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.

Monday, January 22, 2007


For the first time in my adult life, I am without a calling. Of course there have been a week or two here and there when I have been without one, but right now, officially I am going on about 5 weeks without one. Now the catch is that I am still doing half of my old calling, until they find a replacement, but I have not been called to anything new yet.

This rest period got me thinking about callings in general, and I thought it might be cool if we here at Tales posted on our experiences in specific callings. I would like to keep it positive, maybe post (as opposed to COMMENT ON THIS POST) about your favorite one, or one that you think you grew from, or learned from, or did pretty well. I would also be interested in reading about the challenges of callings and motherhood. I recently was released from being the primary music leader, and so every week I taught my daughter music. This was difficult many times because she would act up, simply because I was in front of her.

I think the catch was that I was entertaining/teaching not only her, but the entire group, and it was hard for her to share me. As a result, she resorted to negative behavior in order to have me focus only on her. I think some of the other teachers questioned whether or not they should step in and help because I was her mother, but I told them YES! Please discipline her, so that I can continue with my lesson.

It wasn't a problem every week, but I rememeber it happening a lot. And of course, we would get home, take naps, and go on with our week and I wouldn't remember it happening until it happened again, so I kept missing my chance to talk with her about it beforehand. My husband would sometimes say in the car on the way to church: "You are going to be good during singing time right?", but that didn't really hold it's weight either.

Katie was the primary prez at the time, and her kids seemed to do really well with her, but I know it was probably hard sometimes because her DH had to visit other wards a lot, so she would have all three kids with her, AND have to be the prez....any thoughts katie?

I have to say that my nursery-baby is doing really well. I go into nursery to do singing time for 15 minutes, and she always wants to leave with me, and I just kiss her goodbye and tell her to be brave, and she is doing really well with the separation anxiety, and she loves singing time, so at least I have a good thing going with her.

Anyway, that will conclude my post for today, on the challenges of having a calling that involves your offspring. I have a few other posts up my sleeve, but if anyone else feels compelled, tales girls or otherwise, feel free to email us....

*ADDED at 9:08 PM EST
hey, I just wanted to apologize for the poor wording of my original post here. My aim was twofold:

1. to start our contributors and readers to thinking of possible posts on callings or callings & motherhood for a future series.

2. to compose the first post in the series with the topic of: callings with your offspring.

My intent was to have this thread focus on similar experiences with callings that involved offspring...instead I feel I am getting more of a response to #1.

So...please if you have great stories like some I have already read here, write them out and email us so that we can devote an entire post to them....and if you have similar experiences with "callings that involve my offspring" please comment below.

Sorry for my mommy-brain and THANK YOU for your patience.


  • Growing up, we can all remember that alternative high school in our district, where all the troubled kids went to try to graduate. And you are probably wondering what that has to do with callings.
    Recently I in our ward they have redone a lot of areas. They released all the old people from young womens, presidency and leaders. I got put in the presidency, with some excitement and some hesitation. As all of us newbies were going around visiting some girls, one of the girls made a comment about out ward, that I always knew was true (the 5 years we have been in it, but brought knew light to it) she called us the alternative high school of the stake (although she used the name of the local high school).
    We all have our work cut out for us in this organization. There are 22 YW on our roll, we have about 6 that come to church and about 2 more that will come on activity nights. I think this will be my most challenging calling, and hope I can learn from it and help the girls. It's just so completely opposite from my YW experience growing up in Seattle. There were enough girls that we could split up for lessons on Sunday, and it was a shock for me that know that I'm in Utah, we have to meet together for lessons and usually the leaders out number the girls. I just wish I knew what to do. I'm excited and think it will challenge me and make me go out of my comfort zone, I just hope my time with the YW is effective.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 08:52:00 AM  

  • One of my favorite callings was team teaching gospel doctrine with your dh, carrie. (Although, at first, I was totally intimidated by him.) I learned so much. All teaching callings feel like that for me. I haven't been a teacher since then and I really miss it. btw, carrie, can he do a guest post summarizing his understanding of elder oakes' conf talk and the notes he used for his EQ lesson?
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 1/22/2007 10:01:00 AM  

