What does it mean?
What does it require?
What does it reward?
It really is a broad term…birthing a child, makes you a mother. Adopting a child, makes you a mother. Taking in a child, makes you a mother. These all assume some sort of responsibility to another. You could even be a “mother” to someone older than you. But it doesn’t end there…
Are you finished once you’ve fulfilled the definition above? For some, yes it is complete. Many animals create new lives and walk (or fly or slither) away. For others, the journey of motherhood is just beginning.
There’s feeding and holding, playing and teaching, listening and guiding. We all have strengths and weaknesses in these areas. Are we passing on our weaknesses? Are we sharing our strengths? The realm of responsibility seems overwhelming at times. Am I preparing them to meet their own challenges? Did a miss a teaching moment in the bustle of the day? Will that moment present it self again and will I catch it this time? Did I do enough? Did I do too much and enable? Did I teach the import things like opening your heart, giving more than you get, conquering your fears and relying on your Heavenly Father-not just in word, but by example?? Did I do my mother justice and am I the “mother” she taught me to be? In some cases, did I rise above the motherly example I was given to be more than she was?
When I think about all these things, the demand of motherhood seems completely beyond my reach. Bigger than the small collection of talents & abilities I have to offer. Is there any way to do really be worthy of this title I so deeply sought for?
I look to examples of mothers who have influenced me and who continue to inspire me. Many of you will read this today and not even know that I am referring to you. I am so blessed to have mother, grandmothers, potential mothers, ancestors, friends, extended family and even just acquaintances who I borrow inspiration from all the time. To you I express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for giving me strength and courage to fulfill this divine roll. I only wish I could give back what you have given to me.
We often hear people ask “Do you work or are you “just a mother”? Most of the time we shrug uncomfortably at the question and whisper “yeah, I’m just a mom” or we first throw out our working role in the world “I’m a dental assistant part time” as if that’s the better answer. Why not boldly reply that “Yes I’m a mother who spends her spare time as a dental assistant” instead of the opposite?
Is it enough to “just be a mother”? Is there any more important role? Is there any more frustrating, crazy, rewarding, sad, happy, exciting, heartbreaking role than motherhood? And is there any other way to create your own personal definition of motherhood than through the help of our Savior? He can share with you a definition that fits your personal call as a mother. He can sustain you when you are not sure what you are doing yet little spirits think you do. He can lift you when you have no more strength to lift yourself. He will show you hidden talents to complete the precious task that no one else could complete for these lives you have been entrusted with.
Happy Mothers Day to anyone woman who desires to be a mother in any capacity. Your opportunities are many even if not conventional. Take the time to enjoy whatever piece of motherhood you have been afforded and thank your Father in Heaven for that chance.
I love this video from Stephanie Nielson that puts it all in perspective.
PS Mom, I love you!!