Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FREE Christmas Devotional Booklet

I am so excited to share my latest project with my readers and homeschooling friends!

I have put together a FREE e-book of one of my favorite traditions that will be available DECEMBER 1st!!!
  • It's a Homeschool Christmas Devotional book for short and sweet, daily homeschool lessons during the holidays, 
  • OR a Devotional Booklet for any family that would like to implement family Christmas devotionals as part of their yuletide celebrations.

What are Homeschool Christmas devotionals?

Each year at Christmastime, I used to feel over-whelmed at the thought of continuing a full home-schooling schedule. 

But then, I found that if I combined an old family tradition of nightly Christmas devotionals with our daily "Table Time," I could still be consistent with covering some learning basics.

This idea also enables me to simplify our daily lessons, help my children build their testimonies of Jesus Christ, and allows us to enjoy the festivities and lovely feelings of this very special time of year.

The booklet will have SEVENTEEN devotionals that you can use between December 1st and December 23rd. That is enough devotionals for 5 days a week from the beginning of the month until Christmas Eve.

This new resource will come directly to the email boxes of those who subscribe to this blog. 

To do that, fill in the "Subscribe" box on the right sidebar. >>>

How do the devotionals work?

There are several options for each day's devotional-- and the beauty is that each family can choose what to include in their own devotional, and what they don't need. But the options are there for them!
For our family, I like to include:
  • A scripture for copy-work (handwriting practice)
  • A Christmas carol to sing together
  • A beautiful piece of artwork to study and discuss or replicate
  • A short story or poem to read aloud
Another great thing to add is a chapter book that the family is reading aloud together throughout the season. (See the booklist of suggested Christmas read-aloud books at the back of this booklet for some ideas.)

I hope you will enjoy these devotionals as much as our family does.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blog in the right sidebar to get yours on December 1st!

Lots of love,
Mama Rachel

Monday, November 28, 2016

25 Days to Light the World

Can you imagine a world where millions of people are looking for ways to help and serve others in need?

Can you envision how it would feel to get involved in loving and assisting your fellow men in small, simple ways for just twenty-five days?

Can good people everywhere put the needs of others before their own for just one month?

Can God's children try their best to follow the example of His holy, perfect Son?

We CAN! And it's happening, beginning this December first.

The idea of this thrills me to me to my very core.

Millions of individuals will be making the world a better, more loving, more giving, more holy place in the Christmas season to come.

Will you join us???

You can #LighttheWorld , too.

With love and hope for a BRIGHT December,

Mama Rachel

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Strong and United Families

Even when we have struggles, when a child goes astray, or outside difficulties cause despair, we can still be united in love and kindness as a family. 

In fact, it is the LOVE we have for each other that carries us and brings us together as a powerful force for good.

If we daily repent, keep praying together, share the word of God with one another in order to keep the Holy Spirit in our home, and then love UNCONDITIONALLY, we can still have an STRONG, UNIFIED family!

Even though I have have a struggling son, he knows that we love him and that he is always welcome in our home. He continues to be an integral part of a family who needs him.

And that is making all the difference in the healing of our relationship.

Mama Rachel

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

So Many Great Things

Halloween at Dad's work party

 It has been quite some time since I last updated this blog with all the personal goings-on at our house, and for that I apologize. 

Honestly, I have been busy this last year trying to figure out what the Lord has planned for me, and what I should be focusing on. 

With our baby now being over age two, and no more babies seeming to appear on the horizon-- not to mention learning to navigate the world with adult children-- I have been doing quite a bit of self-examination. 

Here are some of the questions I've been pondering:

  • Who am I, now that I am moving out of the "having-babies" years?
  • Which of my too-many projects should I focus on?
  • How do I give up on some of the projects I have started?
  • Should I really try to turn any of my projects into businesses?
  • Which ones?
  • Which projects should I abandon?
  • Why do I make my life harder on myself?! (HA!!!)

Great Thing #1

In the meantime, I have had to put off answering some of these questions, because our oldest son recently had something GREAT happen to him:

Down on one knee...

He has been dating an adorable girl that he has grown to love, and just over a week ago, he asked her to marry him!

Amanda + Brennan

The wedding is set for January 13th in the Gilbert, Arizona LDS Temple. YAY!!! 

*much rejoicing all around*

Thus, planning a wedding has become my newest, most immediate project. Funny how the Lord answered that prayer for clarification, huh?

Great Thing #2

My darling 18 year old daughter

My second daughter (fourth child) recently finished something very difficult that she has been working on since she turned twelve years old. In our church, our young ladies in the Young Women's Program can earn an award similar to the Eagle Scout for boys, but the goals and achievements are focused more on their relationship with God, and their self-improvement in many areas of life.

She received a medallion necklace charm that she can wear throughout her life to remind her of God's love for her, and all she has learned and become in the past six years.

This is an enormous accomplishment for our daughter, and we are so grateful for the good she is doing in her life!

Great Thing #3

So grown-up!

Last week, our sweet eighth child turned ELEVEN YEARS OLD!

I can hardly fathom this fact, but there she is above, looking more pretty and grown up than ever.


She didn't ask for any toys on her list, but I couldn't bear to have one of these last few birthdays before teenage-hood happen without toys, so I did buy her a doll.

And she loved it!


Great Thing #4

My husband and I at Halloween
This last "Great Thing" has been affecting me even more personally than all those other great things above, and it is the most difficult thing for me to talk about.

Ever since I became a teenager, I have struggled with my weight and my self image.

And finally this past year, I have been personally working through my Church's twelve step program because of my addiction to food.

It is very difficult for me to share that so publicly, but at the same time, it is silly for me to pretend that I have not had a healthy relationship with food for most of my life.

After spending the summer working through the first few steps of the program, I heard a podcast interview with a lady named Susan Peirce Thompson

After hearing her talk extensively and scientifically about food addiction, my husband and I did all kinds of research on her and her program to help people overcome that addiction. He was ready to begin adding Bright Lines to his eating habits, but I was still not ready.

After a month of watching him, pondering, praying, and studying the guidelines for health found in our religion's Word of Wisdom, I decided to set some Bright Lines for myself.

Though we have not purchased a program, or using any special ingredients or products, this new way of eating has been going VERY well for both my husband and I; he has been tracking his weight, and has now lost more than forty pounds! I have not been tracking my weight, but I have had the brain fog lifted from my mind, better health and looser clothes and even shoes. 

I know we have a long was to go, but it has been so helpful to support each other on this new path. Even more importantly, we have found that as we follow the Lord's plan for our health, and ask for His almighty help in prayer, we can literally overcome the food addictions that have taken over our lives for many years! 

I am excited to share part of my "Great Journey Out of Addiction" here with my wonderful readers, as well as the other "Great Things" we have coming up.

Much love, my friends!

Mama Rachel

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rise Up

We live in a day and age where goodness is not championed.

We live in a time where the virtue of women is not defended and protected.

We live in a world where motherhood is undervalued, dismissed, and even ridiculed.

So what can we do???

We can stand up for the good, the praise-worthy, the lovely, and the divine.

We can proudly live virtuous lives, and show the world what a woman with strong standards looks like.

We can defend our homes and our children from evil influences and loose morality.

We can treat the service we give in motherhood as the divine calling from God that it is. 

We can nurture and influence our children to live righteous lives, and to not excuse wickedness.

We truly CAN "rise up to become the women of faith and courage our Father in Heaven needs us to be."

And we can begin TODAY.

With love,
Mama Rachel

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Focus on JOY!

"The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives
and everything to do with the focus of our lives."
~Russell M. Nelson

 I don't know one mother in the world who has not struggled.

Not one.

We all have down days, times of discouragement, lost dreams, and frustrations.

But as mothers, we also have amazing experiences that are filled with JOY!

So, where is our focus? Do we dwell on the negative, or do we find the joy in the here and now?

And then, when we ponder on what CAN be, do we have the vision to see the bliss and happiness that is to come?

It's all about HOPE. It's the hope we have in the eternal that can bring us even more joy than we are now capable of understanding.

