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Sep 23, 2015

What is the Family Proclamation, and why has it stirred the world pot?

20 years ago when The Family: A Proclamation to the World was issued, it wasn't just a message to Mormon church members, it was to the world.  After the document was read in a Women's conference of the Church in 1995, it remained widely unknown. Only in the last couple of years has it become part of the world culture discussion. I am sure I am not the only person who wondered why...

The Proclamation makes bold statements in favor for heterosexual marriage, having children within marriage, and supports pro-life. It boldly takes a stand in a whole host of eyebrow raising ideas whirling around in pop culture.

In response to changing family trends, a huge colloquium was held with 15 different Faiths at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. The primary concern was discussing the degrading trends of family in the world culture. An account was given of the experience here.

The direction of families has clearly become a world wide concern. As The Family: A Proclamation to the World rises from obscurity, one may ask, why would people believe such things? How can anyone claim what is absolutely true? Why would people support it's statements? What could possibly make it relevant in my family life? Why is there a concern for the decline of the family in the world picture? 

I am preparing a series of posts that will answer many of these questions, looking at both a religious point of view, and also incorporating evidence from the latest family studies and social evidence. Perhaps we can discover these questions together, and come to a deeper understanding of what seems to be the concern. The findings may surprise you, or empower your family. Decide for yourself.

Stay Tuned. 

Sep 6, 2015

8 Things I Changed to Make Being a Stay at Home Mom Easier

1. Getting a Workout Routine
My 2nd pregnancy had me almost yelling from hip pain as I pried myself out of  bed to pee at night. Post baby I could hardly do a squat, and I could tell I had no muscle. Plus my lower pack pain and sciatic nerve pain were not going away like they did with my first pregnancy. Yoga turned out to be the ideal change for me in this area, increasing my strength and relaxation. Unexpectedly, Yoga also increased my milk supply, gave me flexibility, helped me loose the 50 pounds, and my back pain is almost gone. Vigorous exercise made me grouchy, and some moms it works better for... but the time to meditate, and regain some tranquil peace of mind during an intensive time of change for me was important. I LOVE my yoga time. You can check out my routine here.

2. Getting Up Before Your Kids and Showering.
It begins your day intentionally, and sets you in the mind-frame of a day full of purpose, rather than a day that controls you.  Get ready for the day, and it goes so much better! 
3. Eating Right
We all know we should do it. It was shameful how I would pop chocolate for dealing with loneliness, or lack of sleep. I even caught myself reaching for chocolate after rough disciplining moments with the kids. Them my blood sugars would be a roller coaster all day, and my mood would ride right along with it. Sound familiar? This is the hardest one for me, but get a routine and stick to it. Eat more fruits and veggies and drink more water. Don't treat yourself like sludge if you give in. You are worth loving, even if you aren't perfect. Never give up. Life is a journey of learning, not an immediate arrival of perfection. 
4. Becoming Housework Boss-mama
When my husband and first married, someone slipped an honest tidbit into his ear about my housekeeping habits. They definitely lacked luster. 9 months ago my habits blew up in my face. I began from that time to learn how to make my house work for me, rather than be slave to my house. So many of us think that we gain a little freedom by just putting of the dishes, or by burying ourselves in a fun project and leaving them for later. Having done both extremes, I promise a clean house is easier. My mother in law swears by 1 load of laundry a day and loading all dishes and wiping all surfaces after every meal. Get a schedule going. Surprisingly I enjoyed the breaks I have more, and found that I didn't need a "Break" from things as often. (Its that peacefull feeling in the back of your mind that knows the house will be manageable when you get back from your mini vacation) 

A mother holds her baby daughter’s hands while walking on the beach with her husband and other child.
5. Playing With My Kids
In my parenting course that I took before I graduated, this little tidbit stood out in my memory banks. At least 15 min of  focused play with your children every day enables their independence AND yours. When I forget to take this time, they both get really whiny and kingly. Put the phone away, momentarily forget the bridal shower you were planning, and give them ALL of your attention for some time every day. 
6. Perspective
This little gem was the hardest for me to discover and apply. Apply this medicine liberally, all the time. I don't think you can OD on it! Most of us that will be reading this post live in the wealthiest nation in the world. Yet so many of us are discontent when we have so much. I went to Hawaii and saw cultures who did not have as much, but were still happy. It occurred to me that convenience and wealth did not bring happiness. Happiness was a choice. It also reminded me of all that I did have, and that I could make it all work for my family. If they could make all of life's necessities from a coconut tree, by golly I could certainly work with my resources! It is so easy to feel frustration, shame, and anger inside when your toddler is screaming at the grocery store... I have chosen lately, to rejoice that my toddler is so healthy, and is experiencing normal cognitive development, and I now have a great opportunity to engage in a learning experience with him. Do I remember this perspective every time? Absolutely not, but when I do, It turns potentially disastrous moments into learning moments, that we get through with much less drama. Really tough, I know, but the dividends will keep giving as your kids get older. Find ways to be grateful. Life is good.
7. Get a Parenting Plan
Its true, kids don't come with a manual, but there are some GREAT resources out there. Indulge me.. When garden vegetables are cultivated, they bear fruit and are great contributors, but barren ground left uncultivated grows weeds. The question is, would you like weeds, or a garden vegetables for children?...Weeds take, garden vegetables give.  That's some sociological food for thought. It has also brought so much PEACE to our home. To have a plan, you need knowledge. Here are some resources straight from a recent parenting course. My all time favorite book that has stood the 20+ years test of time, and is written by world renowned child experts: Parenting with Love and Logic, by Cline and Fay. Its entertaining to read and the original book is my personal favorite. Ive also read, The 10 Basic Principles of Parenting by Steinberg, and LOVED the perspective on families as a whole from Bonds that Make us Free by Warrner. Another great title that will help you gain perspective is... The Power of Positive Parenting by Latham. That one is on my to read list. It will take note taking, and some re-reading, but its so worth it.

8. Following Christ on the Next Level
I cant really explain exactly how this works... I guess this is why it is called faith. But it WORKS. Many of these changes listed above I have tried time and time again, but I completely give credit to my Savior for giving me the strength. I say that, because all of these life changes were sitting there, in the scriptures waiting for me to discover them, and the power came from taking living my religion to a new level. For the rest of my life I hope to keep taking it to the next level. Jesus teaches us to lose our life to save it. It never made sense until I tried it. Trying to live my life like the Savior would... doing what He would do, going where he would go, feeling what he would feel, even when it is scarry. Basically, trying to live my life completely so that others can live. Call me crazy, but THIS way of life is the only thing that has given me strength to change, and I love it.

*notice: no crafting room, clever escape plan, chocolate binges, or child sales listed.