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Author Topic: PRIMARY PRESIDENTS input
jana at jade house
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I have a spark of contention in my unit that I am sort of trying to extinguish before it bursts into flame. We have no mother's room: in the renovation they even removed the audio from the only other room in the building where one could go with unruly small fry.

We have exactly two under 2 in our unit. Neither mother is particularly invested in staying active: both would blame our very aged unit for making them feel unwelcome. There are real differences in the way these tiny people are being raised and how we older mothers raised our children. Some of our elderly sisters are very frank in their objections to kid noise ( and frankly if I could corral my kid and keep him from wandering all over the chapel during the entire meeting, so could they.)

The worst raised voices last week are over a nursing mother who has been told ( not very gently) to stay out of the nursery room with her 6 month old. She is to nurse out in the hall. Because she already has a well developed persecution complex, she feels attacked. When she cried on my shoulder, I did say that Nursery is a classroom for 18 months and over, and surely she understood that. She was told by the PPres that in the manual, infants over six months could be allowed in if it was OK with the nursery worker, and the PPres.

I have been a PPres, and I know that was not in my handbook. Has the handbook been changed?

Before I go to my Bishop and gently suggest that the young moms need a place, not the foyer in front of the world, to go with their little ones, I need to know what page to point to in the manual, if indeed 6 month olds are welcome in the nursery room.

It could be my daughter, or my daughter in law in the next 6 years who come to me weeping because they too are made to feel unwelcome in the unit. It might be nice to plan ahead for the future.

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libertymom5
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I think you can access Handbook 2 online at lds.org.
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jana at jade house
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I did take a look, but I don't know where to start. I thought current presidents would have a better insight. There isn't anything that I could see in the nursery manual.
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Goody Scrivener
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I am Primary secretary, not President, but hopefully I can be of some help.

First, CHI2 says nothing about infants being allowed in nursery. It specifically states that children may begin attending nursery "as soon as they reach the age of 18 months". The only references to infants are in relation to supporting unwed parents.

In my ward, we have allowed children to begin attending nursery at around 15 months *if* their parents are both in callings that prohibit them from stepping away if the child needs attention. We have very few families that fall under that combination of requirements, though, despite being in the middle of a baby boom.

Our bishopric releases at least one parent and give them a less demanding calling when a baby is on the way. It occasionally means that Dad sits in on a Primary class while Mom nurses if Baby really can't be consoled any other way, but even that is rare.

As for being told to nurse her infant in the hallway - this is just alien to me. I realize you don't have a mother's room with comfortable chairs, and if I remember correctly, you meet in a converted restaurant, but there has to be a way.

My daughter's school used wall panels used for making cubicles in office space to create a "quiet room" for students in her class to unwind from being overly stressed. (I hope that link works...) They aren't cheap, I know, and I have no idea about availability of something like this where you are. But it is a way to create a private space without a major remodeling project. There are also partitions on wheels for more flexible usage, but then you risk it not being available when the mothers need it.

I don't really expect you to know answers to this, but they would be good questions for you to pose to your bishop when you talk to him about the situation: Are the children being taught about reverence in nursery and primary? Are their parents reinforcing those lessons away from church? Do they even know how to do so? If the older sisters are vocal in their criticism of the childrens' behavior during sacrament meeting, this is something that really should be addressed, regardless of what happens with this other young mother.

[ May 17, 2012, 08:55 PM: Message edited by: Goody Scrivener ]

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pnr
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This link from the nursery manual is a letter to parents saying don't bring kiddo there until you've taken care of the feeding and restroom needs. http://www.lds.org/languages/childrenmaterials/nursery/Nursery_Teacher__02__LetterToParents_00_eng_.pdf

This one says nursery is from 18-2 years.
http://www.lds.org/service/serving-in-the-church/primary/leader-resources?lang=eng

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dianoia
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Told to nurse in the HALLWAY? I suppose it's better than being told to nurse in the bathroom, but..... oy. I'd be crying too.

I'll be frank, to me it sounds like this is not just the "fault" of young parents not teaching reverence. You've got some other members that need to bridle their tongues a bit and show some compassion. 2 under 2 is a very tiny number of little ones.

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Goody Scrivener
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I assumed that Jana's comment about keeping the children from wandering the chapel meant that we were talking about nursery and primary aged children in that portion of her post. I may have assumed wrong.
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Herr Jones
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This doesn't help much, but thought I'd share anyway.