And because of that bright eternity, we can have joy TODAY.

Rejoicing with you,
Mama Rachel

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eternal Influence and Power

"There is eternal influence and power in motherhood."
~Julie B. Beck 

In the busy-ness and chaos of life, I often forget that the work I am doing in my home is divine.

Not a difficult thing to forget-- amiright???

As I think about the work I am doing, my mind first goes to the images of smeared toothpaste on bathroom mirrors, changing dirty diapers, piles of laundry, and dishes that need to be done.


But then I also remember the blanket forts, the scribbled notes that say "I love you," the snuggles in the morning, the way my four year old son will let only me kiss him, the eyes of raptured attention when my children beg for me to "read one more chapter!"

My work may seem small, ordinary, and unimportant. But I am building nations, cultures, societies.

The world.

Oh, yes. I have an influence.

I have the power to change the world.

I am a mother.

Mama Rachel

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Priorities as a Mother

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." 
~Thomas S. Monson

I am embarrassed to admit that I too often have a weakness for being caught up in the unimportant and brushing aside the things that are important to my children.

Today I need the following reminders:
  • My children are not distractions from my work-- they ARE my work!
  • Nurturing my family includes the mundane tasks as well as being present for the pivotal crossroads of life. And both are my calling and mission from God. 
  • God is counting on me to love and raise these children to become the people that he needs them to be.
  • My efforts in my home are ETERNAL. My efforts with my projects and business are only temporary.
TODAY I will focus on the hearts of my children, rather than the scope of my influence out in the world.

TODAY I will be the mother God and my children need me to be.

TODAY I will keep my focus and priorities where they should be.

I know I can do it, with the Lord's help.

Mama Rachel

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Traditional Homemaking Skills: Are They Relevant Today?

It's been more than six years since I wrote THIS, and yet it's still the most read post we have here at the Old-Fashioned Motherhood blog.

I actually feel it's not my best writing, but as I have pondered on why the subject is something that resonates with people, I have come to realize some things:

1) We live in a day when most things are temporary. 

In the modern world, we might wonder why we should repair clothing, or cook meals at home when we can get a new outfit or a delicious, warm meal by driving down the road and spending relatively little money.

Unfortunately, this mindset has made its way into essential elements of society itself, such as marriage. But that's a post for another day...

2) We are becoming more dependent upon large corporations and government agencies.

I continue to ponder about my appreciation for the ease and comfort of our modern world while still yearning for the strength and liberty that hard work and self-reliance generate.

So while a cake mix is much easier to make than baking a cake from scratch, processed foods will never be as healthy to eat as home-baked creations. The same can be said for produce we buy verses the gardens we grow, and businesses we create as opposed to corporate or government jobs.

Everything has a price; so has our convenience come at the cost of our independence? It is a paradox, for sure, but can a balance be found? 

I believe that this is one of the biggest challenges of our day and age!

3) We are losing vital skills that will not be easily found if they are ever needed again.

This concern was the catalyst that drove me to create this blog back in 2007. I took a good, hard look at my mother and grandmothers, and realized that they had a wealth of homemaking knowledge that I would most likely never have in my lifetime. 

While I am so grateful that I have not experienced the hardships that my fore-mothers have faced, I feel the loss of their skills as a nagging concern in the back of my mind.

In an article from the U.K. website DailyMail back in March of 2012 (See a more easy-to-read version here), they present the findings of a study done among younger women with regard to their homemaking skills.

Some of the homemaking skills that women under age 35 don't know how to do include:

  • Baking bread
  • Sewing on a button
  • Making gravy from scratch
  • Baking a pie
  • Making jam
  • Knitting
  • Sewing

Beyond baking pies, if our delicate technology one day fails, will I know how to wash clothes with little water and no commercial detergent? Or bake bread without electricity? Or sew clothing for my children to wear?

I do not wish to be an alarmist, but I DO want to be prepared! And so I learn about solar ovens, and homemade laundry detergents, and how to store large amounts of water. I think of the time I spend studying and learning about self-reliance to be insurance against the possibility of future troubles.

