Religion in the Home

I believe in teaching religion to children. I believe religion provides many benefits in terms of structure, expectations, service, faith, strength of character, honesty, work, belief, values, love, self-worth, and a foundation for life.

I do not, of course, believe a child ought to be raised in the sort of religious household where beating, belittling, or deprivation are employed.

A love and a learning of God and creation needs to come from a place of love and understanding. God must be taught with a lesson of broadening one’s own understanding and of seeking for a personal testimony.

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If a parent feels the need to beat prayer into a child, that child is not going to learn to love prayer.

I currently raise my children as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (formerly nicknamed Mormons). I was raised in this church as well, and so was my husband. We have both gone through variations and broadenings of our faiths and knowledge. Yet, we have no desire to raise our children outside of religion.

My main reason? Besides the benefits I listed above, it is logic.

I know many people who, when they leave or drift away from organized religion, feel lied to. In their affront they resolve that their children will not grow up deluded as they were. They vow an open mind and freedom of choice for their offspring that they never had.

Which seems to be forgetting one thing: They, as adults, are at the position they are today because of the upbringing and religious foundation they received as children.

I fully expect my children to doubt religion as adults. They’re intelligent, curious, and stubborn. They feel they already know more than many authority figures. They will question and maybe even decide to leave their childhood faith.

Maybe, like others I know, they will still attend, but with a broadened perspective.

I can’t control that, but I can help to give them somewhere from which to leap. And so, I say to give a child a religious somewhere to start from. This doesn’t mean that I’m judging anyone for choosing a faithless family life; it does mean I do not choose that for mine.

As with any thing in parenting, I say to keep the conversation open. Encourage questions. Encourage them to work through the answers on their own. Ready or not, some day they will have to fly on their own.

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Sunday, April 7: “Moderate Momming,” a moderate post about moderation.

Monday, April 8: Wrote a poem titled, “Bedtime.”

Tuesday, April 9: Shared an inspirational quote by Sir Gilbert Parker.

Wednesday, April 10: Recommended buying ahead in my Dinner Tip.

Thursday, April 11: “Your Mama’s So Fed Up,” a snippet about an unfair joke bias.

Friday, April 12: Advised against birthing one’s children near each other in, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Birthdays.”

Saturday, April 13: Shared Manic Mama‘s tweet about a son’s priorities.

Sunday, April 14: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Aaron Burden
Alexander Watts

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Birthdays

Did you know there are roughly 365 days in a year? Once every four years, that number jumps to a whole 366. Ish.

Given the number of options there, you’d think I could have spread out the births of my children.

Instead, our birthdays are all in March and April, with one aberration conveniently very close to Christmas. Add Tax Day and our wedding anniversary to the mix, and March and April are pretty much like a second Christmas season.

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It’s all because of me. When I was younger I did not expect to get married. By default, I didn’t expect to have children. However; I vowed that, if I had children, I would never have their birthdays next to each other. This resolution came from the laments of peers and cousins who had to share special days. I would be a more fair mother than theirs; I would save the sanctity of days of birth.

Then I married someone in the same month we were born.

Then our first son came a little earlier than his due date and a little close to our births and anniversary.

The final straw was when my second son came nine weeks early. I figuratively threw up my hands and decided, so long as they all came into the world healthy, I would take it.

….which is why, when I was pregnant with our third, I spent all day of my birthday willing him to stay inside at least till our scheduled C-Section within the week. ‘Cause, by then, I had more realistic life goals.

 

Photo Credit:
S O C I A L . C U T
Kari Shea

A Very Unmerry Birthday to You

Yesterday was my birthday. As a mother, that meant the day ran about the same as all the others but my kids and husband wanted me to be happy. Act happy. Look excited. Smile more (well, at all). Eagerly anticipate what household object they had gift-wrapped.

In short, I needed to be as excited as the boys all feel when it’s their birthday.

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Like most events in life, however, I dread my birthday. I don’t like being the spotlight. I’m not a fun present un-wrapper. I’m not the life of the party. When birthdays or Mother’s Day roll around, I’d rather not be here to celebrate. This desire confuses and hurts my family.

The problem is that the day is still a day. My day of birth was a Saturday this year; but, when it’s a weekday; I still have carpool, cleaning, sports classes, dinner, dishes, bedtime, and attempts to bond as a couple.

The problem is that my entire life is to anticipate the whims of the house and its occupants and cater to them to avoid nuclear meltdown. Everyone else’s needs come first and I feel shallow thinking about myself.

The problem is, like with most events, I need to ask for what I want in order to receive it -and I feel bad for having wants in the first place. I’ve crumpled up and trashed anything resembling innermost desires; and feel like an indecent, filthy street beggar pawing through something molding when asked about them.

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Why? That doesn’t seem healthy. Perhaps it’s not.

Acknowledging the problem or even testing out the whole “asking for what I want” thing doesn’t erase the guilt. Again, though, why not? And, more specifically, how can we erase the guilt? Lobotomy?

Frankly, I’ve spent the last few years in an intentional haze of semi-tiredness (very like a lobotomy) in order to avoid some of these bothersome feelings. I’ve numbed to avoid sadness and empty despair and hopelessness. I’ve pretended contentment and ignored myself in order to function.

*Sigh*

Birthdays don’t have to be so heavy and serious, of course. I actually only cried because I wanted to a little yesterday. Then, my sister planned a surprise mani/pedi appointment and my mother took me to lunch afterwards. My husband, for his part, took the children and the housework for the day.

