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Heather B. Moore: Finding the strength to continue mothering

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from "The Art of Motherhood" (Covenant Communications, $19.99), which includes 30 essays from Mormon authors.

As a young mother, the only quiet time I had from my children was when I buckled them into their car seats, closed the van door, and walked around the van to the driver’s seat. Twelve seconds of quiet. If I walked around the other way, I had 20 seconds.

As a mother of growing teenagers, the quiet time is more readily available, but I’ve found that it’s not the blessed relief I thought it might be. The quiet moments are filled with the noise of worry in my head. The noise of “Have I been a good mom?” “Are they prepared to meet challenges?” “Will they grow strong in their faith?” And the ever-present, “What are they doing now?”

Ripening in motherhood can be bitter and sweet. We’ve all been told the time our children are young passes in the blink of an eye. But for me, the concept of hurry and do everything you can and make sure you teach them right hasn’t rung as true as the question, “Did I slow down enough to enjoy their childhood … and just simply enjoy those little souls sent from heaven?”

In our high-speed world of technology, voicemail, smartphones, wireless laptops, live streaming, and instant everything, it’s a wonder we have time to breathe, let alone enjoy the simple things of life.

Mothering includes very little quiet time — or thinking time. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the important things important and the busyness at a manageable balance. In the on-demand lifestyle of our modern-day world, how do we find joy in the challenging, yet divine tasks of mothering?

My husband and I lived away from family when my son was two and my daughter a newborn. My husband traveled nearly every week for his job. I remember one evening putting my screaming baby in her car seat, placing the car seat on the bathroom floor, and shutting the door to drown out her cries for a few precious moments so that I could read my son a bedtime story. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed, tired and felt very alone. Chocolate couldn’t even fix this one.

But then I realized I wasn’t alone. I tucked my son into bed, picked up my hysterical baby, and walked the floor with her. After the baby settled down for the night, I opened my scriptures. I needed assurance that I was going to be all right, that things would get better — or at least that I’d be strengthened.

I read a few passages in the Book of Mormon, then my mind wandered. I thought about how difficult it must have been for the pioneers to bring small children across the plains. How did those women keep their good attitudes and their faith strong? Then it hit me. They had a testimony of the Book of Mormon. They had precious scriptures to nurture their hearts.

I, too, wanted an assurance of my motherhood role so I could feel peace in the chaos. Through some trial and error, I found three things that helped me. Befriending other mothers helped me share and cherish small moments and rejoice in milestones. I became more dedicated in listening and internalizing the counsel from our LDS Church leaders. And when I felt weighed down with my burdens of responsibility, I turned to the Lord in prayer, fasting, and scripture study.

Reading the Book of Mormon has become an anchor now, and no matter how hard the winds blow, I have found peace at the most challenging times of my life.

Heather B. Moore is a Best of State and Whitney awards-winning author for her historical novels. Her website is at