(If you, like me, want to learn more about how to run a household "off-grid," this family's YouTube channel inspires me and gets my mind pondering on how I can be more self-reliant no and in the future. Check them out!)

4) The connections between mothers and children are becoming weaker as mothers outsource instruction to others.

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers learned vital homemaking skills by assisting their mothers in their own homes. For most of families in modern society, this is no longer the case!

As a teenager, I remember asking my mother if she thought I should take a Home Economics class for one of my electives (this was in the 1980's). She laughed and said that she and her sisters used to think their Home Ec. classes in high school were ridiculous because they could do so much more than they were ever taught in the classes at school. My grandmother had taught them all to work and care for a home from the time they were babies.

Unfortunately, I was personally so busy rehearsing in plays and choir concerts, that there were many basic homemaking and cooking skills that I never learned by the time I had a home of my own to run. I did eventually learn all I needed to know for my homemaking career, but it took many years of trial and error to be the homemaker I am today.

While I am extremely grateful for the vast amounts of information and support now available online, there is something a little sad about learning to cook a roast from a stranger rather than to learn how one's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother cooked their own. 

I can't help but feel that something gets lost from our family cultures and traditions along the way. 

I mention all of the above, simply to say that I truly believe that traditional homemaking skills are not only relevant in today's world, I feel they are VITAL for the future of society.

What can we do NOW? 

First of all, we can ASK. 

We can text, email, or even call, our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, or sisters, and gather their recipes, hear their stories, and get together to share stories, memories, and food.

One thing I did do before I left home was to copy all the recipes my mother had gathered from her mother, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers over the years. 

There is a special feeling knowing that I am making the same salad my grandmother brought to every family gathering over the years. 

She may be gone, but I have a part of her with me as I cook, sew, bake, and nurture

Secondly, we should share what we have learned with our own children. We can take time to let them help us prepare a meal or a special treat. We can work together with them in the home, garden, and yard so they learn how to care for the things they are blessed with. We can spend less time running around, and take more time to be together at home, as a family.

Imagine a world where homemakers and mothers everywhere come together to support and encourage one another as we "preserve and promote the skills and ideals of the traditional homemaker-mother."

Picture a future where our children and grandchildren connect with parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, and grandparents so they can pass on those traditions that will keep their own families vibrantly cared for and nurtured at home.

We can make it happen!

With love,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Establishing Routines

The Harvester by Bouguereau

For almost a month now, I have been taking a wonderful course online with my good friend and mentor, Becky Edwards of the Purpose Driven Motherhood blog.

As homemakers and mothers, we all know that we need to establish morning and evening routines, but summertime has really done a number on our family and my personal routines this year, as we all have slept in too much and let our schedules fall by the wayside.

So, while I know I should have routines I follow, I had forgotten WHY I should have routines until Becky's class reminded me.

Just as we need to plug in our mobile devices each evening to charge them for the following day, we also need to "power up" each morning and night in order to function at our best!

I now have a checklist of five things that I do each morning and night that sits on my nightstand, ready for me to mark as I complete each task. I have let go of the need to do them in exact order-- which helps me feel more in control-- but they ALL get done most of the time.

This powerful "Why" has been a blessing to my spirituality, to my relationships with my husband and children, and it has helped me prepare better for this school year than I have in quite a long time. My house is cleaner, and we feel more calm and happy.

All because of five little things I do as I rise and and five more as I retire each day.
Here are my own examples:


  • Pray on my knees
  • Make my bed
  • Drink water
  • Study my scriptures (while sitting outside, if possible)
  • Get dressed and ready for the day


  • BREATHE (I spend about 5 minutes doing some deep breathing.)
  • Pray on my knees
  • Brush my teeth
  • Spend time with my husband
  • Journal and/or ponder

Everyone's routines may look different, and that's the beauty of creating them for ourselves! We each know what we need, and if we're not sure where to start, we can counsel with the Lord about what to focus on.

I challenge my readers to start and end each day with a written routine of the little things that can make or break a mother's day. 

I'd love to hear how establishing and following routines blesses your life, so please comment and share!

