offer to come over and help around the house (chores are never ending)
  5. Be kind and offer compliments

As Mother’s Day is approaching let us remind ourselves all the sacrifices mothers make and appreciate them for all they do for us.

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Modern Childrearing: Establishing a Routine

When to start? Is it too early?  When the topic of “Getting into a routine” comes up in a conversation with fellow parents, you can surely expect any mom or dad with young children to shudder.  This applies especially to stay at home parents with children not in school yet.  You see, I was a full time working mother before I had children and 12 weeks after both my eldest were born, I returned to work. Routine was my middle name.  Now transition to full-time (literally) mommy.  Now enter the unplanned, unexpected delays, interruptions, uh-ohs to any planned activities, events, outings, play dates. Shall we call it the storm before the calm?  I believe there is no time like the present or if you can as early as possible.  Routine is a very close relative to habit.  We as humans tend to build habits pretty quickly after repetition. So we can apply it to childrearing as well.  Take sleep training for example.  When we brought our youngest home from the hospital, I immediately placed her in her crib whenever she slept.  Now I am not a fan of the term sleep training, it is just repetition.  I knew I had to tend to my older two, a house to keep clean, meals to prepare and I didn’t have time to hold the baby all day long.  The lesson is that as we transition into further stages in our life to learn to embrace a routine.  It keeps us “on track.” This applies to quality time nurturing and most importantly teaching them. We don’t realize much of our days consists of teaching them simple basics.  Once days become more routine (this may take time), much productivity can be achieved. With 4.75 years of parenting under my belt, I have broken up time management in 4 simple steps, I shall dub it the L.I.V.E.© Method – Lead, Inquire, Visualize, Execute

Lead 

My children are 98% more likely to follow my lead when they see me complete the task at hand. When I wake up, they wake up. When I go brush my teeth, they brush their teeth. It’s simple but for some silly reason, they must see mom and/or dad do it before they complete said task.  Leading by example can build up industrious little children, but this certainly can come with its drawbacks, so be careful what comes out of your mouth and the behavior you exhibit. As we are more cognizant of our own behavior and promptness, we can clearly see the mirroring effect on our children.

Inquire

As parents we are so quick to tell children “why” WE do things.  I have come to find that the more active a child is in a conversation, the higher the retention rate.  This is the time to stop and ask your child, what their feelings are and help them see the benefits of a structured day.  Hearing a child share their opinions can be quite refreshing.  Who wants to be told how to do something ALL the time. When you entrust a child with a sense of responsibility, they want to do their best to show that they can handle it.  So inquire of them and let them share their views. I usually get more eye contact when my daughters are talking to rather then when I am talking to them.  Engaging your child in a conversation can be so refreshing. Coming from a chatterbox like myself. This was quite difficult for me as I always had what I thought was a great thought/idea/suggestion on my mind.  My oldest who is quite the mini-me and I sure had many conversations where we were over talking each other.  Who was really “actively listening?” Let us stop and inquire of them.

Try these questions:

Why is it important to be on time?

What can you do to help yourself get up earlier?

How can you settle down for bedtime?
Visualize

No I am not asking you to fantasize about the ideal day, but rather a structured day. This can be divided in to several parts of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner time and the activities before and after.  When we have a mindset of a checklist of to-do’s, the automatic urge is to check things off that list right?  Well that’s how my brain worked pre-marriage and pre-babies.  As we have an idea of what needs to be done, we need to write it down. Whether it’s a whiteboard magnet on your fridge, a planner, an app on your phone, think about what needs to be done and then write it down in the order it shall be completed.  Children excel when they are challenged.  If there is no push to do more, interest level drops.  Ask your child to make a list of what they think needs to be done the next day (keep it to a minimum) and write it down. 

Execute

The last and final step is execute.  When it comes to efficient time management, I know from personal experience if I have not started my day with the first few things on my to-do list done, it’s not very likely I will get to my other items on my list.  Just as Nike’s tag line, “Just do it!” When we can get ourselves out of bed in the more, our willpower seems to be much stronger then spending another 10 extra minutes snoozing.  Being realistic of course, we will have those lazy Saturdays and holidays where lazy days are acceptable. However, when it comes down to carrying out plans, we must follow through accordingly. If we don’t act, then that’s when we get behind on all other aspects of our life. 

Raising children in this modern era requires a dedicated, unwavering mentality and focus. We have the responsibility to support them, build strong work ethic and teach them to skills that help them progress in all aspects of their lives.  We must instill a sense of independence in them and ensure that they will make morally smart decisions on their own. By establishing a routine, it will help them manage their time wisely and be efficient in all that they do. Remember we all struggle with managing our time, whether it be at home or in their professional life, but one way we can ask for help is by surrounding yourself with people who are seeing success and having faith that you can attain the same.  Prayer is such a great way to let HIM know where in life you are and ask HIM where you need help. Having faith that HE is there to listen to me enables me to push forth each and every day to do better than before to improve our lives. I encourage you to LIVE and eatablishes health routines that will enable you to be the best you can each day and set goals to challenge yourself to grow exponentially. 

I love this opportunity to see my children actively think and make real world connections that will help them become helpful, productive and encouraging little members of society. 

I believe that when we are able to better manage our time, we are able to accomplish so much. This includes service to others and being a active member of our community even a little at a time. We have such an unlimited potential to make change, if we start now. There is no time like the present.

Parenting

Harmony at Home
Parenting. It is a calling, a blessing, a challenge at times, an adventure full of uh ohs……  and yet such an enriching lifetime commitment.  Before I begin, I would like to preface, each and every parent has their own parenting styles which may work for them, but not others, so this is by no means the Merriam Webster’s handbook to parenting.  This is my personal account of my journey and character building experiences that I am sharing with you.  My husband and I clearly have different ideas of fun and entertainment (no I will not throw my 6 month old up it the air), however, what we both can effortlessly agree on is one thing, teaching our children compassion and fortitude.  When both parents are on the same page on those core principles, parenting can be so much more constructive. We both strongly feel how vital it is to create a foundation of reverent, kind and dedicated little humans.  Teaching them to be selfless, loving and nurturing can prepare them to build meaningful relationships with others and hopefully with their future spouse.  So how do we do this?

1. Teach them to be kind (there’s too much negativity in the world)

2. Teach them to share

3. Give them a hug (many times a tantrum can be resolved by a tender hug) 

4. Compliment them for doing a good deed 

5. Challenge them to try new things

When I reflect back on my own childhood, I remember being quite the timid one until I hit my early teen years.  These days it seems children have way more available to them. This includes tv, tablets, mobile devices, toys galore yet are these items really teaching our children the right messages?  This brings me to the practice of “minimalizing.”  Would I call myself a minimalist? No, not quite. Who am I kidding, we live in this modest age where there’s the latest and greatest.  So what am I getting at.  Quality time with your children. I can say without a doubt our girls are the happiest when mommy and daddy are doing something fun with them. My oldest is 4, so I don’t quite know how that will go once she starts school but this early children is such a critical stage to do our best to parent cohesively and give them that strong foundation of love and support.

Speaking of toddlers, Parent.com features a great article titled, “3 Ways to Raise a Caring Toddler

We also love to teach our little ones about our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ.  I cannot express how grateful I am to have HIM in my life. He lifts me up when I am down and reminds me why I am needed here on earth.  Parenting in this Modern era comes with many trials and rough patches but don’t be discouraged because you ARE doing your best.  Make it priority to rear your children with love  and affection an active participation. As Elder James E Faust quotes, “In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us.”  May we all focus on the cores principles of child rearing and let not the worldly distractions interfere with your role as parents. Take a moment each day to hug and embrace your children and give them your wholehearted, undivided attention.  Remember, they are gifts to us.

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What are some wholesome family activities you do with your family?