Mom Week: Inspirational Ideas for Mothering

I’m excited to share with you this week some Mothering Inspiration, in what I’ve dubbed, Mom Week. Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on how we can all step up our mothering game, and be a little better.

Mom Week Inspirational ideas for becoming a better mother1

 

I’ve sent a list of questions to some people I look up to, on what they learned from their mothers, in hopes that I can glean some insight, and those of you moms out there can do the same.

I’ve also started what I HOPE to be a weekly video I’ve called Mom Chat. It’ll be me chatting about a mom topic for 2-4 minutes, with the idea of some interaction in the comments of the you tube video. I love chatting with other moms about how to parent, and those conversations seem few and far between. With Mom Chat, I bring up a topic, share my thoughts on it, then open it up to others to share their point of view, as well. I think we have so much to learn from each other, I’ll just be leading the discussion.

Mom Chat on YouTube

I’ll eventually embed it into my posts, but FOR NOW, CLICK OVER (open a new tab so you can continue with the below) to see the video and comment below it to engage in the conversation!

I’ve now shared other days, check out

Mother’s Day Pampering Giveaway

Day 2 with Mom Chat

Day 3 with Mom Chat

Day 4 with Mom Chat and free journaling printable

Day 5

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Now to hear from my friend Emily! She has been one of my closest friends from high school to present day. With cross country moves, and a gaggle of kids between us, we’ve managed to see each other about once a year.

Texas-Family-Photography

{More images of their cute family HERE as well as a timeline of pics of us throughout the years}

She’s filled with much wisdom.  I’ve always admired her mom, how she found time for creativity, while raising 7 delightful children, so she’s going to share some wisdom with us today that she’s learned from her mom!

(I added some BOLD text to highlight where I felt stirred with an “amen” and links where I felt some not of our faith may have further inquiry.)

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My parents were active in the {Mormon} church.  They showed us by example that we were a family that showed up.  It’s something that I have felt impressed by the importance of in my own family.  We go.  We go to all of our meetings, to activities, to {early morning religious} seminary.  They had expectations that we would do these things because those actions show a commitment and obedience to something important.  We read the scriptures together.  We had family home evening.  We just spent time together and I loved it.  Just playing and being together continues to be my most favorite thing to do with my family.  I remember not only family prayer each night but their encouragement to say our own personal prayers.  I remember them each kneeling beside us at night as we said our personal prayers by our bed.  I know that as a mother of five bedtime exhausts me.  By the time family prayer is done I want them to their rooms and  go to sleep, so I know that going to check on each of 7 children by the end of the day was tiring but important to them to teach and reinforce the importance of a personal relationship with our Father in Heaven.

a mothers love

My Mom is very creative!! It has rubbed off on her daughters as we each feel great validation and satisfaction in creating.  My Mom was originally an art major in college.  I remember paintings she did when I was very small and thinking she was the best artist I had ever seen.  Our house was tastefully decorated.  Her talents were used time and time again in church callings, school projects and favors for people.  Passing her a piece of paper during church was the best because her drawings were so delightfully perfect in my mind.  I still love her style and ability to create things that are cute and amazing.

I also love that my parents had a sense of humor.  They knew when it was appropriate to be silly and fun and when it was time to be serious.  My siblings and I enjoy the same things as my parents so it is easy to spend time with them both growing up and now as adults.  They appreciate the arts and good literature as well as a good show or movie.  My Mom can make me laugh.  One picture that I included was a tea party she set up for me and my younger brother and sister when I was about 4.

kids tea party

We were the youngest of 7 so you can imagine what the first part of her day had entailed – getting kids up and out the door to school.  I’m sure she always had a list of things to accomplish during the day and yet I remember her taking the time to spend time with us or do special things on occasion that made us feel special and happy.  But I also love that they didn’t spoil us with attention constantly.  I think kids these days have the expectation that they have to be entertained all the time.  My Mom could send us out the door to play for hours on our own and it fostered in us a creativity and ability to find our own fun.

I love the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 64:33
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

As mothers we spend a great majority of our time doing things – cleaning up, laundry, meals, shopping, etc.  I need the reminder that I am not doing a tedious work each day but those actions are how I am able to serve my family.  It makes me more grateful each day for the opportunity to be a mother.  I have also been blessed with the perspective that this time is fleeting.  Each moment is so quickly here and gone, for better or worse.  When its hard I remind myself that this won’t last forever and soon it will be gone and different.  But it’s the same reminder when times are wonderful – these times and moments won’t last forever.  Savor them, drink them in.  It has helped me enjoy each and every stage.  Having gratitude for each time in my life has ensured that I have no regrets.  I won’t look back and wish that my children were small again.  I will be able to look back with fondness and joy while also having an appreciation and love for the present.

