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Mormon Mothers on the Move

Mormon Mothers on the Move
7 May 2011
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — This Sunday mothers across New Zealand will enjoy breakfast in bed and other gifts from their husbands and children. Many of us will pause to thank and say “I love you” to our wife, mother, sister, aunt or grandmother, for all they do and are.

We visited with three women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to find out what matters most to them, how they feel about being a mum, how they juggle their many roles, and how their faith helps them remain optimistic and upbeat. Here are their stories:

Pamela is married, a mother and a grandmother. Some of her other roles include businesswoman, author, and church leader.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a very happily married 55 year-old Latter-day Saint wife, and mother of five children and 10 grandchildren. I am actively involved with my family in an educational entertainment business where I am responsible for public relations, designing and making costumes, working as the stage manager for concerts and feeding the masses. I love writing and have published seven novels and 12 children’s books.
Describe a normal day in your life.
A normal day is never normal and full of a variety of things to do. I usually wake very early, around 4 am, and I often do sewing projects for people or my writing. Between 6:30am and 8:00am I exercise and do scripture study. Housework until 10:00 then I work on our family business until dinnertime (I work at home). I prepare dinner then work with the young single adults in my church, or do more sewing, writing or maybe watch a TV program.
What are your biggest challenges?
When there is much to do and such a variety of things, it is possible to feel a bit overwhelmed at times and to wonder if I’m up to the task.
What inspires you to do what you do, and where do you draw your strength?
My family inspires me. I want to be the sort of person my grandchildren would want to be and I want them to have really lovely memories of me alongside a very sure knowledge of my testimony of Jesus Christ. I read the scriptures and other faith promoting works. When I read the particular promises the Lord has made to me, I feel great strength and power and I have absolute faith that my prayers are heard and answered. My husband is also a great source of strength.
What is your idea of a woman’s role in the home?
I love what it says in the Relief Society Declaration [a Latter-day Saint statement] that we “dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families and homes and delight in service and good works and that we find nobility in womanhood and joy in motherhood.” My husband and I made a commitment when we married that I would be an ‘at-home’ mum and I now have the advantage of hindsight and seeing how important that was in raising our family. I have contributed financially with work I could do at home but my priority has always been to be there for my husband and children and to make our home their sanctuary. I love being a wife and mother and now delight in being a grandmother.

Melanie runs a family business with her husband, is a busy mother of five, and holds a leadership position in her church.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m L.D.S. [a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], and a mother of five. I’m active in church and the community, professional, family-focused. I like to play netball (still), to prepare and eat good food (not quite MasterChef standard), like to do well, help others and spend time with positive people.
Describe a normal day in your life.
Well, busy but good. We plan each week with the kids to make sure everything is covered, and that the kids know what is happening, especially if my husband or I are traveling out of town for work. Yesterday: family scriptures; breakfast; prayers; school drop off; respond to emails; study and prepare presentation; go to university; pick up kids; take daughter to buy laptop; pick up tea on the way home (not typical but necessary this day); eat; take son to rubgy weigh in; discussion time with kids before bedtime; watch DVD; sleep (between night time visits from various children).
What are your biggest challenges?
Sometimes I have to slow down. I get on a roll and tend to think through things quickly due to the different plates I need to keep spinning. I need to remember to take time to pause and consider others and their views and give them a chance to process what they need to.
What inspires you to do what you do, and where do you draw your strength?
I saw a quote on a billboard when I was about 21 years old. It was by Shakespeare and it said “I would rather die of thirst than drink from the bitter cup of mediocrity.” I think about that a lot. I have a desire to serve and believe if it is worth doing then it should be done well. I think about how I need to live and dedicate my time and talents to serving others. I know I am a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven. I have a purpose and an acute awareness that I have a responsibility as a wife and mother to do certain things in ways that are for the long-term benefit of our family unit.
What does your marriage commitment mean to you?
I read today on a Church website that “every temple wedding is a royal wedding,” and that is how I feel. [Mormons who marry in Latter-day Saint temples are married for eternity.] Your relationship with your spouse is paramount, to be able to fully trust and be secure in that eternal partnership. Eternity is a long time so it needs to be a joyous time — and that is as much about trying to be the right person as marrying the right person.

Eileen is married, a mother of five and a former marketing consultant. In addition to being a wife and mother she is responsible for community, media and interfaith relations for her church.
Give us a brief description of some of the important things in your life.
I’m a mother of five and former marketing consultant. I’ve been married for over 17 years and we have seen many great times as well as some tough ones. We spend as much time together as possible on the weekends working and having fun around home. Our family is really into music and you often hear instruments and voices echoing in our home, all hours of the day. We also love getting out into nature together on foot or by bike.
Describe your role as a community volunteer.
I love my husband and kids but also enjoy doing things that I love. Our church has been a great vehicle for me to get involved with our community in many projects, large and small, from a handful of women baking cookies for a night shelter, larger groups cleaning the soup kitchen, helping women’s refuge and food banks, to 280 volunteers making over a local school and park. I love making a difference in my community and in the lives of others, but the most important difference I’ll make in life is in the lives of my kids.
How has your faith helped you cope with the challenges of life?
My husband and I were married for eternity in the Latter-day Saint temple in Switzerland. Knowing we’re married for eternity gives a completely different perspective when difficulties arise, such as when our two-year-old boy died eight years ago. An eternal perspective gave us the strength to grieve and still have peace. To love him and miss him and still have hope. To know we’ll see him again. May is a really hard month for me. The anniversary of our son’s death is coming up and it is always a sad time for me. But we know that we’ll be together after we die, and need to work out whatever difficulties we have with the Saviour as our guide and mentor. We love each other and we know that God loves us.

These remarkable women share common values such as being dedicated and loyal to their families, wanting to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways, and using their talents to fill many roles and serve others. They have a direction for their lives and feel certain the work they are doing has meaning and purpose, especially their commitment to marriage and family. Their faith and spiritual knowledge is strengthened by scripture reading and prayer and gives them hope for the future, peace of mind, and strength to overcome the challenges they face.
We at wish these women of faith and good works and remarkable mothers everywhere a happy Mother’s Day for this Sunday.
In New Zealand, there are around 50,000 women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These women face the same challenges as all women, but do so with the unique perspective of their belief in Jesus Christ, His teachings and example.
To read about and watch videos about other Latter-day Saint women, click here.

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