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”(Loud and Clear , 10–11).
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.
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.
We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult.
The first question: 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.
Second, don’t overschedule 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.
Fourth, pray, study, and teach the gospel. Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother.
There are many things the Church offers to mothers and families, but for my purpose today may I suggest that the bishopric and the ward council members be especially watchful and considerate of the time and resource demands on young mothers and their families.