IMG_8259

My mother showed faith and confidence in her husband and children.  We moved several times while I was growing up.  That means that several times she to had to pick up and move her home, her own friends and opportunities as well as deal with 7 children making that same adjustment (kids spanning 12 years.) I never heard her complain.  It was an amazing example to look to when as a married woman I continued to move and relocate time and time again.  I love the story of my paternal grandmother, upon moving away from family and the comforts of their closeness, as a young married woman herself walking into a new, unfamiliar apartment that was not as nice as where they were coming from.  She promptly turned around and walked out but returned moments later with a sprig of flowers from a bush outside, placed them in a jar and set it on the mantel and declared “there, now we are home”.

I cringe when I hear mothers yelling at their children.  I imagine how the Savior would interact with a child and it helps me maintain control.  I distinctly remember what it felt like to be a child and to interact with adults.  Being yelled at was crushing to me and so when I see a parent raise their voice or belittle their child with a lack of patience, it breaks my heart.  I understand losing your temper.  I have 5 children.  It happens.  But over the years I have learned to be better at maintaining control over my emotions when dealing with them.  It is so much more effective to be calm and controlled and intentional.

I think the greatest way my mother has influenced me is simple by example.  It’s difficult to remember all of the details of what life was like when I was growing up but I look up to my Mom as someone who exemplified strength, sacrifice, perspective, intention, peace, dedication and love for where she put her attention and energy both at home and church.

3 generations

Something that I see in both my mother and my grandmother (her own mother) is sacrifice.  My Mom just shared this story of her mother in the recent Women’s Conference about how she walked to church every week by herself because her parents weren’t active.  She was young and yet made the effort for years to go by herself.  When she was a young woman she had decided that she wasn’t going to go anymore but her father who had watched her sacrifice for something so important to her for so long, offered to go with her.  So not only did she stay strong, but her example brought her father back into the church.

4 generations

I think often, about how my own mother has sacrificed things all along the way.  We need to be reminded sometimes that sacrifice doesn’t just mean giving something up that you want, but it is giving selflessly for something of great value.  My mother put aside her formal education for 30 years to raise a family and be there for them.  She served alongside my Dad as a mission president’s wife in a foreign country at the young age of 25, with four (and then five) small children.  She has been a seminary teacher for many, many years.  I would say sacrificing time to prepare and sleep in the early morning is definitely a sacrifice, especially since the blessing was being able to teach most of her own children at least one year in seminary.  What a blessing it has been for me to be cared for not only in the physical sense as she has come to my rescue time and time again not only as a child but as an adult in college when I had mono, and each time I have had a baby she has come to serve and pamper.  I have been blessed and nurtured spiritually through her teachings and example at home, as well as having her as a leader in church in seminary, young womens, girls camp, and Sunday school.

The sacrifice and service continues! Then she set aside more of being near her children and grandchildren to serve alongside my Dad once more as a temple matron in Sweden.  She has recognized that with each of these sacrifices comes unimaginable blessings and experiences.  I hope that I can have her perspective and faith in the Lord’s plan and timing.  She doesn’t waiver in making choices that are right and good.  There have been so many times in my life that I wish I could call (and have tried!) to ask my parents to just tell me what I should do but they don’t.  They show faith in their children to follow that formula as well.  They show confidence in us to make a decision according to our own faith and testimony in our Heavenly Father and his plan for us.

mom and dad

 

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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Comments

  1. Kristen Duke says:

    Thanks, friend, for sharing! I love the stories and thoughtful tidbits. I especially liked that story of your grandmother bringing in a sprig of flowers to her new house to make it a home. I also like the visual of your parents kneeling by you to encourage your personal prayers. I remind my kids to do it, but hadn’t thought about the need to assist them with it.

  2. I loved learning about a more personal side of your mom, Emily! Thank you for passing on lessons you learned from her that we too can glean from.

    As a mother to seven daughters – four of whom are in young women (another will turn twelve in October) I am so thrilled she will also have an influence on them! As a mother I am so grateful for other women in their lives they can look to to fill in where I lack.
    Chocolate on my Cranium recently posted..The Joys of Motherhood – A study for this weekMy Profile

  3. Oh, I love this idea! Always need tips and thoughts to be a better mom!

  4. Mackenzie+Welker says:

    i needed the reminder about being intentional and maintaing control over my emotions. i also love what a faithful example these women are to me.