Monday, April 25, 2011

Living the Gospel in Latter-Days: Getting to the Temple

When my husband and I first got married (8 years ago) we used to attend the temple A LOT! In the first few years of our marriage we went at least twice a month and often, every week.

Then we had one baby, and going to the temple became trickier. We still worked it out though and did a babysitting swap with a couple in our ward. We would switch every other Saturday and that way we still got to go to the temple about 2 times a month.

Then... we had a SECOND baby and things became more difficult. We still had babysitting trades with other couples but instead of twice a month we switched to once a month, and with the help of family we were able to get to the temple twice a month once in a while. We'd average about 15 times a year going to the temple (which seems so little sometimes).

Now days we have 3 children and we don't have anyone to babysit trade with (who wants to watch our 3 kids on a frequent basis, right?) So getting to the temple is becoming increasingly difficult.

I know we are so fortunate to live close to a temple (it's about a 5 minute drive) and I feel guilty for not taking advantage of the temple, especially since we might be moving to another state that will most likely not have temple close by.

  • So, what are your tips for getting to the temple?
  • What to you is a reasonable "frequent" attendance? Once a month? Once every other month?
  • How do you go when you have children? Do you go separately? Do you go with your spouse?
  • Do you rotate through different ordinances?
  • How do you keep from feeling guilty about not going as much, but yet feel like you are doing all you can?
  • What do you do if you live FAR from a temple?
  • Mostly, how do you find the time when you have young children??

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The Fishes said...

Living out of Utah has drastically cut down on temple trips for us. Currently the closest temple is a 2 1/2 hour drive each way (soon to be only 2 when the Atlanta temple is rededicated next Sunday!!) :) Add in a session (which don't run every day and have to be scheduled a couple weeks out) to the drive and you are gone all day, not good since family is all farther away than the temple and I don't feel like anyone wants 2 extra kids for their day. We have made a couple trips up all together as a family this year and rotated who went to the temple. I have even had my husband take the kids over night for me and a close friend so we could get some Mommy time and attend the temple as well. I know some of our friends actually have taken a babysitter (usually a YW) up to the temple with them so the actual time babysitting isn't as long. Any way you look at it it's expensive and time consuming. When kids were nursing there were no temple trips, since they couldn't be left all day, until we got back to UT where family could take them and we could get back quickly.

Just this past Saturday we had the opportunity to work at the Atlanta Temple open house. It was amazing and we are so glad that we were able to do it, but it cost us about $40 in gas, lunch & dinner about $50, as well as $80 to a babysitter, since most of our ward was helping at the same time we didn't have anyone to trade with this time. That's more than we can afford every month! We do plan on trying to go more often now that the kids are a bit older (3 and 5 almost)and trading off with some other members of the ward who have children the same ages, but it won't be every month, maybe like every 3 months if we are lucky. Take advantage of close temples while you have them!! One of my friends hadn't been in about 5 years, kids and distance make things really hard, you just have to plan it out well and make it a priority. I don't think you need to feel guilty, just do what you can.

Alyssa Harper said...

I am NOT one to give advice, because my temple attendance could use a serious boost, but the one tidbit I can offer is...use your visiting and home teachers! You know that question, "Well, do you need anything this month" that's asked at the end of every visit? I'm one of those that usually waves it off, saying we're doing fine, but whenever the ladies I visit ask for things like babysitting so they can attend the temple, I am always overjoyed to do it. I really feel like I'm needed. Don't mind it at all, so give your visiting teachers a chance to serve you!

The Fishes said...

One other thought for those with temples far away - travel up with another family and then switch out sessions with the other couple so the kids are all close and can see just how important the temple is to you and your spouse, and bonus, two couples get to go instead of one :)

Rebecca said...

I know some may not agree with what I do but ever since I had a baby we have switched off as a couple (meaning one of us stays home and one of us goes to the temple). This works really well for us because the only times we can go are usually after our child would go to bed or before she would wake up (and those that we trust to watch our child have children of their own so they can't just come over and sit here while our child sleeps). I really like this because it's stressful to me to find someone to watch my child and that's never something I have to worry about...and finding a time to go is SO easy. We live about 25 minutes from the temple and we each try to go at least once a month.

Rebecca said...

Oh and one thing I do to make me feel less-guilty for not going as often as I did when we were first married and didn't have kids is that I tell myself I will make up for that time once we are empty-nesters. :)

Laura said...

I like this topic. Good questions, Tannie!

I actually go the same way as Rebecca--my husband and I most often go separately. It's not ideal in every way, but it's also really nice in other ways. For one, by doing that, we are each able to go once a week. He will get up early and go to the first available session on Tuesday. I'm still home with the kids like I would be any other day, so it's no big deal to me. He just works a few extra hours on other days to make up for being in later that one day. I do the same thing on his day off and get up early for the first session. He is home with the kids still in bed. At most, he has them for 30-40 minutes before I get back, during which all he has to do is feed them breakfast. It's not a big ordeal for him to have them for hours on end while I'm gone, since they are all asleep for most of it.