Lots of love,

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Miracle

Today I felt so privileged to accompany the little children in my church's class for kids. (We call it Primary.) They sang a song during singing time that really touched my heart and inspired my soul.

I was just a substitute pianist, so the song was not very familiar to me, but as the kids sang through it this afternoon, I could hardly see my music through my tears, because of how powerfully the message was speaking to my heart.

I hope you enjoy this gorgeous music and it's uplifting message on this, #HisDay .


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Sheep Is Worthy

Jesus, the Good Shepherd by Warner Sallman

"The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd.
It matters not how you became lost—whether because of your own poor choices or because of circumstances beyond your control. What matters is that you are His child. And He loves you. He loves His children. Because He loves you, He will find you. He will place you upon His shoulders, rejoicing. And when He brings you home, He will say to one and all, 'Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.'”  
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Today, I took my troubled young adult son to an orientation meeting across town for his new job that starts tomorrow. After he had been inside only a moment, he rushed back out, his face flushed, slamming the door as he climbed back in our van. Apparently, he had forgotten the necessary paperwork to attend the orientation, and now has to go on another day, and won't get to start his first work day tomorrow.

Earlier I had been annoyed that I had to take him half an hour away from home on a hot afternoon, telling him sarcastically that he owed me a milkshake when he gets his first paycheck.

But in that moment of his frustration, all I felt was love.

On our way home, I felt impressed to pull over and buy us both a small ice cream cone in the drive-thru. 

After I put in my order, he asked me, "Why would you say that I owe you a milkshake, but then you buy me ice cream on the way home?"

All I could do was smile and say "Because I love you."

And as we rode home with our drippy ice cream cones, we had one of the best conversations we have had in quite a long while.

Did I do anything? 

No. Not really. God did. 

The Lord reminded me that He loves us all, no matter what mistakes we have made.

And He makes it possible for me to love my son, even when he is not perfect, either.

I pray that one day, my wayward son will come to know that his Heavenly Father loves Him-- because his mama does.


Friday, April 29, 2016



We are each a miracle, daughters of God!

I just needed this reminder today, and thought you might, too.



Monday, March 21, 2016

Five Habits for Great Homemaking

I would be the last person anywhere to claim that I am a perfect homemaker! In fact, the reason I began this blog was so I could focus on improving my homemaking and mothering skills, so I keep trying to be a little better every day. 

As I was cooking breakfast this morning, I pondered on the reasons some days in my homemaking-mothering life work better than others. The following is a personal list of what helps me feel better about my efforts in my home. I hope it might bless someone else today, too!

1. Spend time with God each morning.

This step is absolutely crucial for me in order to have the best day possible! There are times when I have been grumpy with my children, when my self-esteem drags, and I want to throw a full-blown pity-party.

Without fail, it is those days when I have not spent time in the scriptures and in prayer with God. Somehow, when I reach up to heaven in the morning-- even for just a little while-- my entire day is filled with more hope, and I become more calm, centered, and patient. The grace that my time with my Creator gives me is miraculous! Our Father in Heaven is always with us, just waiting for us to ask His help. And without fail, He has always given heavenly assistance to me.

2. Plan out your day

The old adage of "She who fails to plan, plans to fail," is painfully TRUE! This is a step that I struggle with, as I enjoy spontaneity. But if I wish to make some tangible strides in my home, I MUST make a plan.

A plan can be as simple as a to-do list, or as elaborate as filling out a daily planner or smartphone application. The important part is to sit down, ponder on the tasks of the day, and record what needs to be accomplished.

The fun element of this habit, is that we can then CHECK OFF items from our daily list! (I have been known to even write things on my list that I have already completed, just so I can experience the thrill of marking the task as FINISHED.)

Ahhh... feels good!!!

3. Get dressed in your homemaking uniform

There are various schools of thought in the department of how a homemaker should dress. I am a lady who likes to wear skirts. If it's a deep cleaning day, I go with a demin skirt. If I am moving furniture or carrying large loads, I have opted to wear my exercise pants, but those days are rare.

