Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I was asked to speak in church on Mother’s Day about mothers. The sad thing is, at 2 am that morning I got sick and wasn’t even able to go to church to give my talk. Jeanette, one of my very good friends asked if I would post my talk. Well, here it is……
My name is Nikki Baker. My husband Joel and I have been in the ward now for 2 years. I'm a mother to 3 boys. Jaden who's 5 and Preston and Landon who are now 15 months.
While researching for my topic today, I came across a Job Description that was advertising for a Mother. It reads:
TITLE: Mommy, Mom or Mother
Team player needed for a challenging position in a chaotic working environment.
Duration of the position: forever. Successful candidate will maximize learning potential of all subordinates and supply general coziness to the workspace. Candidate will possess excellent communication skills and must be able to “count to 3.”
Must be willing to work ridiculous hours and be on call 24/7. Overnight travel is also required and will include trips to small guest rooms of varying relatives, gross port-a-potties and desolate muddy campsites.
The successful candidate will provide transportation and entertainment along with medical, technical and emotional support to all subordinates and is responsible for repeated follow-up.
There will be a strong focus on equipment and supplies needed to run a Food Service operation. This job requires management skills and a tremendous need for patience. Responsibilities also include laundry, maintenance and janitorial work (including disposal of poop and throw-up.)
Candidate must possess catlike reflexes in case someone falls off the bathroom counter. Candidate must also have the strength of a pack mule and be able to carry a baby, two bags of groceries, a purse and a diaper bag all in one hand.
TYPICAL DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES:
"This description is not intended to be an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of all that may be required."
1. Outgoing calls to doctors, dentists, tutors, playmates, cousins and grandparents
2. Initiating, following up and/or attending (when required) appointments, recitals, birthday parties, “shows,” fishing trips, teacher conferences, family reunions, field trips, playdates, vacations, summer camps, sleepovers, swimming lessons, dance lessons, music lessons and (I added) Church, Scouts, Achievement Days, Mutual, Boy or Girls Camp, EFY, Ward Parties and any other church function.
3. Candidate must be willing to be hated occasionally
4. Efficient data entry including school and medical records, baby book and scrapbook entries, letters to pen-pals, Santa and the Tooth Fairy
5. Preparing estimates (for groceries, Christmas lists, orthodontist bills and birthday presents)
6. Internet research: educational toys, safety recalls, G-rated movies, craft ideas, free family events and the closest garage sales. Also needs ability to navigate PBSkids.org
OTHER DESIRED ASSETS:
7. Awareness of organic foods, phosphate-free dishwasher liquid, and all-natural shampoos.
8. Familiarity with Fair Trade principles (for example, “I will give my little sister a cracker if she’ll give me all of her Halloween candy” = NOT a Fair Trade)
9. The candidate must be willing to alternate between being loved desperately one minute and deemed an embarrassment the next
No previous experience is required, but on-the-job training is offered on a continual basis, whether the candidate wants it or not.
KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS REQUIRED:
1. Excellent interpersonal communication skills, especially at eye level and while in public at the grocery store or while singing lullabies
2. Strong problem solving skills and sound judgment (may be compromised because of job-related sleep-deprivation)
3. Strong attention to detail (for example., “Does everyone have on underwear?”)
4. Excellent multi-tasking and organizational skills with the ability to set priorities and meet deadlines (For Example., feed the baby, make breakfast, make beds, wipe juice off the floor, get everyone dressed, put lunch in the crockpot, find 2 blankets and 4 Jackets, tie 6 shoes, let the dog out and change a load of laundry all before leaving for an 8am doctor appointment)
5. Ability to work with a team (for example., handing out brooms and dust-rags before cranking up Annie’s “It’s the Hard-Knock Life”) for cleaning day
No salary. No insurance. No pension. No paid overtime. No paid holidays. No time off.
No opportunities for advancement. Candidate will be expected to fill the same position forever without resigning. Candidate assumes complete accountability for the quality of the end product and is responsible for maintaining a thorough file of “Mommy-guilt” throughout all eternity.
Unlimited smiles, hugs, snuggles and kisses for life. Successful candidate has immediate tenure and can never be replaced.
Now I don't know about you, but if I had seen this ad before I became a mother, I don't know if I would have been so quick to apply?
and I think I'm getting jipped on my benefits. My 5 year old thinks he's too cool now to give me hugs and kisses.
In all seriousness I do want to talk today about mothers.
