How to remain enthusiastic about motherhood

As a mother, I recognize that life's greatest rewards as well as challenges come through parenthood. But sometimes my children's constant demands can be overwhelming. To strengthen myself against discouragement, I have found the following to be helpful:

Keep a journal or scrapbook of my children's activities. This helps me to keep motherhood in an eternal perspective. I am better able to recognize the temporary nature of this stage of life and see the progress we are making each year.- Look for excellent examples of good mothers from family members and neighbors. However, I need to learn from them without comparing myself to them. Comparison can be destructive to my self-esteem.

Keep a steady but healthy pace. The Lord has counseled, "Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength." (D&C 10:4.) If I make an effort to budget time for myself to maintain good physical, spiritual and emotional health, I can keep my spirits high and can better serve my family. This must include personal time for scripture study, prayer and continued learning as well as physical exercise, healthy diet and frequent dates with my husband.

Learn to rely on the programs the Lord has provided. When I take advantage of daily scripture reading with the children, family prayer, family home evening and regular Church attendance, we all enjoy far greater peace in our home, and I am better able to handle the conflicts which are inevitable in daily living.

Recognize each of my children as an eternal blessing in my life. Offer gratitude each day to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to rear them. Thus, the stress that comes from motherhood becomes more bearable and we can say, as Alma did, that "thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee." (Alma 38:4.) - Ellen Landeen, West Jordan, Utah

What we did:

Time to play

While on my knees one night, praying for help with rearing my small children, I was inspired by the thought that I need to schedule time to play with my children, just as I schedule time during the day for doing the laundry, cleaning the house and cooking the meals. Since I have done this, it has helped me see life through their eyes and has given me a much brighter outlook on motherhood. I have discovered that being a mom involves more than just crossing things off the "to do" list all day. My children will remember the times we spent playing together much more than they will remember the things their mom accomplished during the day. The time I take out of my day to play gives me a second wind and brings a certain peace into our home. - Stephanie Nixon, Snowflake, Ariz.

Great responsibility

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to serve in Primary. During a Sharing Time, as I listened to the children sing "I Am a Child of God," these pleading words sank deep into my heart. Since then I have seen how the Lord has placed great responsibility upon us. The responsibility is ours to teach children all they must do to return to the presence of the Father.

The Savior invited the Nephites to bring their children to Him. He wasn't looking for a representative sample. He ministered to them all. As we minister to children with the same devotion and commitment demonstrated by the Savior, we bless them with love, security, faith and the courage to resist evil. - Phibi Jeredina Mwashi, Nairobi, Kenya

Daily journal

Being a mother is about the best thing I've ever done, although it's not the easiest. I have found that reading the scriptures regularly and saying my daily prayers help give me the patience and understanding I need to deal with those daily disasters that always seem to come. I seek the Lord's guidance as I deal with my young boys.

I also try to keep a daily journal. This is a forum where I can express my triumphs and frustrations. I have often found myself inventing solutions to problems as I write about them. But the most important part about each entry is what I write about my kids. I always try to remember something cute, clever, funny or sweet that they did during the day. Then I express how it made me feel. It never ceases to amaze me how I can suddenly see past all of the temper tantrums and dirty diapers to the sweet spirits that Heavenly Father has blessed our home with - and how blessed I am to be their mother. - Lori P. Poole, Bountiful, Utah

Success stories

I think the easiest way to stay enthusiastic about motherhood is to look around you at successful people. Remember they are the product of a mother who had enough love, enough patience, enough enthusiasm to keep going even when the going got rough.

You are never alone, because you are doing the Lord's most important work, and He is right there at your side at every moment. When children are being the most unlovable is when they need love the most. That's why God made mothers. - Mary Case, Canoga Park, Calif.

Good attitude

I am a stay-at-home mother with five young children and another on the way. My days are generally full and busy, as may be expected. Sometimes I find that I am feeling dissatisfied and restless with myself or with the situation. I have learned, however, that this feeling usually results from an attitude of, "What do I want? What would make me happy today? How can I help myself have an interesting day?" When I have this selfish attitude, without proper regard for my children and their needs and interests that day, I find this makes me feel unhappy.

On the other hand, when I help meet my children's needs and interests first, and do so with love, I usually find that my own attitude takes care of itself. I find that I have, indeed, had an interesting day and that I feel good about myself. - Lani W. Hill, Mesa, Ariz.

Awesome roles

Many years ago I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mother. I have continued in that career path for 16 years and have five children. Motherhood has been the most challenging work that I have ever participated in.

Even motherhood can become stagnate. If we, as mothers, go through the motions of our awesome roles, without really thinking about what we are doing and why, then we, too, can find ourselves desiring a career change.

The solution is in remembering who we are and what we stand for. I, too, am a daughter of a Heavenly Father, who loves me and I have a noble heritage. That knowledge enables me with power to love my children and to find a renewed conviction to be the best mother I can be. President Ezra Taft Benson's booklet, "To the Mothers in Israel," is like scripture to me, and I live by his counsel.

Find joy in the simple things you do. Remember your temple covenants. Pray to be a tool in helping to build God's kingdom here on earth. Remember, our mortal probation is so short. Love and serve those whom we hold so dear in our hearts. - Esther Jean Cahoon, Plano, Texas

How to checklist:

1 Recognize each child as a

blessing; remember eternal

nature of motherhood.

2 Spend fun time with children;

see life through their eyes.

3 Seek the Lord's guidance

through prayer and scripture


4 Keep journals, scrapbooks

to see children's progress.

Write to us:

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May 23 "How to become more involved in political, community and government affairs."

May 30 "How to find joy in the morning."

June 6 "How to help heal a family after a loved one has caused deep hurt."

June 13 "How to avoid the gambling trap."

June 20 "How to utilize modern technology to enhance family history research."

June 27 "How to help young people learn homemaking skills."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to supplement your regular income," "How to rear children in light and truth," "How to avoid greed," "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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