17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Would You Take The Calling?

I've been asked in my new ward to work in the Cub Scouts as leader of about 10 nine-year old boys (Bears). I'd need to lead a weekly activity and attend one or two meetings a month. Usually I'd be happy to accept any and every church calling, but my concern is:

How can I do it and keep my 16-month old happy?

Joseph is a sweet little angel, but very active and strong-willed lately. We never make it past the opening song of Sacrament Meeting. If we stay for all three hours of church, we are in the halls trying to keep him from crying. I try stickers, books, crayons, snacks... each new item/game amuses him for a moment, then he wants to run around and look for danger. He also cries hysterically if away from his mother, so I don't do anything he can't come along for.

Many of you have multiple little ones and busy toddlers or youngsters. How do you lead a group of Cub Scouts in an activity when your own son is likely to need your full attention? How can I promise to take good care of the Bears when some days I can hardly figure out what to do with my own son?

Do I have the faith to ask for a miracle or do I just say I can't handle it right now?


  • I was called to the exact same position when my daughter was the same age. I really hesitated and prayed about the calling because it just did not feel like a "fit" for me. Not only was my daughter a handful, but my husband was deployed a lot with the military and would not be able to help.

    However, I accepted the calling. I tried my best and really made a big effort to fulfill the calling. After 8 months of trying I asked to be released. It was just too difficult for me at that point (I also had two additional callings).

    I think that I knew that I probably should not have accepted the calling in the first place but felt too much guilt when I wanted to turn it down. However, I think that HF was also telling me that it would not work. So my advice is to pray and follow your gut. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.
    posted by Blogger Ryann at 6/17/2006 11:02:00 AM  

  • I've also had a bit of experience with this kind of thing. Two years ago we moved accross country, I had 3 little ones, just barely prego with #4, husband starting residency, new home, no friends blah blah blah. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed!! So, for the first time in my 29 years of churchhood, I said no to a calling! Yes, I felt guilty and worthless, but I had also prayed about it and felt like it was "right". I know it may sound strange to some, but I think sometimes we get asked to serve in certain areas at certain times in our life not so much so we accept it, but so we can learn about ourselves and know our limits. I truly thought I was a one-hit woman ready to take on the world up until then. I KNEW, when I was extended the call, that I couldn't add one more thing to my plate. It's a whole separate blog, but I believe in the mormom culture we sometimes get out of control because of the guilt and pressure we put on ourselves as women to serve and serve and give till we drop. It's a very fine line.....the very most important thing to do is being in constant communication with HF. He'll let you know somehow what's best :) And, if you feel it's not right for you now.....you will be given other opportunities to serve. That you can always count on :)
    posted by Anonymous cali at 6/17/2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • LeeAnn, maybe you should just TRY it. A little boy with a bunch of big boys sounds like the perfect combination. Maybe your first badge can be a babysitting badge, that way both the BEARS and your crazy son can be involved and they will get to know each other. Pretty soon they will look forward to hanging out with each other, and since you know you taught them well about early childhood care, you can count on them to help you during your meetings. Of course the description is ideal and all, but maybe it will work out. At least your son will not be required to be reverend
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/17/2006 12:47:00 PM  

  • I also think that if you choose to accept this calling, you should ask the boys to help you with the busy toddler. You might be surprised by how well they do!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/17/2006 01:11:00 PM  

  • I think you should ask the leaders who called you. "What do you expect me to do with my little boy?"

    Is this an after school calling? Is your spouse not available?
    posted by Blogger Ann at 6/17/2006 01:39:00 PM  

  • I agree with Kage. It does sound ideal, but you never know... maybe your little guy would look up to these older boys. Maybe it's just what he needs if everything else isn't working. And ditto on the babysitting badge thing.

    Also, is your dh around? Is it possible for him to help out with your little one? Maybe it could turn into some good father / son bonding time? Even if your little guy has a hard time without you in the beginning, you would be teaching him a great lesson --- that he is okay without you, and that his dad can be his buddy, too.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 6/17/2006 02:28:00 PM  

  • Take the calling. If your son really does pitch a fit every time he's not around mom, it's time he learned that not being around mom is not the end of the world. That might sound harsh, but it's really better in the long run if he can be babysat by multiple adults (or teenagers) without freaking out. It will also help your sanity a lot if you can leave him once in a while.

    You might really enjoy this outlet. I always think a calling is given because the person being called has a need, or because someone they would serve has a need.See if there's not something you get out of this that you didn't expect, or maybe you're just what one (or many) of those 10 year old boys need right now.

    Our primary is so small, we have zero 10 year old boys, so be grateful you have a functioning Primary with a full scout program.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 6/17/2006 02:48:00 PM  

  • Oh, the irony! I was called to be the Bear Den mother when my oldest was 16 months old, too. However, there were 12 boys --and so there were 3 leaders. One of the leaders has teenage daughters, and so they very graciously took my daughter while we had den meeting each week. Sometimes it didn't work out, and #1 just had to be there. But we worked through it and the boys were great with it.

