This past May I had the opportunity to go to a Women's Conference held at BYU. It was a very inspiring and motivating experience and it was greatly needed.
This past year I had just felt burnt out as a mom. Our children were constantly bickering with one another, from the moment they woke up to bed time. Our oldest (who just turned 7) was talking back, complaining about everything and anything, jealous of his brothers, and just has a hard time with any kind of change with his schedule. I felt like the kids would walk all over me, trash the house, and by the end of the night I was screaming at them about something because I had just had it. I missed the calm, patient mom I used to be. I was confused how our children were treating each other because my husband and I have a good, strong marriage with kind and loving communication, and we were dumbfounded why our kids had so much attitude, when my husband and I are always so calm and considerate of each other. When the opportunity came to go to Women's Conference, and my loving husband knowing I was at my wit's end with our children, he encouraged me to go, relax and enjoy myself. I had never left my children before for that long, and actually had a lot of anxiety about leaving. Once I had gotten off the plane and joined my mother-in-law, I knew I needed this break and was ready to focus on me.
Out of all the classes we had planned to attend, my #1 priority was going to one that was aimed specifically about not being a screaming parent.. It was the very first class out of the weekend full of classes, and the funny thing was, was that the things that were encouraged for us to do, were repeated in many of the classes we ended up going to through out the conference. It was all simple little things that they said to implement and how much it will help in our lives.
These essentials are:
1. Personal & Family Prayer
2. Personal & Family Scripture Study
3. Weekly Family Home Evening
I heard these and in my head I was all, "check, check, check" okay, why isn't it working for me? But then, some true thoughts started coming as the classes kept going, and I started to really look at our family habits and that we weren't truly focused and doing these things full on.
Personal and Family Prayer:
This is something that we do, but I kept hearing (kneeling as a family). We were saying them around the table, and then of course the kids would argue/whine of who was picked, or someone was peeking, and I just felt separated and miserable... So, the key word in there that I knew we had to change.. "KNEELING" It took some time but we now kneel as a family, and for now it is led by Mom or Dad. We go around our kneeling family circle and everyone has a chance to say something we could pray about as a family. Then the parent who is saying the prayer, includes the thoughts of everyone into the prayer, and it truly feels as a genuine family prayer.
Personal and Family Scripture Study
Again, this was something we were doing... but not consistently. I know that the calling my husband and I share at church (we teach 6-7 year olds) was an inspired calling for us. We have been working as a team with teaching, and studying that Sunday's lesson and fully understanding these basic principles for ourselves, and then able to discuss it with our children (since they are learning the same lessons in Primary) and sometimes implementing it in our Family Home Evening.(F.H.E.) I have been keeping our church magazines and scriptures on the table. (with 3 boys it seems like they are always eating, so how convenient that they are in arms length of us the majority of the day) Many times the stories we read, relates back to what my husband and I have been personally studying that week and we can go into more depth and I feel more confident and prepared to teach my children the gospel.
Family Home Evening
Our changes that we have been making to Family Home Evening is having our kids more involved and trying to plan it out better. Our oldest loves to plan out lessons and we have given him a minute or two with teaching. Because of his example, our 5 year old started having the desire to teach as well. While we were reading the "Friend" magazine, he came across something and said he wanted to use it to teach a family home evening lesson. It was simple and all he had to do was read questions and have us answer them. It was one of my most favorite lessons! Our goal that we would like to implement is learning primary songs. Who ever is in charge of the songs, can never think of what song to sing, so we always go with a basic, well known one. My husband and I have discussed having a list of songs that we want to work on as a family and learn the words and just having it prepared for them better. I think that will be a big help.
I feel, as I am following these basic principles that I was overlooking and not putting my full heart into, has started to heal my family. I have been feeling more promptings and inspiration of what changes I need to make for our family to work together. The bickering and arguments have decreased tremendously between the boys and I know that following the Lord's counsel is healing our family and helping our boys and their relationships as brothers. The boys are also more calm, and get better control of themselves to listen to my counsel and advice, and not rolling their eyes or complaining, and I feel like they are understanding my role as a parent better, and I feel more appreciated and understood. I have learned that I need to not go through the motions of everyday life, but to take a step back and look at the things that I need to put my full heart and effort into, and be honest with myself of what am I not truly doing. There is of course much more to work on, and this will be a constant thing to work on, but am grateful for the difference it has made for my family, and how much I(we) needed it. It's so nice to start feeling like me again, and not the frazzled mom I was a few months ago.