Mormon Women: Appreciating Motherhood
From as young as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a mother. I was the youngest child until I was eight years old and finally after years of ‘playing house’ with baby dolls I was able to put them down and play with a real baby, a baby brother. A couple of years later another baby brother was added. I loved ‘playing house’ with real, live babies! It made my dream of becoming a mother even more real and more personal. I couldn’t wait to one day have a sick child want only me to hold them, or to be cooking in the kitchen and have a baby or toddler cry at my legs to be held, like my brothers did to my mother.
Now five children and thirty or so years later, I have had my fair share of sick children wanting to be held by only me. And I have certainly had more than my fair share of crying toddlers and children crying underfoot while I have attempted to fix a meal. These experiences are far from the dreamy way I envisioned them as a young girl. I can admit I have days I wonder why exactly I chose this path for my life. I can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier a different career-choice may have been.
As a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon woman), my daughter participates in the youth program of our church for girls 12-18 years old. This LDS Young Women organization has a program which can help young girls work towards developing faith, skills, and knowledge that will benefit them throughout their lives. This Personal Progress program helps them set goals, and encourages them to have experiences in a myriad of subjects and areas.
I was thrilled when recently my 13 year old chose as one of her experiences, a suggestion to study and learn about motherhood. Equipped with the Book of Mormon, which to members of the Mormon faith is considered further sacred proof of Jesus Christ’s reality and divinity, and The Family, A Sacred Proclamation to the World, which to members of our faith is believed to be modern revelation from prophets of God, my daughter Megan sat down to discuss some qualities and responsibilities of mothers.
As I listened to Megan speak in fairly simple terms, I was overcome by the assurance of how sacred a role motherhood truly is. Too often the world would have us think so differently. Often we hear about the unimportance of motherhood in comparison to a career, or the squashing of potential in mothers who choose to stay home full-time. As my daughter and I sat together on the couch, I found myself choking back tears as I shared with her my personal and tender feelings about my role to teach, guide and lead the young children I have been entrusted with. I shared with her my belief that the words in The Family, A Sacred Proclamation to the World are true in declaring, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs… Mothers and fathers-will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe motherhood (and fatherhood) is a sacred responsibility given to us by a loving Father in Heaven, and it is because of that belief that I find encouragement and satisfaction in this vital role. Furthermore, we receive continued guidance and encouragement of the importance of mother’s from listening to the leaders of our church through written publications, talks, and conferences.
Motherhood is not an easy job. Often times it is a thankless job filled with cranky children, messy houses, and piles of laundry. But in a quintessential moment of motherhood, I was reminded simply yet poignantly by my 13 year old daughter of my own childhood dreams to grow up and be a mother as I listened to her express that “Being a mom one day is on the very top of my list of goals.”
My daughter’s declaration of such a noble goal, was a reminder to me of the importance of instilling desires of parenthood to our young children. It reminded me to point out the positive moments and experiences of motherhood more often to my children and not dwell so much on the tedious, monotonous tasks that I’m often prone to complain about.
My desire as a young girl to grow up and be a mother, came very naturally to me. I was rarely deterred from that aspiration. Even during the years pursing my college degree, motherhood was at the forefront of my mind. Many mothers do a wonderful job of balancing the sacred role of motherhood while being employed outside of the home. I believe the Lord blesses those mothers, who by prayerful choice and in light of a family’s temporal essential needs makes that decision, with additional blessings and graces as they continue to fulfill their desires as mothers in addition to their other responsibilities.
Since becoming a mother over 13 years ago, I have never ventured out into the corporate world. I frequent meetings for volunteer purposes rather than paychecks. The jeans and sweats in my closet overwhelmingly outnumber any business attire. My paychecks of slobbery kisses and hand-written notes will never pay the bills. Yet my dreams have come true. I am a mother. It is a God-given role I will not take lightly.
Learn more about the importance of family to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).