Me? Motherhood? I'm obviously failing as a mother. Why don't you ask Sister Perfect Patty with the ten kids all lined up neatly on the front pew. How am I going to give a talk when Brina can't make it for more than twenty minutes of Sacrament meeting?
Of course I said yes. And I'm glad I did. As I've studied it (in the brief twenty minutes increments when my daughter is napping) I've learned a lot. Here are some of the things I've learned and the quotes I love:
1. It is easy to be overwhelmed as a mother.
Especially in a church where the demands seem so high, and a world that lets you know you can have the perfect baby if you just follow this perfect program perfectly. I love this quote from a talk by Elder Holland:
"One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Second, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” Third, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be. But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him."
I love this. I must remember that being a mother is doing God's work. I am in a partnership with Him and He will not fail me.
2. The Power of a Mother
Of course the scripture that comes to mind is Alma 56:47 where the young Lamanite warriors speak of the faith of their mothers. It reminds me of a sweet Elder I taught at the MTC. He came in happy and excited about the gospel, ready to serve. Once in a one on one he divulged to me that he had not always been so excited to go on a mission. In fact a few years earlier he cared nothing for the gospel, the church, or anybody but himself. There was no way he was going to serve a mission. But his sweet mother prayed and plead with the Lord to help her prodigal son. Through the faithful prayers of his mother, he came around and that's how he ended up in the MTC. He told me with tear filled eyes how grateful he was that his mother never gave up on him.
Being a mother in a partnership with God is powerful. Hearing that story gave me hope, that as a mother, no matter what happened if I did my best and prayed to the Lord about my children, all would be well.
3. Do the BASICS, basically.
You know, family prayer, scripture reading, family night. As I've studied it has come to me that I don't have to do the basics elaborately. All too often I will put aside scripture reading because I don't have time to do a good study. But the Lord doesn't command us to have elaborately planned scripture readings or family night. Just do them. However simple. That makes it seem more manageable to me. And maybe eventually I'll get more creative.
4.Depend on the Lord.
Recently with all these trials I've been facing I felt the Lord telling me that I need to stop trying to take all these burdens on my own. I can lean on Him, my precious Savior. I can cast my burdens at His feet. I can be strengthened by His loving arms. When I realize that, I feel peace. I feel that everything will be okay again.
On my mission I remember feeling like I was not a very good teacher, or very out going or friendly enough like some of my other companions. But I don't know when it was I realized it, but at one point I realized the most important thing I could do to share the gospel was to LOVE. And I was good at that. It's the same as a parent. I may be horrible at sleep training my child or schedules or proper brain stimulation, but I am dang good at loving her. And that's really what matters most.
All in all, though mothering is the hardest thing I've been through (and I'm just getting started haha!) It has also been the most rewarding thing. Brina is learning to giggle. It is the cutest thing I've ever seen or heard in my life. And every time I hear that little giggle, I know all the sleepless nights and worries are all more than worth it. Of course it is. I'm doing the work of God.