By virtue of being a mother, I am “on alert” all of the time. In this state of greater awareness, we mothers notice the smallest item on the floor as a potential choking hazard for baby. We keep track of where our children are playing. We are pretty good at the memory game (one shoe is in the basement and the match is under the trampoline). We know the dates for girls camp, the time of the piano lesson, and whether our child ate a vegetable today. We are willing hands in the loving care of our children.
A time out for mothers means three things to me: time to be holy, time to rest, and time to grow.
Time to Be Holy
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, time spent focusing on the things of God is one of the most important ways to take time out—it allows us to rejuvenate, prioritize, ponder, and become happier.
Prayer is a source of power; the ability to communicate with a loving Father in Heaven who has our best interests in mind. He knows our struggles, talents, and weaknesses. He knows what we are trying to do for our family to support and love them.
Prayer is the way I share my victories, ideas, and inadequacies. My days are better when I begin them with prayer. Prayer sustains me and help me focus on having a productive and purposeful day. My days are best when ended with prayer. I can report about what I experienced throughout the day. I love the description of prayer in the Bible Dictionary:
“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7: 7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”
If prayer is said to be our way to share our thoughts with God, the word of God (the scriptures) is said to be the way He speaks back to us. They give direction and guidance.
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:3)
Reading the words of God every day is centering and calming. It reminds us of the truly important things on this earth. The scriptures put prestige, wealth, fame and power into their proper perspective — unimportant and fleeting. They put righteousness, charity, obedience and character in their proper perspective as well — essential and eternal. (See Nephi 9:51)
What a perfect time to stop the busyness of everyday life to worship our Father in Heaven, recommit to keep the commandments, and remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. We can worship, rest, spend time with family, recharge and renew for the coming week. Our family chooses not to shop or pursue entertainment or recreation on Sundays. Because of this, we spend the day at home and are able to take time to be still. What a great blessing to be still one day a week in this whirlwind of a world.
Time for Rest
Sleep is a rare commodity in today’s world. Why did we forego this vital element to get ahead and compete in this 24-hours-a-day world? When I stay up too late to get things done in a quiet house, I pay for it the next day with cloudy thinking and low energy. We are counseled to:
“..retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary: arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).
There is a good reason for this advice. Our Father in Heaven knows that mothers need time for sleep!
Time to Grow
With days full of service, mothers have to carve out time to become a better person. We want to and need to develop our talents, interests, and personal relationships. It seems impossible to make the time to do this, but it is needful.
The apostle M. Russell Ballard gave us this counsel:
“…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” (M. Russell Ballard, “Daughters of God,” April 2008).
I hope our time outs can be planned, worthwhile, and renewing. Mothers need the spiritual strength, sleep, and personal enjoyment to do all we are meant to do and all that we are so good at doing for our children.
This post was originally published in July 2008. Minor changes have been made.