We picked the brain of Connie Chavez, a single mother of four, to find out why family time matters most, even when life is hectic. How does your family spend time together? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.
What is the best thing about being a mother?
I would have to say the best thing about being a mother is the opportunity to love these little spirits. Nothing brings me a greater measure of joy than to serve them, share with them, teach them, and watch them grow into young adults. I think being partners with Heavenly Father in the magnificent task of creating and sustaining life is pretty awesome. The partnership doesn't end with birth; He has a vested interest in continuing the partnership forever. It is truly difficult to put the “best thing” about being a mother into a short sentence.
Why is time together as a family a top priority for you?
No other relationships can produce anything to match the joy that comes from family. There is nothing like good, wholesome fun together. Having that type of time somehow fills and sustains the soul in ways that nothing else can. Spending time together creates memories that last. It creates bonds that cannot be broken. It gives us reason to belong to something bigger than ourselves. We have opportunities to work as a team, forgive, repent, confide, console, etc. You can't replicate it.
Do you ever feel too overwhelmed to make time for family activities and discussions? How do you deal with that feeling? What helps you move past it?
Yes! Sometimes I am just spent. I have learned to realize sometimes it is OK to be spent. Sometimes it is not. If it is really pressing, I usually turn to my Heavenly Father for help. I find that reading my scriptures every morning before I face the day helps tremendously. Heavenly Father has the ability to make more out of our resources that we can, and those resources include me. I know He has made more out of me than I possibly could have on my own.
When I just can't take another step, referee another dispute, cook another meal, work another minute, or figure out one more homework problem, He has stepped in and given me what I lack. That's not to say I always get done everything that needs to be done—I've missed the mark on a number of things. But when it counts, He is there, or He sends someone to act as an instrument in His hands to make sure it gets done. The principles of prayer, scripture study, church attendance, and temple attendance may seem elementary, but I have come to know they are essential.
No one is equipped to be a single parent. Something will suffer—either work or family life. I'm grateful to have Heavenly Father's support in both areas, to catch the things that fall through the cracks.