Bonding with my kids during Sunday School and Priesthood is a great escape from class. I spent much of the last year out in the hall with my youngest while he had lunch and took a nap - couldn't send a hungry, sleepy toddler to Nursery so I volunteered to care for him so Mom could conduct her primary work. Course this changed with the shift to a different schedule and now Nursery isn't during nap time. Dad's can be of assistance in the care of youngsters.

In my current and previous wards, if a parent showed interest in bringing a under 18 month old to Nursery - a Nursery worker calling was extended. Maybe you've found a new worker!?!

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jana at jade house
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Even worse, the hall way is the foyer to you. Every man and his mule trolls by. Not directly in front of the main entrance but close enough.

So- I had a little chat with the grandmother of the ward who is also married to a counselor. While we both understand that one of the young mother's background and life experience has left her with a persecution complex, trust issues and a very argumentative attitude, we neither see the need for her to be left in the foyer- Up on the third floor,and not in a room with audio, is a small room that could be converted to a mother's room if the building folks in the region will let us put a comfortable chair etc. in there.

Possibly part of the problem Sunday is that Sis Nursingmom was in the Nursery chatting the entire time with the nursery person, and just maybe the Bishop's wife/PPres thought it would be better that the two year old present was given a church nursery program rather than babysitting listening to gossips. I do not know.

Sis Everybodysgramma agrees with me that Sis Nursingmom's wee one is a delightful child who rarely squeeks. We can't figure out if the complaints of disruption are real or imagined.

I also know that Sis Nursingmom is under attack from her motherinlaw, Sis Knowall. You remember this family from the diaper throwing incident. Sis Diaperthrower's hubby went inactive and took up with a kinder gentler completelty non church person, bless his heart, and they are pplanning to marry. Their new baby was just born the other day and as is the tradition, Sis Nursingmom and hubby, Sis Knowallson, went to ohh and ahh. As you can well imaginge this caused no end of drama in the Knowall/Diaperthrower camp. So One of the reason's why mom was up in the nursery was to escape the evil eye of MIL.

Sigh- probably more than you want to know about my poor old unit.

It still remains that if the big missionary push they are planning is to have any long term effects we need to have a welcoming comfortable place for young families to come to...This includes tending to young families needs.

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palmetto_gal
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Just throwing in my two cents to add that it's my Branch in South Carolina that meets in the converted Chinese restaurant, not Jana's ward, which meets in The Netherlands.

Also asking if someone can't provide a nice chair that is suitable for a mom and nursing baby for that room on the third floor. We have a sister with serious osteoporosis problems who brought a nice comfy wing-backed, upholstered chair and left it at the church for the rare occasions she attends. On those Sundays, her husband carries the chair to the RS room so that she can sit comfortably. This solution was approved at Branch level.

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cook
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I'm sure this wont be helpful at all, but my two cents anyway. Having been in nursery I totally understand the irritation of having someone there. If she'd be just nursing, being quiet and leaving afterwards, fine.

I totally understand not wanting to nurse in the foyer. Mine were so active that with any kind of covers there was always the risk of showing off too much of my skin and at church it's something shouldn't happen, no matter how natural.

What I do not understand is the need for a comfortable chair. No church building outside US has that huge area and those soft big chairs for nursing mothers. To be honest, I think that's waste of tithing money. In our ward we have a small "room" in the toilet area, where we have two regular chairs and a changing table. It has worked just fine for everyone. I've nursed sitting on a toilet bowl in some places when that was the only place for privacy and it wasn't that bad. My babies weren't traumatized or didn't catch any infections or what ever it is that makes it so repulsive for so many. I've also gone to our car to nurse and that's fine too. Just saying perhaps mothers shouldn't be so picky about where they nurse. Our nursing area doesn't have a audio either. It's been actually nice at times to not have to listen to the talks [Big Grin] . [Big Grin]

What I'm saying the physical facilities etc is what it is and is "fine" in my opinion, when there is no real chance of doing something about the matters. If there is an empty room available during those three hours it could be assigned as a nursing room. That's what's been done in two wards I know here, because there were so many nursing at the same time. Same old regular chairs, but that's fine. So perhaps someone should talk with this mother and see where she would be comfortable nursing. If there simply is no other place than the nursery, then tell her she can use it for nursing, but share the concerns about it disrupting the nursery and help her see how she can make it a good experience for the nursery as well. If it's the only place available I think nursery should be available for her and other nursing mothers.

