If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage“
When I think of being creative, my mind often goes to the creative arts, and quickly, I feel out of my league. But as I thought about it, and pondered President Uchtdorf’s amazing talk, I realized that as a mom, in simple ways, I do have opportunities to create. And as President Uchtdorf said, engaging in the work of creation does bring me a deep sense of joy and a deepened love for and appreciate of my children.
I should note that motherhood has not come naturally to me. It has stretched me out of my comfort zone and exposed many weaknesses, and continues to do so. But I do find that when I put my heart into it — for example, by creating in ways that I share below — I find a great deal of growth and satisfaction in this eternally-important role.
Creating Teaching Moments
I like to create teaching moments for my children, whom I will sometimes affectionately call little spiritual sponges; they soak up so much if I’m willing to put in the work to teach them. We have had some fun along the way learning together. I also like creating visual reminders with them of what we have learned.
For example this is a “Gratitude Poster” that we did for Family Home Evening several years ago. It still hangs on our wall. Between photos and magazine clippings, we had quite a fun time creating our poster. As you can see, we are grateful for the Savior (He’s at the center), for prophets (President Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet at the time, and we also included some ancient prophets, like Nephi), for family, for the temple, for the priesthood, for covenants, for the beautiful earth God has created, for friends, for books, for food, church….and the list goes on. At the time, our girls were taking ballet, so there is even a big ballet shoe there at the bottom.
During another Family Home Evening, we did a “Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy” lesson. I think Grandma and Grandpa were there. We talked about the things that are good to do on that day, and the things we should avoid. We took turns drawing strips of paper from a hat and gluing them one one side or the other; the children loved it. (For more information on the history of Family Home Evening, see here.)
We still have that poster in our family room as well. (So much for fancy decorations, huh?)
Once in a great while, though, we do get a little more fancy.
I like creating memories with my children in our day-to-day life. Several months ago, our eight-year-old daughter had an etiquette lesson at school. She learned the ropes about table settings. On a whim, I decided to help her make a nice dinner, using our fancy dishes. We surprised Dad with it all. During the dinner, she also taught us things she had learned about manners. It’s a night we will all remember.
On another whim, just a few weeks ago as school ended, we decided to have an end-of-school party with the neighborhood children. We just played games, watched a movie (we picked from one we already had), ate some snacks (including the simple graduation treats below).
Recently, while on vacation, each of my girls wanted to help in the kitchen, and each time, we decided to turn it into a “let’s play restaurant” game. So I tried to step back and let them create. One daughter had an idea for a fun dessert with what we had on hand.
One another day, my youngest daughter really went all-out, including fancy (plastic) glasses with fruit punch…
And hand-made menus and bills.
Creating as I Cook
Lastly, I like to create food that uses food storage and hides healthy food for my children. Of course, sometimes the experiments don’t work so well, but there are a few things that have become standard fare.
For example, rather than using canned cream of chicken soup for tuna casserole, I make a sauce with boullion cubes dissolved in water, thickened with 2-3 T canola or olive oil and the same amount of wheat flour, 2-3 T of ground light flax seed and/or quinoa flakes, and enough milk to make it the right consistency. Oh, and I puree a can of white beans, too. I add two cans of tuna and that sauce goes over 16-24 oz of cooked, shaped pasta.
I use this sauce for other recipes as well, like Hawaiian Haystacks (rice covered in chicken, sauce, pineapple, and other toppings, including chow mein noodles).
Recently, I experimented with making cookies with egg substitutes and wheat flour. I used a regular recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies, and just used wheat flour instead of white, and an eggs substitute and ground flax seeds (mixed with the allocated amount of water) instead of eggs. They didn’t turn out too bad. I’ll probably need to tweak them, though, before I’ll take them to a ward party. [Update: I tried them a second time and they turned out yummy!]
Don’t ask me about my broccoli lasagna, though. I am sure my children will talk about that someday at my funeral. “Mom liked to experiment with hiding healthy foods as she cooked. But that broccoli lasagna was dis-gus-ting!” (Actually, one child liked it, but even I found it intolerable. I won’t ever use raw broccoli again in such a recipe….)
How do you create in your day-to-day life? Send us pictures or just share your thoughts below by submitting a comment.
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. —Pres. Uchtdorf