    Just try it. kage is right.

    Side note --do you have an assitant? If not, you should. In fact, if you don't, you need to explain to your Bishopric that the BSA are VERY picky about there being 2-deep leadership. So, if you are doing this alone, it is SO AGAINST protocol. That should get you an assistant. :) Good luck!!

    P.S. By the way, I still feel that this was, by far, the easiest calling I have ever had. Not just because it was non-Sunday, but because the boys made stuff so much fun. If you ever need ideas...let me know! I'm full of 'em! :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 6/17/2006 02:54:00 PM  

  • Yes, I would take the calling. I feel like callings should be accepted unless you're absolutely maxed out in some area of your life. Sounds like you've just got a juggling act to do and it might be fun! I agree that your little guy should be getting used to someone other than mom 100% of the time. It'll just make life easier for adding more chillins! Good luck!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/17/2006 03:25:00 PM  

  • I was recently asked to serve in a calling, one that I had just served in for two years in a previous ward. (And the HARDEST calling I have ever had for me ever) I have had MANY callings. I have NEVER turned one down. But after I acceppted the call from the person in the bishopbric I immediately began to cry and felt totally sick about it. I spent 2 weeks thinking and praying about it, and last week I turned it down. I'll tell you what, when I finally got an answer to prayer on this, I was completely at peace. I have felt no guilt at all. I have been reassured in my heart that I'll be able to serve in another capacity for our ward. If you are really toubled about it, just be sure and get that confirmation on your own before you say yes.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 6/17/2006 04:38:00 PM  

  • BSA rules require two adult leaders--so you won't be flying solo. If the other leader(s) are capable of either watching your child during the meeting (or: leading the meeting and you would do prep work), then this is workable.

    But if your ward is trying to skirt the rules and only have one leader say NO WAY.
    posted by Blogger Julie M. Smith at 6/17/2006 05:56:00 PM  

  • If you don't feel right about the calling, you might ask the person that extended it if the calling is one of inspiration or convenience. They may tell you that it was not inspired and you can explain how hard it would be.

    In my branch, the leadership never seems to factor babies into their "callings" of convenience. It is a hard situation to be in.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 6/17/2006 08:10:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all the input, it really helped me think and be prayerful. In the end, I went to the bishopric and said that even though I was scared, I'd take the calling because I need the blessings and want to serve. However, having seen how stressed I was and how I could hardly keep my baby happy when the first counselor was at my home to extend the calling, they are now thinking of finding a different calling for me. I'm blessed to have a very good, compassionate bishopric.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 6/19/2006 09:27:00 AM  

  • It sounds like you did the right thing, LeeAnn. You didn't have to say no....and your bishopric began to understand it may not be the most inspired calling for you at this time.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 6/19/2006 10:11:00 AM  

  • I've been in Scouts for 3 and 1/2 years. I've been a mom for 4 years. You do the math.
    I've been virtually alone for the last 3 years because NO-ONE will take a calling for Scouts. It's considered unimportant to many people and is definitely not one of the "prestige" callings. My sons love going to Scouts with me. The oldest has grown up with the Scouting program every week and I get great joy when he tries to salute the flag and say the pledge at our meetings. I let them roam the room and bring an easier version of our activity for them to try. When the youngest was much smaller I carried him in a backpack as I worked with my boys, it kept him close and he loved moving around with me.
    Recently someone tried to get me called into the Young Womens program. There was a lot of discussion about it and the bishopric finally decided they couldn't pull me from Scouts because no-one else would keep the program together. And I'm happy about it, because I wouldn't be able to see MY boys in a half assed program and not feel guilty for leaving.
    We're teaching these boys how to be kind, help others, and prepare to be strong young men. I've learned so much about myself and I'm more prepared for raising my own sons. It's most assuredly not easy all the time, and you won't get a lot of recognition, but it's a great chance to act like a kid and influence our future leaders. So many people say no because it seems difficult, but I know they are missing out on a lot. So give it a chance, you might find it's not as bad as you thought.
    I told the bishopric straight off that I would only hold the one calling(scouts). It takes more than an hour a week and it made no sense to be overwhelmed. My husband is also military, so I didn't have the support to try and juggle callings. There are a lot of shortcuts you will pick up along the way that makes things easier. And as long as they have fun, the boys don't care how efficient you are. We're all here as resources for you!!
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 6/19/2006 02:55:00 PM  

  • I teach the webelos. I have an almost 2 year old, a 4 year old and a 6 year old. It has almost been a year. It has been fun. The boys will love your baby. I put mine in a travel crib in the same room while he watches us. I do it my house though. It is worth any mess the kids may make. Lots of times I just put my baby down for a nap. It can work. The Lord will help you. I think we forget that and try to do things on our own too often. Try it for a while. If you feel it is just too overwhelming, ask to be released.
    posted by Blogger melissa c at 6/19/2006 04:34:00 PM  

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