I’ve read several posts lately relating to motherhood… all from women who are attempting to give this role their best effort despite the fact that the role is ever evolving and requires efforts thrown in different directions each day. Along with these women, I want to be a great mother- one who raises children who are bright, capable, above-average and feel great about themselves. I want them to be well-rounded. I want them to be great communicators. I want them to know their Heavenly Father and have an intimate relationship with Him. I want them to love and enjoy each other and place value on the things that matter most. While this list is by no means comprehensive, the point is that I have great aspirations as a mother.
I was with friends last night who were discussing how several in my former ward had refused to accept callings recently. We were talking that there might be various reasons for this- that one lacks the confidence to feel they will do well in a certain calling, or, as was mentioned, some claimed they were too qualified or felt they had too much to offer to serve in a particular position. One of my friends observed that both of these reasons boil down to a lack of faith. What makes us doubt the fact that Heavenly Father knows just what we should be doing at any given point in our lives? Doubt, fear, pride and selfishness are all tools the adversary uses to make sure we don’t exhibit our full potential, whether it be related to magnifying our callings in our wards, or our callings as mothers.
I have to release doubt on a regular basis when it comes to motherhood. It is easy for me to compare myself to other mothers who are, from my perspective, doing a fantastic job. They seem to have it all figured out and I can be quick to come to the conclusion that I don’t have the capability to do that. It is a quick spiral for me to become completely overwhelmed when I think of all the things my children should have exposure to that I am failing to provide. When I release fears and doubts, it is clear that this is what my Father in Heaven wants me to be doing right now and He wouldn’t ask anything of me save He shall prepare a way for me to accomplish it. He wouldn’t give me this job if I weren’t the right one to do it.
The more common fault I need to check often is selfishness. The more I learn about being a mother, the more I realize it is the most service-oriented calling on earth. You give from sun up to sun down day in and day out. Sometimes I need to to stop as I’m scheduling my day or managing my time and check myself to see if that time is being spent the best way possible. My children are old enough that they do not my full, undivided attention every minute of the day. That makes it tempting to escape, to sneak in time that is just for me and, in the long run, does not benefit them. While I believe that every mother needs a break now and then, I also believe that being a mother means being anxiously engaged… all the time. My children need so much from me that I can’t afford to check out on a regular basis. The hours they are awake are precious hours that can be used in productive ways to build their little spirits and minds while they are eager to learn.
The rebellious in me countered back today when I had the thought, “my goal today is to be a great parent.” Immediately the opposition yelled in my ear, “Isn’t that what I’ve been doing since 6:15 this morning?! Being a parent??” Yes, technically, but perhaps a better term for the morning was, “Chauffer.” I have had to be more creative than I have in the past in regards to the time we spend in the car. Planning ahead is necessary for me to be sure we have the right music, books, sight words and games available in the car with us so that we are using that time productively. I have been tempted when we have 10 minutes to wait here or there to pull out my book, but those scattered minutes get us through a few music class songs together, or solid on a few more sight words, or through a new library book.
This is not to say that I end the day completely exhausted. In fact, I seldom make it to the end of the day before that feeling hits. The one that screams, “I’m done!!” Sometimes my eyes fight me to stay open. Sometimes my body is tired and done. Sometimes my brain has hit it’s limit and sometimes it’s all emotional. But we make it. Every day, somehow, we make it. Even on Tuesdays. Heaven help me on Tuesdays.
I fall short every day being the mother these children deserve. But I am grateful that when I pray for help, the Spirit visits me often with small, subtle suggestions that will help our day go smoother, or help someone understand the concept being taught, or prompt kind words that are well-received. I’m grateful for good examples that inspire me to step up my game and keep my focus on these little ones who posses so much potential.