Hints for Stay-at-Home Moms

I was struggling with my three young children in a noisy, cluttered house. My two boys were supposed to be cleaning their room, but it was getting messier by the minute. Meanwhile, my two-year-old undid the childproof latches on our bathroom cupboards and smeared cleaning liquid on the floor, dumped toilet tissue in the sink, and poured slimy green bubble bath all over the tub.

Staying home with children, while usually rewarding and joyful, also includes some tough days. Every mother at times feels overworked and overwhelmed. If you are having “one of those days,” try some of the following tips:

  • Acknowledge that you are having a difficult day. Don’t feel guilty because things are overwhelming. Motherhood is demanding, and children are unpredictable, so be patient with yourself.

  • Get out of the house. Go someplace different. A change of pace will help you and your children.

  • Remind yourself that the work you are doing within your home is important. “Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are loved and where we can love. Home should be where life’s greatest lessons are taught and learned” (Marvin J. Ashton, “A Yearning for Home,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 21). Despite humdrum housekeeping tasks, there is nothing trivial about the effort we put forth to create a loving home atmosphere.

  • Evaluate your standards of neatness. Maintaining sterile floors or alphabetized spices can add unneeded stress. If you suspect you are trying to keep house to an unrealistically high standard, reevaluate your priorities. Ask other young mothers how much is enough for them, and be careful not to compare your home with those of parents whose children are older or who have left home.

  • Get a support system in place. Many at-home mothers find isolation the hardest aspect of being a full-time mom. One way to combat feelings of isolation is to make friends with other women. Attend homemaking meetings and Relief Society or ward or branch activities so that you can become better acquainted with other members. Arrange to spend time with other mothers on a regular basis, such as an outing to a park where children can play while you talk. Join a play group, exercise club, or hobby circle. Take a class.

  • Build your relationship with your husband. You and he can find strength as you support each other. Plan some evenings out together, and arrange times for him to spend alone with the children, allowing some time for yourself.

  • Each day include plans to do something you enjoy. Find time—even 15 minutes—to meet some of your needs. Learning to nurture yourself as well as your children is important.

  • Keep your perspective and sense of humor. Remember that children are a gift from Heavenly Father, and they grow up fast. Sometimes it may be hard to keep that in mind with dozens of diapers to change, shoelaces to tie, glasses of water to fetch, and peanut butter sandwiches to make. Remember the good times, and maybe the trying times won’t seem so demanding.Lisa Ray Turner, Littleton, Colorado

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Sprouting Beans, Grains, and Seeds

When seeds are purchased in bulk quantities and sprouted at home, they provide a low-cost source of high-quality food. In addition to the more well-known alfalfa and bean sprouts often found in supermarkets, there are also many other varieties of seeds, beans, and grains that work well for sprouting: adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, whole green peas, hulled sunflower seeds, lentils, wheat, garbanzo beans, and others. Experiment with different varieties to find those your family likes best. When choosing seeds, beans, or grains, avoid those that have been treated with fungicides or poisons. Also, seeds stored with carbon dioxide or nitrogen sprout poorly or not at all.

Nutritional Benefits

Sprouting seeds and grains rather than cooking or grinding them into flour provides a natural source of vitamins and enzymes. Enzymes are special proteins that cause biochemical reactions, such as the breakdown of food for digestion. Because cooking temperatures destroy some enzymes and vitamins, it is important that our daily diet includes fresh, uncooked foods. When only cooked food is consumed, the body must draw energy from its own resources to manufacture needed substances, thus robbing other body functions of needed nutrients.

In the October 1986 Ensign, President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “In general, the more food we eat in its natural state—without additives—and the less it is refined, the healthier it will be for us” (p. 2).

How to Grow Sprouts

Although there are many ways to sprout seeds, a simple and economical method gives consistent results. Use wide-mouth quart canning jars with a circle of plastic mesh cut to size and held in place with a canning ring. Plastic mesh, sometimes called plastic canvas, can usually be purchased in a craft store. If you prefer, plastic screen or cheesecloth can also be used but is more difficult to clean. The open mesh allows the sprouts to be rinsed easily and to get air circulation.

Put into a quart jar one cup of large seeds or wheat, or three tablespoons of smaller seeds such as alfalfa, and fill the jar with water. Soak the larger seeds or wheat for 12 hours, the smaller seeds for 6 hours. Drain the water and rinse the seeds by running water through the mesh lid. Store upside down at a 45-degree angle in a place where excess water can drain off. After the initial soaking, don’t allow sprouts to stand in water. Continue to rinse and drain twice a day, or three times a day in warm weather. After maturing for two to three days, sprouts should be about as long as the seed itself. At that point sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for several days without loss of quality.

Uses of Sprouts

Sprouts can be sprinkled on salads or eaten plain. A few handfuls a day will give any diet a nutritional boost. They should be carried in loosely fastened plastic baggies because sprouts need air or their quality suffers. Certain sprouts, such as buckwheat or unhulled sunflower seeds, can be spread over soil in a tray to grow into young, tender plants for salads. The juice of wheat grass, grown in a similar manner, contains a balance of all vitamins and minerals, including cobalt, which we need to produce vitamin B12.

Although it may take weeks to grow food in gardens, seeds sprouted in jars need only a few days to be ready to eat. In cold climates, sprouting can be done indoors, providing fresh, nourishing food all winter. The small amount of time or effort needed to sprout is well rewarded when we are able to eat nutritious food for only pennies per serving.MacClaren Giblette, Moroni, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Helping Children Choose to Behave

Several years ago as a member of a bishopric, I was asked to help a new Primary teacher who was having difficulty with the 10-year-old boys in her class. The boys were restless, inattentive, and occasionally rude and disruptive, and nothing she tried seemed to help.

I attended Primary the following Sunday, and while I was in the room the boys were well behaved. “You are a group of fine young men,” I began. “However, your teacher has indicated that from time to time you are inattentive in class. Because I have confidence in you, I feel that together we can find a solution to this problem.”

Wanting the boys to take responsibility for their actions, I asked them to help me list some of the behaviors they engaged in that might be interfering with others’ learning opportunities. We listed these on the chalkboard. The list included such things as moving chairs around, talking, teasing, not raising hands, and other behaviors common to this age-group. When we finished making the list, I asked what we could do about it. At first, the boys were hesitant to speak, but after a full discussion in which they identified some tentative solutions, I gave each boy a pencil and sheet of paper. On the top of their papers they each wrote, “What will I personally do to change my behavior in this classroom?” I stressed the importance of carefully considering their goals. Each one made a list of four or five things he could do.

We collected their thoughts and indicated the papers would remain with their teacher, who would try to help each learn and enjoy their study of the gospel.

After placing the responsibility for improvement directly on each boy, we noted considerable improvement in the classroom during the following weeks.Dale F. Pearson, Provo, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker