Emily Watts, a Utah author and senior editor at Deseret Book, is encouraging mothers to be patient in "The Slow-Ripening Fruits of Mothering" (Deseret Book, $10.99).
The scriptures say "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:17). That can put a lot of pressure on a mother to believe that how her children act and the choices they make are a direct reflection on herself.
As a mother of five, Watts knows from experience that "those precious fruits of mothering take a long time to mature, and what's more, they all ripen at different rates."
Watts, who is also a frequent presenter at Time Out for Women, offers these tips in the 41-page book to help mothers get through the slow-ripening process.
1. A mother should have a strong foundation so others' opinions of her children, or her as a mother, won't knock her down. Build a life around the Savior and he will strengthen her.
2. Remember Heavenly Father loves children as much as you do. Mothers are not alone in loving them and wanting the best for them.
3. Remember Heavenly Father doesn't always take the hard things out of a person's path because sometimes those trials are making them who they need to be. Raising children will never be easy.
4. Consider that as a gardener plants, waters and nurtures a plant, the ripening of the fruit depends largely on the sun. So it is with children; a parent must do all he or she can, but then depend on the Son of God.
5. Remember that motherhood is a battle but "they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them, because they put their trust in him" (1 Chronicles 5:20). The Lord will help those through battle if they trust that he will be there for them.
6. Sometimes the fruit doesn't ripen on this side of the veil. Mothers may nurture and pray for their fruits, but sometimes their ripening process will continue into the next life.
7. Keep in mind that the fruit of parenting may not just be children. It may be who she is becoming as a result of being that parent.
8. Remembering the end result can help make life easier. An unripe fruit may be bitter now, but it will someday be a delicious, ripened fruit.