  • I am currently going into month 7 of not having a calling. At first I was really excited to be 'free' from any sort of position because I had just been released from some heavy responsibilities in my former callings ( I was also pregnant with baby #3 with a deployed spouse). But as the months have worn on, I have really missed the joy that you can get from serving in the ward. I suppose that one can say that I have a greater appreciation for the ability to hold callings when you don't currently have one. I have welcomed the 'rest' from work but am ready to jump in and help out again. So I guess what I'm saying is that every calling can be good as long as you are actively serving.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 11:25:00 AM  

  • Perfect timing. . . I just taught my last day of early morning seminary this morning. (This technically isn't a calling--it's an "assignment"--I think it has to do with the fact that it is extended through the CES director and in Utah people are actually paid to teach seminary. . . anywho). As I'm expecting our first baby shortly, they are replacing me . . . so it was a bittersweet day. On the one hand, I was glad to be done with the daily lesson prep and the sleeplessness that comes with late pregnancy and early mornings. . . but I'm really going to miss interacting with these great kids everyday. As a little going away present they ALL came today (which is rare) and even baked me a cake.

    Initially, I was really freaked out about this calling/assignment. As one friend put it, "this is the type of calling that could make me question the church." Obviously joking, but point taken. I was asked to be the sem. teacher over the summer and was pretty much dreading it all summer long . . . I'm definitely not an early riser and have problems sleeping in general, so this was going to be a challenge. Anyway--it has turned out to be one of my favorite "callings" ever. I don't think I was a great teacher (I'm not saying this out of modesty either--I really don't know the D&C very well) but I truly love those kids. I think part of the reason I was dreading it was because of my own seminary experience--I slept through most of it and don't remember really interacting with the teacher or connecting with the lessons--in short I was an apathetic/bratty teenager. So I was expecting a gioant kick in the butt from the karma police. . . but these kids stayed awake! They participated! They actually volunteered to read, answer questions, say the prayer, participate in cheesy interactive lessons, play games etc. Don't get me wrong I still had some really tough days, but overall it was worth it. Maybe I just got lucky with a great group of kids, but for many reasons I really feel that this was the perfect calling to have just before the birth of our first child.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 01:57:00 PM  

  • I am just completing my 1st year as Primary Pres and I have 4 little girls. Yes, they are all in Primary with me AND I have one about the same age as Kage's babe (22months). It has been so hard! Trying to balance being "in charge" and being mom bites! There have been many many Sundays that I come home totally exhausted, don't move off the couch and PROMISE that I'm talking to the Bishop TONIGHT to be released. Oh, to top it off, my DH is in his medical residency.....so he's only at church 50% of the month and teaches Sunday School when he is there. Not much help there. So, I believe that callings are one of those "given to us to help us learn" tactics here on earth. Finally after about 9 years of BELIEVING I was going to hell if I said no to a calling, I so do not believe that. I do believe that HF knows us, not necessarily our Bishoprics. We have to trust in Him more and only accept what we can handle. It's hard, a very fine line. I've learned so much about me and what I can do alone, most of the time without DH, and with 4 young girls. Hopefully no one will think I'm trying to belittle Bishoprics or their duties. Bottom line, yes it's so very hard to have a calling that involves your own children. Fun, but hard too.
    posted by Anonymous cali at 1/22/2007 03:08:00 PM  

  • I got married five years ago and have had two (including the one I just got) callings in that time - so, I went for about four years with no calling. I wasn't ever in any ward more than a year, so that may have somethign to do with it, but my husband had callings. We joked that they didn't think I was capable because I didn't have kids :) But I'm in awesome ward now, with a super-easy calling of ctr 5 teacher (easy because of the 3 angelic children in the class). The calling I 'want' is YW leader, but, since I have never actually been one I have no idea if I would be good or not.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 04:05:00 PM  