There are times I actually really like going alone. I find that I am often better able to concentrate when I'm not distracted looking over at what he might be doing... It's also a good time to do initiatories since we wouldn't do that together even if we were there at the same time.

All that said, we do still try to go together at least once a month if we can manage. That when babysitting swaps come in handy. It's nice to be able to go without having to pay someone by knowing that I can return the favor (miss that with you, Tannie!). It can sometimes be obnoxious, but I will occasionally find more than one babysitter for the same night. There are some people who are more willing to watch one child than two (or three...). If I can find a couple of those people, I'm willing to split up my kids for a couple hours so I can go to the temple with my husband.

I also want to add that, while we do shoot to go once a week, we don't always make it. I am now six months pregnant and physically speaking, it can be very difficult to get through an entire session simply because of how the chairs are. When I'm too tired or too uncomfortable, I try not to beat myself up about not going when I had planned. I also try to put a little extra effort into my personal scripture study so that I am still getting that extra dose of Spirit for the day.

Granted, this is possible because we live in Salt Lake valley and have ready access to several temples, not even just one. My thought for those that live farther away and can't go nearly as often is something that several general authorities have said: Live worthy and hold a current temple recommend, regardless of how often you are able to attend. If you are continually mindful of being true to your covenants and worthy of the blessings, you can have much of those blessings in your life even if you aren't able to go.

Erin said...

We live 3 hours from the temple, and it's hard. Our temple routine usually goes like this: Leave the house at 7 am. Get there for one person to do the 10:00 session. the other parent takes the kids to the local library, or in the summer to the park or somewhere to play. Then at noon we get together and have an hour to eat a packed lunch (we can't do back to back sessions because the one isn't out by the time the next starts, so we have to wait the hour). Then the next person will do the 1 pm session, get done at 3, and then we go somewhere to eat. Usually on the road by 4:30 or 5, and then depending on traffic get home at 8ish - bedtime. So it really is a good 12 hour day at least. Other options are to have one person do initiatories so it's a little faster, or to take another family and switch off so we can go together as a couple. It's just really not feasible to leave our kids with someone, even if we're paying them because that's just too long to leave them with someone who isn't family. I am SO excited to move closer to a temple, and I think that I wouldn't mind paying a babysitter for those times - a girl from the ward or something. It's hard to put money away for that when things are tight already, but if that's the only way I can go, then it's worth it to spend my money there. After all, we did have to spend our money on gas and eating out when we went, so I figure a babysitter really isn't a bad option. But I guess my thoughts are to just go when I can, and not feel guilty if I can't. I love to do it, but for every time there is a season, and there will be a season later on where it will be easier to go. Now is the season where sometimes I need to sacrifice a lot of things for my small children, but I think the Lord knows my heart and will give me a little boost.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love all these comments!! Erin/Fishes - you've both given me EXCELLENT ideas on how to make it work for when/if we move out of state. I like the idea of going with another family and switching there at the temple - that had never even occurred to me. Erin, I also loved how you outlined what a typical temple trip day for you and Derek.

I think it's important to go with your spouse when you can, but that just simply isn't always feasible. It's been months since my husband and I have gone together.

One thing we do is to rotate the ordinances we do. When I go by myself and my husband watches the kids (and vice versa) I usually do initiatory because I wouldn't do that with him anyway. Then sometimes when we get someone to watch our kids we'll do sealings because they are faster and I feel less guilty about pushing my kids on someone. :) We do each of the three ordinances equally I believe.

I like what Laura said about being able to focus without her husband there. :) GOOD POINT!

I love what you said Alyssa about asking your visiting teachers. I think I'll make an extra effort to take that a step further and maybe even offer my services to the girls I teach. I would be totally willing to watch someone's kids for a temple trip and it's nice to be able to offer something instead of the noncommittal "is there anything I can do for you?"

And Becca - I LOVE what you said about the guilt. Thinking about what you can do in the future when your children are grown is a great way to think about it. I also like what Erin said about sacrificing for her small children - it's so true and Heavenly Father will BLESS us for our sacrifices and not punish us because we can't make it to the temple as often as we would like.

Thanks for all the comments! Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

How committed are the youth in your ward to community service? Could they do a babysitting night for Mutual so the couples in the ward can go to the temple? If you live close enough, you could get there, in and out, in a few hours while the youth and leaders watch the children at the church. They may need an extended mutual night for this as far as time goes. If the leaders also have children, then maybe the leaders who stay to help the youth can be rotated throughout the year if they do it a few times, so they can take advantage of it as well.

Megan said...

Loved Anonymous' comment. Our ward youth did that last fall and it was so nice to go to the temple with my husband without worrying about finding a sitter.