1.29.2011

Just Don't Sit....

So, I'm halfway through this pregnancy and actually feeling really great.  Except for this week.  It was a very mentally exhausting week, which leads to the feeling of physical exhaustion!  And so I've decided...  As long as I just don't sit down, I will be fine!  Once I sit, the day's pretty much over.  But that's okay, right?  It just gives me more time to read.  And sleep (okay, not so sure about the sleep...).  

This is me, sitting, 4 years ago while expecting #5...
aren't my kids so little & cute?!


1.21.2011

MUSTS, NEEDS & WANTS: The Time Management Cure

So I was just lying in bed, wondering why I couldn't fall asleep.  Then, I remembered I took a nap.  Great for the afternoon, bad for bedtime.  Grrr....   But while I was lying there, my mind kept going over and over blog posts. One of which is about TIME.  I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about doing what you have to do with a cheerful heart.  However, when all you're doing are the things you feel you have to do, life can be a bit less joyful.   Don't you think?  Well, several years ago I came up with a mantra I was going to live by in my life, and it basically involves PRIORITIES. 

In our lives there are MUSTS, NEEDS and WANTS.

MUSTS
As mothers, we all have things we MUST do day in and day out.  You have to change your baby's diaper.  Otherwise...yuck!  You have to do laundry.  You have to get groceries at the store and somehow, some way feed your family (frozen dinners or gourmet meals).  You must sleep, even if you really want to stay awake putting those precious quiet hours to good use!  You must wake up, too.  Sorry!  See? There are things you MUST do throughout your days. 

Even with these MUSTS in our lives, we still have the choice in our perspective of these things.  Do them with a cheerful heart, or begrudge them and try with all our might to fight against them!  That usually doesn't work.  We also have a choice in how far we take these musts.  Yes, we need to do the laundry.  But it is our choice if we starch every white shirt or simply hang them in the closet and hope the people at church don't notice a few wrinkles.  :-)  Either way we do it, it is our choice.  We MUST accept that choice and go about our days.

NEEDS
Our NEEDS are one way we cope with all of the MUSTS in our lives.  This is where I ask myself, "What do I NEED to be emotionally and mentally secure?"  What are some of my NEEDS?  I NEED to have some moments of quiet, spiritual study time in the morning.  That's a need.  Not a must or a want.  I NEED talking time with my husband after the kids have gone to bed each night.  I NEED to write.  Cards, blogs, journals, whatever.  I just need to clear my mind through writing somtimes.  I really, really NEED a good book in my hand at some point throughout the day.  That really is a need.  Not a want.  :-) 

I think part of being a "sane" mother is really knowing your needs.  We give so much of our days, our hours, our minutes to fulfill the needs of others.  This is a GOOD thing!  It is part of our nature to give and to nurture.  But that giving must be balanced with some of our own needs being met.  Nothing too frivolous, mind you.  Be truly introspecitve here and know yourself. Some of you may have on your lists that all you need is chocolate.  If that really is a NEED, then by all means, give yourself some!  :-)

WANTS
We still need to be careful not confusing our WANTS with our NEEDS.  WANTS are just those things that you want to do because it's fun.  NEEDS are something you need on a more regular basis, things you communicate with your husband and your family to be sure they get met sometime in the week.   WANTS are more the not necessarily necessary items on your list.  WANTS are those late night ice cream runs or those days you just want to sit and watch your favorite movie.  WANTS are to be fulfilled when your MUSTS and NEEDS have mostly been met.  WANTS are those little cherries on top of the sundae that you get, hopefully throughout the day.

I know if we prioritize in this way (or similarly), we will get more of what we really want out of our lives.  For me that is more time with my family, more time to serve, and more time to just be.  Prioritizing this way has given me more freedom to say yes to the things I MUST, NEED and WANT to do in my life. 

So, what's funny is that within a few months of coming up with this little mantra of mine, I read a brief bio of Sister Julie B. Beck when she first became General Relief Society president.  This is what was said of her:

To manage her time, she divides priorities into three categories - "must do," "should do," and "nice to do."  Personal prayer, scripture study, temple attendance and family are on her "must do" list.  "I don't know of a woman who doesn't have more to do than she can do," she says, but prioritizing "eliminates guilt.  I'm surprised at how many 'nice to do' things I can get done."