This decision is very personal to me, and I expound more on the topic here. But for this article, I just want you to think about what you put on when you mean business in accomplishing your homemaking goals. (If you are a follower of FlyLady, then you know she is passionate about "dressing to the shoes." You can find out more about "dressing to the shoes" here. As for me, I am a Happy Hobbit who operates best in bare feet.)

So, get dressed in whatever YOU consider to be your most effective "homemaking uniform," and begin your day with a smile. 
"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"!

4. Wear an apron

Some might think this habit belongs within the "homemaking uniform" habit, but I am here to preach a little bit as to the virtues of wearing an apron. 

I found the following list on the old "Hillbilly Housewife" blog, though I can no longer find the original post. (You can find more of her thoughts on wearing aprons here.)

Apron Wisdom

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.
  • The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
  • It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears..
  • From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
  • When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
  • And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.
  • Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
  • Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
  • From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
  • After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
  • In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
  • When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
  • When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the menfolks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
 It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.
I really adore wearing an apron. ♥ I feel like I can face the day with whatever comes, as long as I am wearing my apron. I can do all the things listed above and more!

In my opinion, the most important features of the best aprons include having a nice, big pocket in front, they are made of a strong, sturdy fabric, like denim, and they should either be pretty, or at least feel comfortable.

For images and patterns of aprons I love, check out my "Apron love" Pinterest board.

5. Put on some inspiring music or an enlightening podcast.

"If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.” ~Shinichi Suzuki
I love all kinds of music! But I know that I can think more clearly, and aspire to become a better homemaker, teacher, mother, and person, when I listen to inspiring, classical music.

I realize that it may not be the case for everyone, but it works that way for me. This morning, as a pot was boiling on the stove, I tied my apron around my waist, and put on some songs by Franz Schubert. (Who also happens to be our homeschool's composer for this term; two birds with one stone! Woot!) My mind felt enlightened, and I knew I would have a wonderful day. In fact, the music I was listening to inspired me to finally sit down and write this blog post today.

Whenever we do our family chores, my children always ask to listen to music. They work faster and harder to music they can sing or dance along with. Some of our best family memories have been created during these times.

Good, inspiring music is a powerful tool in a homemaker's arsenal. There are also some really great podcasts that make the time cleaning and working pass by pleasantly. Some of my favorites include:


I am so excited!!! I plan to start an Old-Fashioned Motherhood podcast very soon. I look forward to chatting with you! I would love to hear some suggested topics that interest my readers here on the blog.

What would YOU like to hear on an OFM podcast? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Check back for the podcast soon! 

What makes YOUR days great?

I'd love to know what helps you have a successful day in your homes and with your families! Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I look forward to reading your responses.

Here's to having a great day, which will lead to a wonderful month, and then to an awesome year! 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Martyr Momster

"Christmas Rush" by Norman Rockwell

Look out, kids...

She's BACK!


We all know her. She sneaks into our homes now and then, especially after a rough day of toddler messes, teen drama, and/or lofty plans gone horribly wrong.

Her tale is a sad one, usually beginning on a day full of high hopes. A mother wakes. Her intentions are right, and yet every little thing that can go wrong, does.

It's a tale of woe that is all too familiar...

Sunday Morning

This past Sunday morning dawned, and though we had gone to bed late the night before, which caused the younger children to miss their baths, I was confident that we could still make it to church on time. 

We gathered for family scripture study just after 7am (Sleeping in-- wahoo!) It was Fast Sunday, so that meant that I did not have to make much of a breakfast; just toast for the under 8 years old lot.

Our meetings start at 10:00am, and we send the first wave of people over at 9:30am to save* us a bench in the chapel. *(With more than a dozen people in one family going to church, we HAVE to save a long bench, or we won't get a seat all together!)

I reasoned that two hours would be plenty of time for all 14 people in our house to use two bathrooms. Here's the breakdown:
  • Seven individual showers for those individuals over age 10 in the kids' bathroom,
  • Three little girls in the master bedroom garden tub at one time, and done in a flash!
  • One little boy in the garden tub would be a snap, as long as he didn't think he was getting any play time,
  • One quick dunk of the toddler girl who is terrified of water and despises baths,
  • Two adults taking turns showering in the master bath shower.
I was optimistic. We could do it!