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pnr
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Perhaps one of the reasons facilitites took out the audio feed is that most buildings now are wired for wireless. No reason someone couldn't skype the person in the mother's lounge with new tech if members their have smartphones and they are given the password to the church wifi (or just use their own link).
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palmon
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What a great idea!
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jana at jade house
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quote:
What I do not understand is the need for a comfortable chair. No church building outside US has that huge area and those soft big chairs for nursing mothers.
Just to be clear, comfortable here is relative to the horrible, backbreaking, stackable, no hope for the spine, seats we are forced to endure every Sunday. I am forced to carry orthopedic support cushions(2) back and forth every Sunday because of the restrictions ( my chair had to go home and stay home.) and we can't leave anything in the building. It is getting old and really pushing my pain tolerance.. I take double medicine on Sunday just to get through the morning. Our ward is not a place for the invalid, nor the young.. I am ready to quit my callings and only attend 20 minutes-long enough to receive sacrament and then leave.

Even the new foyer stuff is hardly more than a board with cloth over it.

Comfortable in this conversation was along the lines of wide enough for mom with armrests. Nothing fancy.

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quidscribis
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quote:
Just to be clear, comfortable here is relative to the horrible, backbreaking, stackable, no hope for the spine, seats we are forced to endure every Sunday. I am forced to carry orthopedic support cushions(2) back and forth every Sunday because of the restrictions ( my chair had to go home and stay home.)
Those chairs make my hips, pelvic bones, and various other joints dislocate after, oh, perhaps five or ten minutes. It takes me a while to be able to walk again after sitting in one of those chairs for a Sunday School lesson. And pain levels? *shudders*

They're horrible.

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cook
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Jana, I know. No armrests here either, though our chairs may bit more comfortable than yours, I think I know which ones you have - some wards here have them too, even in the nursing rooms. And mothers survive.
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palmon
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quote:
only attend 20 minutes-long enough to receive sacrament and then leave
Which is what many do. I half-way think that the benches , chairs, etc are so uncomfortable to keep people awake. With all of today's ability to create ergonomically sound furniture, it is strange that it is never taken advantage of in church constructions.
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Jen
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As far as feeding meetings into a room, you don't even need to get as fancy as wifi and Skype. A baby monitor would do the trick. Then it could be moved to other meetings as needed.

I feel sorry for her. She must feel so isolated.

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libertymom5
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Sorry, but I just don't get what all the fuss is....I live in the US, had 5 babies that I nursed and never had a "mother's room" to do it in. In one ward we had to use the "locker room" which had a wood bench w/no back. 3 metal folding chairs were brought in, but there was not room for anymore than that and if you got there and the chairs were taken you had to sit on the bench. No sound, no windows and it was hot in there! but we survived. With my last baby (he'll be 22 in July), they put a "comfy" chair in the restroom. 1 chair and it was positioned (only place it could fit) that every time someone came in anyone in the hallway could see you sitting there. Basically, I nursed my babies where ever I was. I just wore clothes that I could easily do it in and covered myself and the baby up. Though a couple of the kids hated being covered, then I just found an empty room, which was hard to do sometimes w/4 wards meeting in a building (overlapping schedules). Heck, we didn't even have changing tables (you know the kind on the wall/fold down) back then, we had to use the sink counter if there was one or sometimes I just went out to the car to change a diaper.

Heck, while my kids were babies/toddlers I probably missed hearing 75% of Sacrament meeting because I was in a room or hallway w/no sound. But you know what, we all survived and we were there every Sunday. The important thing I taught my kids was where we were expected to be every Sunday. The baby/toddler phase passes quickly, but the habits you teach stay for a long time.

I understand your frustration Jana on behalf of the nursing mom, but just encourage her to keep coming. Someday this will be behind her and she'll get to fully enjoy the Sunday meetings. Oh, maybe have someone take notes for her of the talks/lessons while she steps out to nurse the baby, that way she can still be "fed" even if she can't hear it.

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Neatgramma
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the tone of this is starting to get to me here a little. OK, a lot more than a little. Suck it up? Endure? This too shall pass? Come on, now. Of all the times I really needed to be fed spiritually was when I was a nursing mother. If motherhood is the greatest most noble calling, why can't we support our mothers with a little comfort and privacy? Nursing is difficult at best!
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libertymom5
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Neatgramma, my intent was not to sound hostile, but to show that most of us had to endure the same situation and we are none the worse for it.

I will back away now and leave you guys alone.