I knew I liked that woman for some reason!  :-)

1.12.2011

Mentoring Mothers: What it Means to Mentor

Our Mentoring Mothers group is back in action!  And I don't know about the other ladies, but for me it was a great uplift and gave me the exact recharge I needed!!

We are still discussing the Love of Learning phase, for us and our children.  I had many things on the agenda, but we ended up using the whole two hours on just learning and discussing what it really means to MENTOR (rather than nagging our children as mothers are so good at doing!).  :-) Most of what we discussed is in Leadership Education by the DeMilles.  I'll try to sum it all up as best I can (but if you really want to be recharged, the meetings are so much better!).

"There is nothing more challenging in the entire educational world than an excellent Love of Learning Phase.  Day in and day out, week after week and year after year, the parent-teacher's role is to inspire the child to happily, consistently and unswervingly study, learn, search, discover, enlighten, know and apply." - - Leadership Education, p. 86

There are 6 "How To's" of Mentoring
1. Use the Classics - we tied this in a bit with the current events "how to" (#4) in how using the classics and history to prepare our children for disasterous or violent things that may happen in our current society.  If we are well-versed in the Classics and our children are familiar with them, it's easier to relate to the events that may be occuring at the present time. 

2. Personalize - We talked extensively about this one!  Sometimes, especially with multiple children and only so much time & energy as a mother/mentor, it is hard to figure out HOW to completely personalize our child's education.  Some ideas we came up with were: 

 - Holding a quality FEC & personal interviews with each child  (this seemed to be #1)
        Of this the DeMilles say, "We discuss the children individually . . . concerns, needs, opportunities, problems, struggles, hopes, fears, doubts, talents, any particular impressions one of us may have regarding them, etc....This is the first and most important step to mentoring a child in any phase (p. 64)."
      
     We also talked about how this doesn't always have to be the formal sit down setting.  One family hold their "meetings" on the parents' bed because it's comfortable and informal feeling.  One father prefers to hold the interviews on an as needed basis while doing other things with an individual child, rather than as a sit down personal interview.  There are ways to make FEC and personal interviews work for YOUR family... it just important to make it happen...consistantly. And sometimes all this means is giving them a chance to talk and knowing you will listen! 

 - Knowing your children - who they are and what they can do
 - Looking at the Adult Skills list in the Home Compaion to see what each child needs
 - Sometimes is requires dropping what you're doing & to get involved with them.  One mother said, "I chose this life."  In other words, it's okay and necessary to put other things on hold to devote to what I have chosen to do, which is being a mother and a mentor for my children. 

3. Keep it Simple - Stick to the basics!  Read, discuss, & write.  One example I think of is my friend, the author of Frolic & Farce .  She covers so much, but keeps it basic and simple...with lots and lots of reading!  We also mentioned the need to be aware of your family rhythms.  Is it a moment for a long, drawn out mini-unit?  Or do we all just need to veg in front of a great classic movie for the afternoon?  We need to be flexible and aware of our family needs rather than sticking strictly to the schedule Mom has in her mind!  :-)

4. Apply lessons to life  (we discussed this along with classics) - We also talked a little bit about being involved in the Great Debate and discussing ideas and current event issues with our children. 

5. Only Accept Quality Work - HOW do you do this (without the nagging and pulling out your hair)?!?
     First - it starts with chores.  Hopefully, simply by saying, "Not good enough, do it again" will sink in one day and they'll realize they will have more time to play if they do it right the first time.  I realized after the discussion that I need to expect more quality work from myself.  Sometimes I do my chores to the "just good enough" stage. 
     Second - This also relates to character building.  We expect quality in characteristics, not just external work.
    Third - often times we need to show them what quality really is, not just expect them to already know.
    Fourth - it's okay to let them fail to discover quality work for themselves.  One mother shared how her daughter started to care about her work when she realized her friends couldn't read her writing. 

6. Set the Example - Involve the children in what MOM is doing, learning, planning, preparing.  Children need to know their opinions matter.  They need to know that their mentor thinks they are capable of doing the things the mentor is currently working on.  Involve your kids in your church lessons, the cooking, your blog posts, your life!  Let them know you want them to be a part of it.  We talked about how making our children feel needed boosts their confidence and gives them that sense of longing to be scholars.  Talk that came up during this discussion was Elder Perry's, "Mothers Teaching Children in the Home" (April 2010).