Two hours later, there was chaos: soggy towels flung far and wide, tears over missing shoes, primping teenage girls, an empty diaper bag, and Mom still un-showered, while untangling bedhead hairdos on five little girls and one little boy. 

Dad took the kids that were ready, and I was left behind with the rest.

I'm certain you can guess what happened next.

Melt-downs. Blaming. Yelling. Exasperation. Frustration. Self-Pity.



The irony of becoming an ogress while preparing to worship the Lord was not lost on me. I was well aware of where I was going-- of WHY I was going.

But it was all so UNFAIR! Why did I have to be the one to make sure the little girls' hair was done? Why did I have to make sure each little person was clean?? Why did the little boy need to find his dress shoes instead of throwing on the Batman loafers???


Oh, yeah. Because I cared. 

The realization shocked me. It was all so absurd!

Time stood still, though the clock ticked away. The best moment to leave the house for our meetings had come and gone, and I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror making sure that my lipstick was just right, while feeling all kinds of sorry for myself.

I began to LAUGH out loud.

The pouting part of me thought: "But I am doing this to show God how much I love Him!"

But then, the Real Me said: "You are not. You are being hyper-vigilant about your family's outward appearance in an attempt to fit in with the beautiful people in your congregation."

And then I had to stop laughing because I knew the Real me was speaking the TRUTH.

Here I was, letting the Martyr Momster take over and cause hurt and damage to my little ones over something as ridiculous as "looking good."


Let's Review

Ladies, I know I am not alone when I say that we moms don't like it when the Martyr Momster sneaks her way into our homes. But there isn't a woman alive that has not invited this nuisance of a guest in, from time to time.

We may not always be able to keep the Martyr Momster away, but I have been pondering on my experience this past weekend, and have come up with a few tips that might help in the future:

1) Preparation

When we started a movie on Saturday night without bathing the kids first, a little voice in my mind reminded me of the upcoming church meetings that would be taking place in the morning. I think I half-heartedly mentioned it out loud at one point, but then I never followed through with doing anything about it.

There have been Saturdays when clothes were gathered and checked for cleanliness, shoes placed carefully, babies washed and dried, and I had a peaceful evening, knowing that I had done all I could do to prepare for the Sabbath Day. 

Those days of preparation don't come as often as I'd like them to, but I do know that they can be accomplished. I know for myself that a prepared mother is a happier mother!

2) Priorities

Sometimes in all the busyness of life, I forget what is truly important. I am so determined to make sure things look "right," that I lose sight of reality-- I don't recognize that my "fixes" are making things all wrong!

Of course I know that my relationships with my children are more important than whether my children look clean or rumpled. Of course I want my children to be able to feel the the love of God when they attend church meetings, rather than feeling badly about themselves.

In my anxiety to make everything "perfect," I had broken the hearts of my babies.

And that was a sure sign that the Martyr Momster had taken over, and that my priorities were NOT in alignment with my beliefs! 

3) Perspective

In moments of frustration, my perspective as a mother is very limited. If I am caught up in chaos and self-pity, it is impossible to see the bigger picture-- my view of the eternal disappears.

If I prepare my children for church meetings with the intention of leading them to Christ: 
  • I will take a moment to dunk the kids on Saturday night before I put the movie on. 
  • I won't be worried about whether my own clothes are stylish enough and beat myself up over my thinning hair. 
  • I won't cringe when I see that the five year old has cut herself some bangs-- again. 
  • I will smile as I recognize the virtuous beauty of my teenage daughters. 
  • And I will let my little boy wear the Batman shoes.
If I prepare, prioritize, and keep an eternal perspective, we just might avoid seeing the Martyr Momster any time soon. 

At least on Sunday mornings.

Lots of love,

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Good Point...

Image Credit
Yes, indeed!!! Teaching children to work and care for a home is a job that parents can do the most effectively, with the home as the perfect classroom. 

For more about how I have endeavored to teach my own children to be hard workers, see the following posts:

"When we're helping, we're happy!"

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