With Mother’s Day coming on Sunday, I have had the opportunity to really think about the importance of motherhood. The way women raise their children affects generations. It is a vitally significant role to be a mother. According to the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, motherhood is “the highest, holiest service assumed by mankind.” Mothers have the most influence on their children’s lives. This starts even before birth. What a responsibility!
To be a mother is to participate in God’s work. It is how we as women participate in His creation. We do this by not only providing physical bodies for our children, which is a miracle in and of itself, but we also teach, love, and nurture them and help them discover the people they will be in this world.
Being a mother is a full-time job and is a huge responsibility but I have been told time and time again that it brings no greater joy. There is no perfect mother, and no perfect way to handle each situation. Every family has different challenges that make them unique. However, most, if not every, mom gets feelings of being inadequate and easily compares herself to other mothers around her. By doing this, we fail to remember that other moms have trials that are unique to them. All we can do is be the best mother we can and love our children unconditionally.
I recently read a story shared by Dieter F. Uchtdorf in a talk he gave in October of 2008. He shared…
I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but the differences between men and women can often be quite striking—physically and mentally, as well as emotionally. One of the best ways I can think of to illustrate this is in the way my wife and I cook a meal.
When Harriet prepares a meal, it’s a masterpiece. Her cuisine is as wide-ranging as the world, and she frequently prepares dishes from countries we have visited. The presentation of the food is awe-inspiring. In fact, it often looks so beautiful that it seems a crime to eat it. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the sense of taste.
But sure enough, no matter how perfect everything is, looks, and tastes, Harriet will apologize for something she thinks is imperfect. “I’m afraid I used a touch too much ginger,” she will say, or, “Next time, I think it would be better if I used a little more curry and one additional bay leaf.”
Let me contrast that with the way I cook. For the purpose of this talk, I asked Harriet to tell me what I cook best.
Her answer: fried eggs.
But that isn’t all. I have a specialty dish called Knusperchen. The name may sound like a delicacy you might find at an exclusive restaurant. Let me share with you how to make it. You cut French bread into small slices and toast them twice.
That is the recipe!
So, between fried eggs, even when they are greasy, and Knusperchen, even when they are burned, when I cook, I feel pretty heroic.
Perhaps this contrast between my wife and me is a slight exaggeration, but it illustrates something that may extend beyond preparing meals.
To me it appears that our splendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities—they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are.
Perhaps you recognize this trait in someone you know really well.
The good news is that this also points to an admirable quality: the innate desire to please the Lord to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, it can also lead to frustration, exhaustion, and unhappiness.
I know that this is a quality I find in myself that often gets me feeling down and unsatisfied. I always want things to be perfect. I want our home to be spotless, to make the perfect meals, be the best homemaker, and be a supermom who knows how to calm my screaming girl every time she cries. How unrealistic is that? But I have a hard time remembering that I can’t be perfect, especially not in every aspect. It is a good desire to want to be perfect, but nothing is going to go according to my plans. I wont always have the energy needed to get everything done that I would like. I may not be able to get the laundry done when I would like or vacuum when I would like to. Sometime, I am going to overcook the chicken. It happens. And we all know that being supermom who knows how to solve every problem is impossible. So even though these are great desires to have, it is impractical. This story helped me to remember that it is the accomplishments I make that need to be remembered, not the little imperfections that come with daily life. All I can do is be the best I can and try to love every moment of every day. If I don’t, I will only continue to disappoint myself, and then I wont enjoy being a mother and a wife.
President Thomas S Monson has said, “My dear sisters, do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.” If we pray to have the abilities to meet our tasks each day, we will grow as people, as mothers, and wives, and will become the best people we can. What a blessing it would be to feel that we are become stronger people with greater skills instead of having our tasks lessened to our abilities.
This is such an exciting Mother’s Day for me, since I am able to see it in a new way than I ever have before. I feel like this year it is celebrating me! But what I have also learned is that Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate women, not just mothers. Whether you have kids or not it is a day to celebrate you as a woman. Motherhood can be found in simply serving others, by being a mom, aunt, sister, friend, teacher, etc. Ardeth G. Kapp has said “Every woman can find happiness and fulfillment in mothering. You need not possess children to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing, and possessing is not necessarily loving. The world is filled with people to be loved, guided, taught, lifted, and inspired.”
So, happy Mother’s Day to all the women out there. Thank you for all you do to help and touch the lives of others. Thank you for being an example, a teacher, and a friend. You are appreciated and you are making a difference. And a special thank you to my amazing mom and mother-in-law. You have both taught me so much and been such a blessing in my life. Thank you for your constant support of our family, for helping us with all our concerns and needs, for spoiling your granddaughter and us. Thank you for being always being there. We love you! Happy Mother’s Day!
Also, I just have to add this video that Scotty shared with me! It was something I really needed to hear, and I am sure many of you could use this as a reminder as well! You are loved, and you are doing okay!