The LDS Mother's Almanac - Story Behind the Book

One afternoon after an exhausting day dealing with the chaotic demands of my large family and a busy husband, an editor from Deseret Book called me and asked me to write a comprehensive book for mothers.
"What do you mean by comprehensive?"... I asked.
"You know, you cover about everything a mother needs to know."
I laughed out loud.
"I can't do that. It's not possible and besides, I'm not an expert." I replied.
"We didn't ask you because you're an expert. We asked you because we love your writing style. You help mothers laugh, relax and feel good about themselves and what they do."

After more shameless bribery, I finally agreed to give it a try.

Within the next few days, my husband was called as a Mormon bishop and I found out I was pregnant with child number ten. (I was in my late forties).

I deeply doubted myself. How could I possibly write this book when my husband and children would not quit jumbling up my days with constant family demands and drama? How could I even think straight when I was so nauseated I could barely get my head off the floor. Certainly there was someone out there more qualified. I just was not up for up this. With all the material I could cover, I didn't even know where to start?

That weekend, my husband was headed up to the Homestead resort in Utah for some business meetings and I decided to go with him. While he was in planning meetings during the day, I had the opportunity for some quiet time to think away from my noisy household.

I was sitting alone in a hotel bed pregnant and nauseated contemplating where to begin. How could I write a comprehensive book for mothers when I was still trying to figure out this mom stuff for myself? I cried, but that just gave me a headache. So I got on my knees and prayed with a sincerity and earnestness that only comes from complete desperation. I was on my knees for a long, long time. I poured out all my inadequacies and flaws. I told God I could not write this book without His help.

Finally the answer came, clear and sweet. I needed to re-read the proclamation on the family. As I read, and reread this document, the jumble of anxieties in my head felt at peace for the first time.

“We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

This quote became SECTION ONE titled Better Beginnings where I discussed pregnancy, labor, delivery, and caring for a new baby. I was also living through pregnancy, labor, delivery and caring for a new baby in my own life while I was writing about it.

“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”

This quote became SECTION TWO called Understanding the Basics where I discussed children at different ages of development, discipline, housework, preparing meals, laundry, yard work family finances and fitness. I was also trying to fit in all these hundreds of demands on my energy while I was writing about it.

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

This quote became SECTION THREE where I give ideas for celebrations, birthdays, holidays, important events, the outdoors, family vacations and daily life. I was also living through all the crazy holidays, events and vacations while I was writing about it.

“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

This quote became SECTION FOUR where I discussed expression, art, cooking, crafts, computers, dance, drama, music, photography, reading, science, math, writing, family fun, nurturing self and grandma-hood. I was also wondering how to fit in all that good stuff and learning to be a new grandma while I was writing about it.

“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This quote became SECTION FIVE where I discussed the family and the church, perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, redeeming the dead, balancing busy family life, spiritual growth for moms and dealing with tough problems. I was also trying to create spiritual growth in my unbalanced self while I was writing about it.

Yet, even after I had a vision for the organization and what I wanted to discuss, my life was not happily ever after. I got about 200 pages into the manuscript before I got bogged down and discouraged. I wanted to give up. The new book and my life were just too exhausting and overwhelming. I rarely saw my busy bishop husband, my ten very active children were a hand full and the newborn late-night feedings and teenage curfew breakers kept me in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation.

Then 911 happened. I thought about all the mothers and fathers who were killed in the towers. I thought about the possibility of my own death and what I would want my children and grandchildren to know. My deep love for my own sons and daughters gave me the will to continue when I wanted to give up. So, I just kept waking up every day, rubbing my eyes and giving it my best shot.

Is "The LDS Mother’s Almanac", my comprehensive book for mothers, a literary masterpiece? Far from it. Do I have a perfect family? Far from it. Did I ever see my husband again when he was released as bishop? No. They made him stake president. Did I ever get a goodnight’s sleep? No, I still have teenagers and my husband snores. And guess what, I’ve never really felt like I figured out how to be a mom. I think that’s OK. I think we all feel like that.

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