In all, even my Eeyore side had to agree that it was a good birthday.

Now, if I could just get over how guilty I feel that everyone did all that for me…

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Sunday, March 17: “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” my scientific observations of what the clothes washer produces.

Monday, March 18: Wrote a poem for The Bloggers Bash competition titled, “Five More Minutes.”

Tuesday, March 19: Shared a quote by Christie Mellor.

Wednesday, March 20: Whispered my super secret tip about bread preservation.

Thursday, March 21: “In Case of Emergency, Interrupt.” Never ignore The Look.

Friday, March 22: Advised against Super Momming in “Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Saturday, March 23: Shared Unfiltered Mama‘s tweet about difficult kids.

Sunday, March 24: Today! Yay!

 

Photo Credit:
Jorge Ibanez
Jiroe
Rune Enstad

A Head Start on the Day?

After a few false starts and intentional ignorings of my alarm, I rose before the children needed to with the intent to get a head start on the day.

The idea sounded great last night -you know, during that time I looked over the laundry, paper bills and tax forms, dishes, laundry, to-do list, messy tables, dishes, incomplete homework, laundry, cluttered floors, dirty toilets, almost-sleeping children, and more laundry and dishes- and told myself that I could go to sleep and address it all tomorrow.

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An old picture, but somehow still applicable.

I neglected to recall how tired I am when I first rise.

So, yawning, here I sit, cursing my mental state, for not recalling that I’d need a day to fully wake. I can see why people drink coffee. I think. I’m actually not experiencing much clarity of thought yet.

True, I shouldn’t need much ‘clarity of thought’ to just do dishes or sort laundry. The problem with that is that I’ve pretty much run out of tricks. I’ve tried bribes, calm reasoning, yelling, and reverse psychology; but I just can’t convince myself to do the housework.

No matter what, I know two things: there will never be an end, and there will be more after that.

So, yawning, here I -oh, I already said that. Sorry; tired mom brain.

What’s a dead-brained mother to do? The toilets? Maybe after breakfast, I suppose. If nothing else gets done during this Magic Quiet Hour, I at least got some writing in.

And (don’t tell) some chocolate.

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Photo by Levi Bare on Unsplash

What Do You Do All Day?

What do you do all day?

When I was a young mom, a childhood friend asked me this. I understand that the question is among the Top Ten mothers hear, but it was the first time someone had literally asked me.

My friend had been working and going to school. She was genuinely curious about what filled my time each day since I did not have a job outside the home.

At the time, I really didn’t do much. I say that now because I …just barely sat down to eat lunch and it’s 2:30 p.m. I feel lucky that I showered this morning before everyone awoke.

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So… what do I do all day?

Just for kicks, let’s break today’s schedule down so far:

Night before: stayed up late to do my online homework after staying up late helping my second son start work on complete his science fair project.

3:00 a.m. Woke the five-year-old up to go potty because he’s had two nighttime accidents.

5:00 a.m. Woke to tell my alarm that was way too early. Went back to sleep without recalling this conversation.

6:00 a.m. Got up and showered.

6:30 a.m. – 8:10 a.m. A haze of getting four children and a husband up, going, breakfasted, clothed, up again, going again, thanking the wonderful husband for making lunches, breakfasting again, reminding boys to brush teeth, finding shoes, thanking the wonderful husband for gluing pictures and a header onto a trifold board, getting them all out to the car, and finding my coat and keys.

8:30ish a.m. Arrived at school and helped two boys carry their extras into said school.

9:00 a.m. Left school to run errands.

12:30 p.m. Came back home from errands to post office, grocery store, pharmacy, library, and pharmacy again.

12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. Fed Five whilst putting away groceries and distracting him with “Curious George” cartoons.

1:40 p.m. Ignored loud ‘napping’ noises upstairs as I finally made my lunch.

2:00 p.m. Updated monthly calendar on wall with appointments and dinner plans (for three days so far! Woot!).

2:15 p.m. Sat to eat my lunch and type a blog post.

In addition: told my oldest son who called that I am not going to pick him up early from school because he’s bored.

The rest of the day is just as busy; with karate lessons, cub scouts (for the boys and for me because I’m a den leader), dinner, computer time, homework, baths or showers, bedtime, and bed.

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If you are still with me, then you can see that being a mother is busy. You probably also saw that it is mind-numbingly dull. I mean, I lived this schedule and my brain skipped as many lines as it could in reading over it.

Another, later time that I was asked The Question:

What do you do all day?

I came up with a metaphorIt’s like you’ve been assigned to keep a pot of water almost-boiling on the stove all day. You need to make sure the pot doesn’t actually boil, so you have to watch it and can’t really do anything else diverting.

I think raising a toddler is a lot like this, especially if he or she has dropped The Nap. You have to watch the toddler all the time to be certain he or she doesn’t start a fire, but any attempts to do other things lead to fires.

Now that I am older and have older (and more) children, the scenario of the pot is still true. On top of that, though; I also need to mop the floor around the stove, allow others to maintain their own pots without interfering too much, snap at them for fighting over shared space around the stove, and squeeze another pan on there for making dinner.

Having been a stay at home mother for the duration of these child-rearing years, I have a question for the parents who work on top of all that:

What do you do all day, and how the heck do you do it??

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