The topic of motherhood has been really occupying my thoughts lately.
Cory and I were married in April 2012, we were fortunate to conceive very quickly. Char was born the next year in February. During those 9 ½ months I worked as much as I could, despite morning sickness. I tried to help us make ends meet especially while Cory was in his sophomore year at BYU. I worked up until the day I went to the hospital to be induced. Since that day, I haven’t once worked in the ‘real world’.
I’ve never considered leaving our home since Char was born. We’ve since had two more children, Oaks and Howie. The thought that my children were to prefer a caretaker over me just kills. To imagine not being present for my child’s first steps or words or any other significant achievement leaves a pit in my stomach. I wouldn’t trade being available to my children for anything. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Motherhood has had its challenges for me. You can read about it here.
In the world today, motherhood is different than ever before. More and more often, mothers are leaving the home to prove they can hack it in the real world. I understand there are circumstances where mothers may be required to leave the home. However, we are witnessing so many leave the home when perhaps circumstances do not require. The pressure is to have prestige, or a chance to get away each day, or of course the added income, etc.
There is a sense of failure today if a mother doesn’t leave the home to help provide for her family. For she certainly is just as capable as a man to do so. I just can’t justify prioritizing a career over family. The eternal reward of spending precious growing-up years with my children is far greater than any monetary prize. I highly doubt, when my children have grown and are raising children of their own, that they will resent the fact that I was available throughout formative years. However, the opposite may be true.
The pressure to have children is also great and virtually every woman feels that innate urgency to bring precious children to earth. Unfortunately, these two conflicting anxieties (to be in the workforce and raise children) are somewhat contradicting. Honestly, a part-time job might be a welcome feeling certain days. Yet, I’ve been strengthened by encouraging words of prophets and general authorities. Here are a few of them:
President Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said: “Give me a young woman who loves home and family, who reads and ponders the scriptures daily, who has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me a young woman who faithfully attends her church meetings, who is a seminary graduate, who has earned her Young Womanhood Recognition Award and wears it with pride! Give me a young woman who is virtuous and who has maintained her personal purity, who will not settle for less than a temple marriage, and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity.” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/10/to-the-young-women-of-the-church?lang=eng
Sister Carole M. Stephens said, “Daughters of God, do we know who we are? Do we know what we have? Are we worthy to receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do we receive the gifts given to us with gratitude, grace, and dignity? Do we embrace our roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts?” (Carole M. Stephens, “Do We Know What We Have?” Ensign, Nov. 2013)
From “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”
“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&old=true
We as women are worth more than the world would have us think. God made us equal to men. “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18) So God made Eve and she brought a unique perspective to her marriage and ultimately the world. I view Eve’s transgression in giving in to the devil’s temptation to partake of the forbidden fruit as positive. Unlike much of the world, Latter-Day Saints celebrate Eve’s act and admire her courage. Eve was able to realize that for progression to be made, something needed to change.
There are many other fearless accounts of women and mothers in the scriptures who knew the gospel of Jesus Christ and help strengthen me every day as a mother. They knew their role as wife and mother prioritizing family over all else. I look to them and many other wonderful examples around me.
How can I talk about motherhood without mentioning my own mother? She honestly deserves a post of her own, and I will probably end up doing one. I almost can’t put her influence on me and my life into words. She is the very definition of motherhood to me! She has been such an inspiration to me. She has sacrificed so much for her children. We all knew that we came first in her life. She was at every concert, game, event that I was in. She was my rock, I always knew I could find stability, safety, and shelter in her care. I echo what Jeffrey R. Holland said in regards to the love of a mother. “That no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/behold-thy-mother?lang=eng) We all have felt it haven’t we? We know the impact our own mothers or a motherly figure has had in our lives, why do we doubt our own influence? We are more powerful, and can have more effect on these young people than we (also the majority of society) give ourselves credit for. Have courage, have faith, have determination to teach, lead, guide, and love your children today.
“The Latchstring Hangs From The Outside”
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*Photos of me with my kids done by the great Jenni Bloomfield