The essential role of mothers
Finding Joy in the journey
Are we not all mothers
and Honoring our mothers
I have been a mother now for 5 and a half years and find it to be the most exhausting job I have ever done, yet it is such a rewarding joyful and fun blessing to have in my life.
Through this talk I hope it helps us to better know our role as a mothers, helps us to find joy in our journey as mothers and to know that each one of us women are mothers and how we can honor our mothers.
I'm going to first talk about our essential role as a mother:
In the Family A Proclamation to the world it says:
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Elder Ballard affirms mothers’ divine role in cherishing and teaching their children. by saying, “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother,” he says. “Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children.” Elder Ballard acknowledges that some women are “able to be ‘full-time moms,’ [and that] some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work,” but that “what matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.”
I remember a time in my life when I had to go back to work and put my barley 1 year old baby Jaden into day care so I could help the family out financially so my husband could go back to school. It was a very hard time for me to leave my baby for someone else to care for him. I was heartbroken when for mother's day he had made me a picture frame out of popsicle sticks and the picture they had taken of him was with tears in his eyes and snot running down his nose. I remember bursting into tears because someone wasn't taking care of my baby as well as I would. I remember Joel giving me many blessings for comfort and encouragement to keep going so he could get through his schooling and so I could get back to being home. I remember in those blessings him talking about the sacrifice that I was making would be worth it and that I will be blessed for it. We had put on hold having more children so we could accomplish this goal.
It was 4 years later that we were blessed and shocked with the opportunity to have twin boys. I knew it was a blessing from heavenly father for me to raise these wonderful boys. We not any had healthy babies, but were back on track with the number of kids we wanted at this stage in life.
Next I would like to talk about having joy in the journey.
Elder Russell Ballard of the quarm of the twelve in a talked once said, " I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being."
Every year my parents put together a family CD of songs that represent different things that have happened that year to people in the family. In addition each family member and their now family get's to choose any song of their choice to represent them for that year. Last year I focused on making the most of everyday and every moment.
The song that I chose was from Loren Alaena and I'd like to read you some of the words:
Take each day and make it last
Cause you turn around and the future is the past
Here and now is all we have
The beginning and the end mean so little
What matters most is what's in the middle
Makes me smile when I look back to every summer
You forget your birthday and just laugh; say it's just a number
But Sunday afternoons, they meant so much to you
The simple things were golden, you found beauty in every moment
The day you're born is just a start
Your last breath is a question mark
The story of your life is in the in-between
I love the words of this song because it reminds me of the short time we have here on earth with our children and that we need to make the most of our time with them. To spend that time as quality time.
In a talk Elder Ballard gave on Daughters of God he asked multiple questions. One being:
What can you do, as a young mother, to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?
First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”
I have tried hard to make everyday a fun one that is filled with not only the things I have to do but thinks my kids and I want to do. Every season I make a Fun list of things to do for that particular season. It can include fun places we want to go, movies we want to see for the season, fun treats to make, crafts and activities to do at home, games to play and festive activities to partake in. After compiling our list we hang it on fun paper on our pantry for all to see and throughout the season we refer to it for what we want to do and check it off as we have finished it. We have so many fun memories now of things we have done and when things come up that we want to do, my son Jaden will often say let's add that to our list of fun things to do!!
Continuing on Brother Ballards question....
Second, don’t over schedule yourselves or your children. We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together.
Third, even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children. Avoid any kind of substance abuse, mistakenly thinking that it will help you accomplish more. And don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the time-wasting, mind-numbing things like television soap operas or surfing the Internet. Turn to the Lord in faith, and you will know what to do and how to do it.
I find this so true. On nights when my husband works, After all the kids have gone to bed, I take a deep breath of relief and use that little precious time for me. I'll find doing simple things like, taking a nice bubble bath, watching a favorite show, writing in my journal, reading a good book or doing my nails is so relaxing and rejuvenating that I am recharged and ready for the next day and all the demands that come with it.
I remember back to when I went to EFY I went to a class that gave some great advise that pertains to this topic today.
The first is
1. Don't compare ourselves with others"
2. Choose to be yourself meaning:
Be a good example, have good values, have self confidence, and keep your standards.
3. Choose good friends ones that will support and love you
4. Try to never be ashamed of what you say or do.
5. Be outgoing to others
6. Choose to see success in failures.
7. Choose to work hard for what you want
I now would like to talk a little bit about those that are unable to have children.
