“SOS for Busy Mothers,” Ensign, June 1995, 72–73
Several years ago our family had six children under the age of eleven, and the small rooms of our house bulged with bodies. For me, it was the “burn the candle at both ends” stage of life. Along with trying to meet my children’s needs and keep an orderly house, I tried to support my husband in his calling as bishop. I often felt I was swimming for my life against tides of frustration and confusion. Without the strength that came through daily scripture study and prayer, I felt I would drown spiritually and emotionally.
I often thought of the advice given to my mother when she was in similar circumstances. She, too, had a large family, and her husband was a mission president. On a visit to the mission, Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had told her, “Sister Hatch, the Lord is not frantic, and he does not want you to be.”
This was good advice, but I had a hard time living it. When could I, the mother of a large young family and the wife of a busy man, ever fill my own spiritual and emotional needs? I needed help. I asked for it daily, sought it fervently, and eventually received it. My answer came as an SOS plan that to me stood for solitude, organization, and simplification.
Strength through Solitude
I learned the importance of taking some time each day for myself. I used this time apart to ponder and pray, study the scriptures, and be taught by the Spirit. It was a time to evaluate, repent, forgive, and receive insight and inspiration in whatever combination I needed on a particular day.
The Lord Jesus Christ needed solitary time. Matthew records: “He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matt. 14:23). The Lord knew the source of his strength. I discovered that I, too, could gain strength through solitude.
Order through Organization
I wanted to pattern my life after the Savior’s and to mold our home according to his plan. He said, “Behold, mine house is a house of order” (D&C 132:8) and “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
I found that the first step toward my accomplishing these goals was to organize my own life. During my time of solitude, I recommitted to my values, reviewed my long-term goals, and wrote daily to-do lists.
Serenity through Simplification
There are more good things to be done each day than I have time or energy to do. As a busy mother I learned to rank these good things in order of importance. Prioritizing was my way of simplifying.
The scripture “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33) helped me remember to put first things first. When I wasn’t able to do everything I planned to do, I felt good if I did the things that mattered most.
I made time for solitude early in the mornings, in the evenings when the children were in bed, or anytime I could snatch a few minutes for myself. I learned that my days went better when I took time to pray and ask for the Lord’s help during the rest of my busy day. My SOS plan became my lifeline for spiritual strength.—Michelle H. Sandberg, Loveland, Colorado