March 31, 2014

Balancing Motherhood and a Career

I'm of the opinion that a career should accommodate motherhood--not the other way around. There are ways for a career to accommodate motherhood.

1. Acquire a post-secondary education. Even an eight-week course can boost your earnings. This way you can work fewer hours with higher pay. Single mothers especially benefit from extra education.

2. Keep current with your industry. Regularly read industry literature. Keep a current license. This way you can resume your career more easily at a later time. For example, some of my friends as nurses and dental hygienists, work one or two shifts a month to keep their licenses current. Volunteer.

3. Make your work schedule fit your children's schedule. For example, my mother waited until her youngest attended school to start working again. I'm working a few hours around my children's sleep schedule and when they play independently.

4. Work somewhere that keeps you available to your children, if possible. My mother became the assistant librarian at the high school that my siblings and I attended. We could drop by and talk to her or hang out in the library anytime. Now that the internet is so accessible, telecommuting is a wonderful option.

5. Work less so you have more energy for your children. As I wrote on another post, "I know a full-time job would exhaust me to where I couldn't give my best self to my children."

There are ways to simply avoid working altogether. I believe the husband is the primary breadwinner. He needs to feel the responsibility to provide for his family. If the mother works too much, then the husband doesn't feel that burden. Live within your current budget. Distinguish between a want and a need. It's possible.

Some mothers need a small outlet. If you can earn money with your hobby, then great.

Single mothers often have no choice but to work. Or a mother must work because her husband can't. Hopefully, these suggestions will help any of you in these types of situations.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

March 25, 2014

Effects of Child Abuse Follow into Adulthood

I see abuse affects some adults and children around me. If that adult had one abusive parent and a parent who stood up against the abuse, that adult has thrived. But I've seen adults who had two abusive parents--or one abusive parent and the other parent choose to cower, ignore the abuse, or condone it--and those adults struggle.

Abuse comes in many forms, some so subtle or so blatant. The abusive parent rules through fear and hides their abuse. The abusive parent will manipulate a child into silence or to blatantly lie. Many times the children and parents present a happy facade. This happy facade sometimes continues into the children's adulthood.

Children often don't recognize the abuse; they think it is normal. It's normal for mom or dad to hit them, slap them, or spank them too hard. It's normal for mom or dad to touch them inappropriately. It's normal when mom or dad criticizes them and never gives praise. It's normal when the parent says how disappointed he or she is to make a child feel worthless. It's normal when a parent deliberately and deeply embarrasses a child as discipline.

Because children and later as adults feel abuse is normal, they will joke about being slapped silly, knocked upside the head, or whatever. They tell childhood stories as jokes and gloss over the morality of the abusive parent's action.

These adults still let their parents control them to a certain extent. They won't speak negative truths about an abusive parent because of the fear instilled in them as children. They can criticize the other parent, but anyone hints anything negative about the abusive parent, and suddenly siblings backbite, criticize, name call, use sarcasm, give the "silent treatment," etc. Often they won't admit the truth of abuse to themselves. Just think of Dobby in Harry Potter who punishes himself for stating a negative fact about his master. Just keeps banging his head.

Somewhere these chains of fear must be broken. Adults need to recognize the abuse and watch their actions toward others. Are they repeating the abuse? Are they still letting the abusive parent influence them negatively?

Most of all, adults need to be honest with themselves, their parents and others around them. Truth sets us free from the spiritual burden. Truth may come with a price...maybe worldly prestige, a loss of physical security, etc. But truth and knowledge is the only way to stop the abuse; either to imprison the abuser, or let others know that person shouldn't be entrusted with children. Even if the abuser repents, he or she needs to avoid temptation.

Please leave comments if you have any more insight. Do so anonymously, if need be. This knowledge helps others recognize, avoid and stop abuse.

March 23, 2014

Reasons why I'm a stay at home mom

Probably once a month I tell my husband I want to work outside the home. And then I remind myself why I stay at home with my children.

My children were sent to me from Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father entrusted me with my three boys. I am their mother and no one else. No one else can mother them like I can. There is a reason God sent these specific souls to my household...for my growth and their own.

I stay home with my children because I would miss out on their "firsts." My husband complains that I usually see the first smile or the first step. Yes, I do.

I stay home with my children because they need an engaged mother in their development. I teach them what they need to know.

I discipline and teach my children my values. I can't trust another relative, neighbor or daycare worker with the moral development of my child.

I protect my children from harmful influences in the media and harmful people. I cannot monitor what a friend or grandparent watches in front of my children. My children might be exposed to mild to hard pornography, swearing, violence, rude humor, etc from their entertainment choices. I cannot trust any jolly-looking grandparent, neighbor, or daycare worker from sexually, physically or emotionally abusing my children.

I stay home so my children feel comfortable sharing their joys and sorrows with me. I hope to gain their trust for their teenage years ahead.

I instill independence in my children. I let them work out differences if they do it calmly. My oldest sometimes chooses on his own when he needs time alone.

I stay home to save us money. I make meals. I potty train the kids. I clean the house. I feed my kids. That saves so much in daycare, going out to eat, a maid service, etc.

This is where I belong.

Sometimes, I need an outlet. So I write, take walks with other moms, etc. There are other outlets like volunteering at church, school or scouting for a few hours a week. I take time away. We all need a chance to rejuvenate. I know a a full-time job would simply exhaust me where I couldn't give my best self to my children. My eternal joy is with my husband and children...not my coworkers.

Why do you enjoy or sometimes feel frustrated about being a mother?

March 19, 2014

Silence as Communication

Silence is a powerful form of communication. It can be used in healthy and unhealthy ways.

Silence is healthy when we need to process the world around us. When we become upset, we can "control our speech muscles" so as not to hurt with our words (Abraham Low). Occasionally, we need time to cool down our emotions. We need time to respond thoughtfully. We also enjoy time meditating and relaxing. These silences strengthen our relationships with ourselves and others.

Being silent because of fear is unhealthy. Sometimes we are afraid to speak because we'd have to face reality. Someone who is sick may not want to share an illness with a loved one because he or she wants to deny reality, but that creates a schism. It erodes trust. It's important to face reality with courage.

Another unhealthy silence is the infamous "silent treatment." The silent treatment is a manipulation technique. It is an attempt to punish unfairly, shame or control another.

Thus, let us reflect upon our silences and use them to benefit ourselves and those around us.

March 15, 2014

Moonbeam

I spill a moonbeam
Across your face
While you do dream
Of a heavn'ly place.

I stream in sunshine
Through your window,
And yet you whine
Of my sun’s glow.

I whisper to you,
“I love you so!
I really do.”
Yet you don’t know.

I weep from above.
I groan within:
“Remember my love!
Let yourself grin.”

Again my moonbeam
Shines on your face
While you do dream
Of a heavn'ly place.

A Dying Ember

You give me honor, my dear precious child.
Be not of the world; return to me undefiled.

Most of all remember, I love you.
I sent my Son to earth to rescue you.

A moment in time before this life,
Slips from my mind amid the world’s strife.

Within my heart, a dying ember,
A memory of home, I can vaguely remember.

The love I felt I yearn to feel again,
Yet I don’t know where to find it among men.

Then one day someone mentions a God—
A Heavenly Father; my head begins to nod.

A dying ember becomes a fire
As I remember God’s word inspired.

March 06, 2014

Hope in Adversity

I recently read The Gift of Angels by Rachel Nunes. Angela, the main character, suffers from pancreatic cancer and struggles to accept her diagnosis. She studies the story of Lot and his wife in the Bible. Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at Sodom. Angela realizes she needs to look to the present and make it the best she can.

In Doctrine and Covenants 122:7, the Lord states to Joseph Smith while he is in jail: "... if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

Experience is related to the word throw; and good relates to the Sanskrit gadhya which means "what one clings to."


Now imagine being thrown about in fierce winds. What do you cling to so you can survive the winds? Something good, like God.