In a talk given by Sheri Dew called "Are we not all mothers" she explains it best when she tells of a story from her past:
This summer four teenage nieces and I shared a tense Sunday evening when we set out walking from a downtown hotel in a city we were visiting to a nearby chapel where I was to speak. I had made that walk many times, but that evening we suddenly found ourselves engulfed by an enormous mob of drunken parade-goers. It was no place for four teenage girls, or their aunt, I might add. But with the streets closed to traffic, we had no choice but to keep walking. Over the din, I shouted to the girls, “Stay right with me.” As we maneuvered through the crush of humanity, the only thing on my mind was my nieces’ safety.
Thankfully, we finally made it to the chapel. But for one unnerving hour, I better understood how mothers who forgo their own safety to protect a child must feel. My siblings had entrusted me with their daughters, whom I love, and I would have done anything to lead them to safety. Likewise, our Father has entrusted us as women with His children, and He has asked us to love them and help lead them safely past the dangers of mortality back home.
She goes on later in her talk to say:
Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality,4 righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood.5 Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
Nevertheless, the subject of motherhood is a very tender one, for it evokes some of our greatest joys and heartaches. This has been so from the beginning. Eve was “glad” after the Fall, realizing she otherwise “never should have had seed.”9 And yet, imagine her anguish over Cain and Abel. Some mothers experience pain because of the children they have borne; others feel pain because they do not bear children here. About this Elder John A. Widtsoe was explicit: “Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.”10
For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.
Other prophets and apostles teach that because the work of nurturing has eternal significance, it can be exercised throughout life, whether or not a woman has children. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, says, “If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.”
Echoing President Uchtdorf, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirms that the roles and blessings of motherhood need not be exclusive to those with children of their own: “To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring ‘hope to [the] desolate heart.’” Elder Holland promises “ultimately ‘no blessing shall be withheld’ from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately. In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.”
Last I would like to talk about Honoring our Mothers.
Among the blessings of each of our lives, mothers should hold a special place of honor, President Thomas S. Monson says. “Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the shadow of death to give us birth, deserves our undying gratitude.”
“Love your mother,” Elder Ballard implores. “Respect her. Listen to her. Trust her. … Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness.”
What can we do to show gratitude? To husbands, Elder Ballard suggests the following:
- Show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice her efforts and say thank you—often. Schedule some evenings together, just the two of you.
- Have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child’s needs and what you can do to help.
- Give your wife a “day away” now and then. Take over the household and give your wife a break from her daily responsibilities. Taking over for a while will greatly enhance your appreciation of what your wife does.
- Come home from work and take an active role with your family. Don’t put work, friends, or sports ahead of listening to, playing with, and teaching your children.
To children and youth, Elder Ballard suggests:
- Pick up your toys when you are finished playing with them, and when you get a little older, you can make your bed, help with the dishes, and do other chores—without being asked.
- Say thank you more often when you finish a nice meal, when a story is read to you at bedtime, or when clean clothes are hung in your closet or put in your drawers.
- Most of all, you can put your arms around your mother often and tell her you love her.
Those that know me well know that I keep a historical log of my life since I was a child. In written journals, scrapbooks, digital scrapbooks, photo shows and home movies. When I am older and my kids are all out of the house, I hope to have these memories to look back on all the moments that we had. I find comfort too in that my own mother has made it a priority to scrapbook her life as well for us to look back on when she is gone.
In conclusion I hope that we all take a moment today and remember what our mothers roles are. What they have done and continue to do in our lives. How have our mothers impacted our lives to shape us into who we are today. I hope we can remember those that aren't able to have children and to remember that they too are mothers maybe not in the sense that we all think of but that they have a divine role to play in this life as being nurturers and leaders to our children and others. I hope that we take the time to ever day not just today to honor our mothers and their sacrifices they have made on our behalf. The efforts, love and support they give to use constantly. In closing, I would like to read the words to a song that I love.
Mama thank you for who I am
Thank you for all the things I'm not
Forgive me for the words unsaid
For the times
Mama remember all my life
You showed me love,You sacrificed
Think of those young and early days
How I've changed
along the way
And I know you believed
And I know you had dreams
And I'm sorry it took all this time to see
That I am where I am because of your truth
I miss you, I miss you
Mama forgive the times you cried
Forgive me for not making right
All of the storms I may have caused
And I've been wrong
Dry your eyes
Mama I hope this makes you smile
I hope you're happy with my life
At peace with every choice I made
How I've changed
Along the way
And I know you believed in all of my dreams
And I owe it all to you, Mama