When I was growing up being a mother was not something I aspired to be. I loved my mother, still do. She was an amazing mother, still is, but I wanted something more out of life. I had degrees to earn, a career to pursue, exotic places to visit. Motherhood, although something I would eventually do, was not in my 10- or 15-year plan after graduating from high school.
Imagine my surprise to meet the man of dreams, more importantly the man of my list (you know that impossible list of qualities that your future spouse must have) just 9 months out of high school. I was so young, we were both young, but we immediately started our family. Now 20 years later I find myself a mother of 9, reflecting back on that beautiful path the Lord has taken me on. I am so thankful I was wrong about motherhood. The Lord had a greater plan for me.
However, being a mother is hard!
The Proclamation on the Family says, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children “. Well the secret is out, I am not naturally a nurturing person. It’s a struggle for me. I don’t do it well.
Some days are endless. I know there is great joy in motherhood, but sometimes I want to scream and pull my hair out at the monotony and chaos that accompany keeping a house, not to mention the children. I’m a very selfish person. I want a little bit of time alone in a day, time when no one is calling my name. Time when no one is touching me or demanding something of me. Quite often, unless I find time between the hours of 12am and 5am, I don’t get that time alone. My life is filled with teenagers, toddlers, and everything in between. No one’s schedule matches, and everyone needs mom.
The other day as I was slamming the dishes in the sink that were left to soak (without any water) feeling sorry for myself, tears streaming down my face, I said, “Sometimes I don’t really like being a mom.” Of course, the instant the words came out of my mouth I regretted them, because I love my job as a mother. It is my chosen profession, one that has challenged me in every way imaginable. It’s a job I still don’t do well. I’m not a perfect mother, far from it. I make mistakes every single day, multiple times a day, but my love for my children keeps pulling me up to try again.
“We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection.” (Patricia T. Holland, “One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ, Ensign, Oct 1987)
The beautiful thing about each of our lives is that we are imperfect, and the Lord loves us and continues to bless us despite our imperfections. He knows how to succor me personally when I am doing the best I can do and when I don’t think I can put one more foot in front of the other. He knows how to give me snapshots of who my children are, their value and worth after a long day when all the wrong buttons have been pushed. The Lord in His wisdom has filled my imperfect life with tools to teach me how to nurture and love my children in ways that are beyond my own ability. He allows me to fulfill my role as mother.
So today as I look out the window and watch the children play I am so thankful for this calling from the Lord (see L. Tom Perry, “The Importance of the Family,” Ensign, May 2003, 40).
“Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children. One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.”4 (President Boyd K. Packer, “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”, Ensign, May 2012)
He has taught me once again, patiently holding my hand through the temper tantrums, the mounds of laundry, and the endless dishes. I have grown in the last 20 years in ways I never thought possible. I still have a long way to go before nurturing and patience come naturally for me, but I have faith that the Lord will take this weak thing and make it strong to bless the lives of His choice children.
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