Each of us experience adversity. Heavenly Father sent us to Earth to be tested, so we can grow. Heavenly Father sent his Son on Earth to experience mortal suffering too. Through Jesus' Atonement, we can receive comfort.

Thoughts on Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden

I recently read Glimmer of Hope by Eden and felt it had a worthwhile tale to summarize. Beware, it will be a SPOILER ALERT. But I just have to share.

This takes place in England during the early 1800s. The couple married without the husband's parents ever meeting the wife. The couple enjoyed each other's company and then he left for a session of Parliament in London. The father convinced his son to leave his new wife at home because she wasn't ready to be a political hostess yet. The wife was disappointed when she didn't get to go to London.

After a three year separation, they meet by accident at one of their estates. It's a house party so they have to pretend to get along in front of others. They both thought each other had abandoned the other spouse. The husband's mother is there and exacts her daughter-in-law to play hostess beyond her physical ability. The couple slowly grows closer. After the wife collapses, he discovers she has a heart ailment. The wife's grandfather asks why he never responded to all her letters. The husband then discovers that his late father and mother had withheld all his wife's letters. The parents knew she hadn't left him--she physically couldn't return--but they assumed the wife would ruin their son's political career. The parents feared he would return to his wife.

The couple works through their misunderstandings. The wife tells her husband not to have regret, but enjoy the present and look to the future. The husband admits that if had he known all this, his parents' influence would have affected his decisions to a certain extent, but not kept him away as much.

Parents usually positively influence their children, but a few parents do not have their child's best interest in mind. Children need to know their parent's intentions, and not let them manipulate them in anyway. This is just so critical concerning marriages. There are running jokes about in-laws, which occasionally has truth to it. The relationship with the spouse takes precedence over parents.

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" Matthew 19:6

March 03, 2014

Spiritual Health Affects Mental Health

I find that reading my scriptures and praying daily improves my mood considerably. Attending church, following the commandments, and serving others helps too.

I've seen people who are depressed because of sin and addiction. Repentance and spiritual health will lift the spiritual depression.

We all have some form of pain. Some have PTSD from abuse, war, death, etc and depression along with it. Jesus can help ease our suffering. He experienced every pain and illness in Gethsamane and on the cross. We are not alone in our pain. Sometimes even miracles happen in many sizes, like a neighbor calling.


The Basic Recipe for Sanity

My MTC mission companion commented that she needed reminding to take care of herself. That's so true. She mentioned several things in her comment. When I keep up with daily basics for my physical health, I manage much better.

Physical do's: sleep enough, eat healthy, and exercise.

I like to read, or watch TV late into the night. It messes up my rhythm and my family's when I do that. I need to go to bed by at least ten to do well the next day since having a schedule. My brain races for 30-60 minutes after I crawl into bed sometimes, even though I take sleeping pills. I have to avoid caffeine and chocolate in the evening too. I have a poster in the kitchen listing why I should go to bed by 9:30: more energy, have no regrets (like yelling at my kids), happier countenance, become ill less often, enjoy children more, and accomplish more.

Before kids and when I didn't have early classes or work, I could go to bed and sleep in and still function well as long as I slept eight or more hours. So when you go to bed doesn't have to always be early.

I know eating healthy will make a difference. I'm not always on top of that. Really, I need to do so to lose weight and have more energy. Sometimes I try to focus on getting my veggies in. Betsy Schow's book, Finished Being Fat, talks about focusing on goals that you can control, such as eating enough veggies.

My psychiatrist says that exercise is like a magic pill for mental health. She also said exercise does wake your body, so you should leave a two hour window afterward before going to sleep. I exercise off and on. I have found that having stairs in my house helps me even when I don't actively exercise.

Anyone can do exercise. I know injury, weight, etc, limits types of exercise, but it isn't an excuse. I see people with injuries on Biggest Loser, who swim or use the elliptical if they have a bad knee or bad back. Moses, on one season, just shadowboxed sitting down and he lost one hundred pounds. I would suggest getting advice from someone or online to accommodate your body.

You don't need a gym membership either to exercise. Just moving in any fashion at home, work, or wherever makes a difference.

Now I better do as I say :)