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cook
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Sorry if you feel that way Neatgramma, but appears Libertymom and I have shared similar ecxperiences. Of course, if it is possible to make things very comfortable, it's great. But in many cases it just isn't or doesn't happen or wont happen. Then we need to focus on how to survive it. And one of the things that may help to survive is to know that others have also and perhaps even haven't thought about it being a survival but very normal and haven't even thought to expect something more. Sometimes it makes life so much easier to be content with what you have, no matter how little that is, than to think about what you could have.

As a sidenote, I could not say that nursing is difficult at best. Even with wiggly and fuzzy babies I've never foung it least bit difficult. Amongst the mothers I know (and I know them quite a few) only two have had a hard time nursing and could describe it difficult.

The point being, there needs to be a discussion with the leadership (ward council) after someone (RS pres) has spoken with the sister about her needs. But a need for a comfy chair really in this situation cannot be considered as the most important need since it is something that wont change.

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jana at jade house
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<sigh> And the comfortable chair was suggested simply because having to climb two flights of steep stairs to get to an isolated room in the attic to nurse a baby felt like assigning a punishment.
Chair isn't the point AT ALL. Having to nurse in a high traffic area right in the front hall is.

Also giving future mothers and babies a less exposed place to go is sort of nice if our ward ever grows again... Just because we toughed it out in the olden days, doesn't mean that EVERY other mother has to grit her teeth a soldier on. For some reason these younger parents expect better than misery on a Sunday. Or they quit coming. We will have NO ONE left to carry on.

I, you, and you nursed everywhere all the time and threw a shawl over the whole thing and never missed a beat, but that doesn't mean every one can, or probably should.

For that matter:
I don't know why a mother of 12 can sit her kids in a pew with no toys food or games and they are mouse still. The two toddlers that come and go in our ward ( one is a visitor) are all over everything, climbing on the organ pedals, up under the sac. table. and my gosh what is wrong with some parents??? Only after they fall down the stairs and clobber themselves does any one pick them up and sail out of the room while poor kids is crying. A little late.

Meanwhile those of us with hearing problems are having a lovely time ...maybe I should just stay home.

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Neatgramma
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My point was to be supportive, not contentious. Why can't we pamper those carrying out the most sacred calling of all? Or at least give them privacy and comfort? Saying "I did it, stop complaining," doesn't help. Saying we can't change it doesn't help either. WHY CAN'T IT BE CHANGED???
Dealing with sore nipples, leaks, swollen overfilled breasts, babies who kick off coverings, babies who need fed at the worst possible times, siblings who also need attention, was not ever easy, but absolutely the most valuable important rewarding thing I ever did.
Six babies in 8 years, all breastfed for at least 6 months, I DO know whereof I speak. No mothers' rooms back then, either. Sure I survived, but the mothers' room in our current building with 2 recliners, a sink and a changing table, sound piped in from the chapel would have been heaven, and I might have been able to attend more often in the years I most needed that succor.

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Jen
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Neatgramma, this mom in the trenches thanks you. I don't expect to be pampered, but the understanding you offer here is nice.
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cook
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(just wanting to make the point, one more time, that as much as I love the gospel and church, we are talking about Europe here, which unfortunately means "it cannot change". I wish it wasn't like that in so many things, but it is.)

I think we all feel for the mother and understand how wonderful it is and want to support in all possible ways. Sometimes it just can't be in physical terms.

I just attended a ward this morning where the wife of the Branch president was waiting after the sacrament meeting things to quiet down and people settle down so she could find a place to nurse where she wouldn't be seen by all the old people who might be disturbed by it. They have one big room, a few smaller rooms fully occupied, a very small kitchen and two toilets and a very small foyer with big windows straight to the sidewalk outside, where people constantly pass by. The only chairs you find there are the horrible metallic folding chairs.

My point being that sure, in this situation it needs to be discussed and a solution found what is the best possible option. But it doesn't mean that the best must reach a certain standard.

I don't think anyone is implying that "just let her suffer and if she can't deal with it it's her problem." Just saying that there need to be realism and help her survive and enjoy the circumstances as they are. Sure, doing all you can to make them better is what needs to be done. But it might be that it's not much that can been improved and then the focus needs to be how to help her deal with that.

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FlyByNight
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I think the level of discomfort a person is willing to put up with is dependent on the strength of their testimony. I don't understand this romanticism with Medieval discomfort. Next I'll be hearing what a great idea the Puritans had, having a guy walk the aisle with a long pole with a hammer on one side and a feather on the other.

I would really appreciate someone creating a treatise explaining why discomfort is good that does not contain any form of the reasoning, "I did it, so can you." I find such reasoning completely unpersuasive and meaningless.

Oh and I'm not big on tradition either.

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