Here are some of the things we do to be better mentors:
* Seek time with our higher source, alone and prayerful each day
* Getting up early in the morning before the children to center ourselves
* During that time, write inspired thoughts on sticky notes to post where you can see them and be reminded of what you need to do that day/week/month
* Bedtime self-control! 
* Prioritize and lessen the guilt;  clear our plate to devote specific time to our children (i.e. don't give them an assignment and then run to get our stuff done)
* Be aware of our own attitude and reactions throughout the day
*  LOVE - think more of their needs rather than our wants

One Concluding Thought
The overall theme of the day, for me anyway, was that we need to make it a priority to mentor & to focus our energies on what we have chosen to do in our lives.  In doing that we need to free our lives of things that can be put on hold.  We can evaluate what is taking up most of our time and how we can better manage those demands on our time. 

The DeMilles put it nicely, "It is important to have an over-arching view of what you value and how you want to spend your time."  If we can do that on a daily basis, put our values and vision first, we can be successful Mentoring Mothers! 

1.07.2011

The Mind of a Three Year Old

So I just had this conversation with my 3 1/2 yo son.

Son:  Mom, can JL play with the basketball upstairs?
Mom:  I don't care.
Son:  But I just said no to him.

Mom:  Well, you're not in charge.
Son:  Yes I am!
Mom:  You're the one in charge?
Son:  Yeah!

Okay....silly conversation but it tells you everything about this child!!!  I really do think he believes he's in charge and doesn't go by one day without telling me so in one way or another!  Heaven help me!!!

New Year's Resolutions

I'm a goal-setting fanatic!  My husband laughs.  But it's finally starting to rub off not only on him, but my children as well! 

Monday night we had a fabulous (and very simple) family night centered around making goals for the New Year  (I'm sure we weren't the only family doing this!).  In a talk given by Elder Ballard entitled, "Do Things that Make a Difference,"  I found the perfect message I was looking for to teach the kids about goal setting.  He said,

Maybe some of you get weary of listening to the principle of setting goals. But let me tell you something about goal setting. I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principle of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.

Reaching our full potential.  It's haunting sometimes to think that I may not be doing the things that lead me to reaching my full potential.  It's comforting, on the other hand, to know that I'm doing one thing right (setting goals), or at least headed in the right direction.  The next step is making sure the goals I set coincide with what the Lord needs me to focus on and that the goals are pertinent to my current life situation.  That is the biggest thing I've learned in the last year about fulfilling your mission in life:  tuning in your desires to the circumstances of your life.


After reading this talk by Sister Beck and this talk by President Eyring, I've started to pay more attention to the daily promptings that lead me further on my mission.  It's important to have some general goals, and some concrete goals for the future, I sitll believe that.  But it's also just as, if not more, important to go day by day with the the things the Lord, your family and others need you to do.  Sometimes that means taking time for yourself as well.  :-) 

For instance, this year we will be having another baby!  Yay!  I put that on my list of goals for 2011 knowing that that may be the only goal that gets completed 100%.  But it's an important one, and I need to keep in mind the fact that that is my priority, my mission for this year  (along with keeping tabs on the other five I already need to nurture!).  Putting this on my goal list has given me to courage to say no to some things that I really wanted to do, and yet saying no to those things has freed me physically and mentally.  I love it! 

Now back to our family night.   Elder Ballard also mentions that one sure way of keeping up on your goals is writing them down and putting them in a place where you can see them regularly. I was quite impressed with myself this year in the goals I did accomplish (I usually make 10 each year), mostly because I had posted them right on the wall in front of my bathroom toilet.  My kids even remarked that they would read my goals every time they used my bathroom!  :-)  And so the kids were eager Monday night to make their own lists.  Some of my kids made more goals than others.  One daughter spent the next afternoon making her list all fancy!  I'm hoping that I can keep tabs on them throughout the year (without the nagging tone in my voice!) so we can all accomplish our goals together.

1.05.2011

Book Blitz Month

Just for Your Information....


This month is Book Blitz Month!  We are doing a blitz on book reading at our house and trying to read 100 books by the end of the month.  If we accomplish our goal we get to have an all day movie day!  We made our chain strips this morning, when the chain is complete, we get our fun! 

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!
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