  • I don't know my official title, but I pick out the hymns for RS and play them (someone else conducts). I try to pick out ones that go with the lesson and/or holidays, etc. I also do a 5-min music appreciation lesson 3 times a month. I usually pick a new hymn for us to learn (usually on lesson topic) or research the history of a specific hymn or sing additional versus that aren't usually sung. I really enjoy and learn when I share and I have ladies in the ward saying that they really appreciate it and that it significantly adds to the lesson. The fact that minimal preparation is required and that I get fairly constant positive feedback from the women in my ward really pushes this calling over the edge as one of my favorites.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 04:31:00 PM  

  • okay this is long- I apologize!

    My calling (1st counselor-Primary pres)is one that I have been grateful for because it is easier FOR ME than others I have had...but harder as well because the president and I are EXTREMELY different in the way we communicate.

    When I was first called, I was shocked that this person would request ME to be their counselor. You see, she and I had been VT comps the summer earlier and it did not work out... mainly because everything we did had to work around HER schedule more than anyone elses, and everyone including our people we visited knew it.

    I had so many uncomfortable experiences with her, that I was very skeptical at first that we could even work together. She was often tactless(one of those people who just don't even realize when they are being rude), overtly bossy, tough, scheduled to the minute to fit HER schedule, and I was, well, not that way.

    I - in the nicest way I could- told her I was shocked that she would pick me to be her counselor. To my utter disbeleif, she ended up confiding to me in tears that she had always looked up to me in certain ways and even said that I had inspired her to try to lose weight this past summer (which she did- 50 lbs!!) I was flabbergasted to say the least!

    At times I have felt the desire to lash out at her because her communating style is so harsh (read: dictatorial), but I had a remarkable dream that has enlightened my mind on the whole situation.

    I dreamt one night that I was actually having a knock-out brawl with a woman in a wheelchair. How bizarre, I thought. I awoke to the realization that the absurdity of my dream was a representation of my relationship to my prim.pres. I was being taught that her dicator-style personality trait was like a handicapp that would be completely unfair for me to fight against.

    I know I have handicapps in different areas, too. And that dream helped me to see that I needed to deal with her kindly, patiently, and wihtout anger. Amazingly, I have felt very blessed in our experience as a presidency since then.

    I am very grateful that I have had this whole experience. My heart has grown more patient and tolerant and less judgemental.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2007 04:52:00 PM  

  • hey, I just wanted to apologize for the poor wording of my original post here. My aim was twofold:

    1. to start our contributors and readers to thinking of possible posts on callings or callings & motherhood for a future series.

    2. to compose the first post in the series with the topic of: callings with your offspring.

    My intent was to have this thread focus on similar experiences with callings that involved offspring...instead I feel I am getting more of a response to #1.

    So...please if you have great stories like some I have already read here, write them out and email us so that we can devote an entire post to them....and if you have similar experiences with "callings that involve my offspring" please comment below.

    Sorry for my mommy-brain and THANK YOU for your patience.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/22/2007 06:02:00 PM  

  • Hmmm. My last calling was primary prez (Kage as chorister). Interesting challenges and benefits involving kids. I LOVED being in primary with my ds who was 3 when I first joined primary (not as prez) and 5 when we moved. It was priceless to watch him pass of articles of faith in song. And so fun to watch him answer questions (or wait for his teacher to whisper the answer). I miss that a lot. I, of course, also had to take him potty since I was around and he didn't want his teacher to. The challenge was that I had a baby girl and a 3 year old who was still in nursery. Baby of course took attention and feeding and holding. Toddler decided in different phases to revolt against nursery and my only choice was to bring her to primary. I couldn't send her with DH as he was often busy with high council running around. I did feel awkward about it at first and hoped people didn't see me as breaking the rules just cuz I was in charge. I simply had no other choice. At times it was fun to have her there--cute to watch her interact with teachers, kids, and sing. But, she was another kid of mine with a variety of needs and preferences to attend to.

