I just recently finished reading a book I got for Christmas called I am a Mother by Jane Clayson Johnson. I got this book from Debbie Jones, who must know me really well because I loved it and it was exactly the pick me up I needed. Over the past few months, I have had trouble shaking certain questions and fears from my mind. I am constantly finding myself in a slight panic and thinking things like, “Will I be a good mother?” or “Am I ready for this?” I had plans for myself. I had my future mapped out for the most part, and this was not in my original plans, not yet anyways. After reading this book, I am learning more and more that the plans and goals I had for myself are very different from what Heavenly Father has in store for me. I’m also starting to realize that as long as I remain faithful and raise my children with love and righteousness, that He will be there every step of the way. He will make everything I go through worthwhile. His plans for me are far greater than the ones I had planned for myself.
In her book, Jane recalls what the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have pointed out time and time again, that “motherhood is the highest, holiest service assumed by mankind.” She continued to explain that this extraordinary act of service is God’s work. The work of mothers is meant to strengthen generations to come, to prepare them to return to Him one day. It is the most important work I will ever do, and it is work that will happen within the walls of my own home. I love the way Oprah Winfrey describes the importance of motherhood. “I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is. To create an environment that’s stimulating and nurturing, to pass on a sense of responsibility to another human being, to raise a child who understands that he or she is created from good and capable of anything … to play down mothering as small is to crack the very foundation on which greatness stands.” Mothering certainly isn’t easy, but it is one of the most significant callings. In fact, few (if any) callings are more honorable than motherhood.
I believe that Satan knows the importance of mothering. I believe that he knows it is so important that he has “declared war” on mothers. According to Jane Johnson, “He knows that those who rock the cradle have the power to rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.” Looking back in history, men and women always worked together. The work that women did in the home complimented the work of men, and vice versa. Neither role was more important, and neither man nor woman could manage without the work the other did. They were both necessary, and it was no competition. In the 1960’s, when the feminist movement was introduced, things changed. Women started to search for jobs where they were considered equals to men and made matching paychecks to prove it. Mothers don’t get paychecks for being nurturers or for the time they put into completing tasks in the home. Satan has tainted the world into viewing rewarding work as being outside the home and making as much money as possible. Because of this, mothers are dismissed and no longer seen as productive citizens. Motherhood has turned into something many people have become ashamed of. Motherhood is full of small, mundane tasks, or so it would seem when just looking on the surface. When asked what you do, people seem to smugly shove aside being a mom, making motherhood something to be embarrassed by. More often than ever before, mothers answer that question, “what do you do”, by shamefully stating, “I’m just a mother.” How can we consider the “highest, holiest service”, “the work of God”, as being “just a mom”? I have made a promise to myself, that I will not ever be hesitant or ashamed to say that I am a mother, because I know the importance of such a calling.
Satan is smart. He has brought a war against mothers and brought the world to question their worth. He is doing such a good job that he has blinded mothers to see their own worth at times. “We forget that motherhood is the most worthwhile venture of all.” To be a mother is to be selfless, devoted, and willing to do “everyday things’ everyday”. There are very few immediate rewards, however; there are many blessings. We must not forget that the compensation mothers receive may not be instantaneous, or come in the form of a paycheck, but there are many benefits and they come in something that money can’t buy. One thing that Jane said in her book is that “even when our children cannot – or will not – express it, even when the voices of the world tell us that mothering isn’t as important as anything else we could be doing, we are making a difference.” I love this. I know that being a mom will come with daily challenges. Some days will be harder than others. Some days I will feel as if nothing I do matters. I know judgments will be shot my way that will sometimes seem impossible to ignore. But I hope I can always remember, even on those days when I feel my work is pointless, that I am making a difference.
I will be the greatest influence my children have. I will be an example to them. With every word I say and everything I do, from the way I dress to the way I act around others, I will be affecting the lives of the members of my family. My children will gain their hopes, beliefs, and so much more from the example I am to them. As I teach my children truths and am consistent in providing them with the tiny things each day that will strengthen them, their testimonies will begin to grow and they will also build a layer of protection against Satan’s influences. It is every time that we help anyone to move forward that we are “true to our endowment and calling as mothers”. As we do this, and have a positive influence in the lives of our children and others, we are building the kingdom of God. In this book, Jane said something that really stuck out to me. She wrote, “I’m willing to bet that most of us don’t remember what horse won the Kentucky Derby three years ago, or who owned the horse. On the other hand, I’m also willing to bet that your children can remember a trip to the park, a favorite family story, a late-night talk after a first date, and dozens of other things you have done each and every day as a mother.” I am personally willing to bet that she is right. It is the small things we do day to day that make a difference and that make the best memories. I cannot wait to make memories like these with my children, and to be a positive influence in their lives.
This book has really encouraged me that I can be a great mother. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to be a mother, or is struggling with feeling appreciated or worthy as a mother. It served as a great reminder to me through my fears of entering the role of being a mother.
No one is perfect, but I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me. All I need is to be willing and faithful and I know everything will work out and be worthwhile. I cannot wait until April comes and I get to meet my precious little girl. I look forward to being part of His greatest work and to raise her to become a righteous daughter of God. No matter what the voices of the world say or what influences Satan has, I know that I have a great impact as a mother on the lives of my children. I know it will all be worthwhile.