    Being in charge of primary with teachers who often don't show up or don't get subs is very challenging. So, throw 3 kids in the mix and it could get wild and stressful. There were many a Sunday that I felt my brain would fry. It was not easy to keep track of everything and everyone (adults and children alike).

    I thought of myself as somewhat of a minimilist president. I didn't hold lots of meetings or extra long/involved quarterly activities. We did our best to have Sundays go as smoothly as possible and do a few of the extras (that aren't really considered extra, but whaddaya do). Even then I was often overwhelmed. But all in all I think it went fairly well.

    I enjoyed being president. However, I would love to invent the calling of Sharing Time Teacher. That's my favorite part. I would love to devote all my attention to that and not deal with all the rest of the craziness at the same time. :)

    Kage--I think the situation with your dd was frustrating to you for good reason. I think sometimes you were probably more frustrated, though, than need be. But, because it was such a tiny primary her misbehavior (specifically her determination not to sing/participate at times) was a lot more noticeable. If we'd been in a primary with 10 Sunbeams nobody would have cared. It may not help to hear that now, but maybe since you're still filling in you can use that perspective. Would I care/notice if there were 10-20 other kids doing right? (And I know, sometimes that answer will still be YES! ha ha)

    I do think that we others should have been more helpful though. My first preference would have been to have her teacher to the disciplining, but that didn't really happen, so others had to jump in. I think we often forgot to. At least I did--kind of spacing out while someone else was in charge. Gulp. Sorry. :) I was glad when you reminded us to jump in.

    How is primary going anyway? New presidency showing me up? ha ha With the new stake people I'm sure they're putting me to shame! I miss y'all.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 1/22/2007 06:45:00 PM  

  • Ryann--Go tell the Bishopric you want a calling. I bet they'll find you one. :)

    Rachel H --LOL! I am the PP in my ward, and you described my 2nd counselor. We have a hard time, too, but I have the great knowledge and confirmation from the Lord that she was meant to be my counselor. Don't forget that. She was inspired to have you. It had to go through the Bishopric. It came from God. And good for you for trying to make it work! I promise you will see more blessings coming from that effort.


    All I have to add is that I'm the PP and 3 of my kids (oh, wait --I only have 3 kids) are in Primary. Luckily #3 is in nursery, so I just have my daughters. And I have this to say: (people may hate me for this)
    If you are firm with your children (not mean, FIRM) about staying in nursery from the beginning, and then expect them to sit still in Primary, or school, or wherever and just try their best, it will be easier.
    My girls know that Mom is more-or-less "working" when in Primary. She does not (and WILL NOT) put up with any misbehavior on their parts. Amazingly enough, my girls have been great. It's not that they never talk or sometimes have to be shushed by the teachers, but they know that I'm not going to dive in and take care of their every whim.
    Of course, I did teach them this behavior and already had very high expectations BEFORE I was called to be the PP...but I am so grateful every week that I had done that. It has made it so much easier for me now.
    (Okay --now disclaimer for CALI --I'm sure it's hard when your husband is not there, and I did not mean this comment to reflect on anything you are doing in your own calling and as a mother. I know we all do the best we can and so I really don't want you to think I'm singling you out, because I'm not!! This is actually something I"ve thought about a lot lately.)

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/23/2007 05:50:00 PM  

  • I had the opportunity to serve in YW when my 2 daughters were teenagers. This meant that I was at girl's camp with them and regularly taught lessons where I was able to bear my testimony in a more intimate way than I would in sacrament meeting. I felt that my daughters were more receptive to my testimony during these times (especially at camp) then they would be if I just sat them down one on one at home. I think it felt less preachy. I also have 3 sons and I felt like I would miss out on those kinds of opportunities with them - BUT Heavenly Father took care of that. I was asked to be a seminary teacher and taught 2 of my sons. So once again I was able to bear my testimony to my children in a non-threatening, non-preachy environment. I still have one son that just started seminary this year. I hope that I will be able to teach him, too. Our stake is always looking for volunteers to teach seminary.
    posted by Anonymous Kathi at 1/24/2007 12:57:00 AM  

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