I love being a mom. I was always a full-time-stay-at-home mom. It was hard work, but I loved every minute. Well, maybe not every single minute, but overall it’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done with my life and I don’t regret my choice.
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World it says:
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
I’ve learned so much from being a mother. I’ve learned patience, kindness, compassion, charity–did I mention patience?
Seriously, I feel as though parenthood is one of the best training grounds in which we can perfect ourselves. Suddenly, everything we do and say is on display. We don’t want to pass on our bad habits to our children, so what do we do? We strive to do better and be a good example to the little mini me’s pitter-pattering around our homes. I met a young mother once who said to me, “I just pray every day that I don’t damage them for life.” She was kidding, of course. But, I know the feeling.
I love this:
A young mother got on a bus with seven children. The bus driver asked, “Are these all yours, lady? Or is it a picnic?”
“They’re all mine,” she replied. “And it’s no picnic!”
Now I have an empty nest and I miss the hustle and bustle of having a houseful of children. Every once in a while I contemplate over fond memories and block out the hard times. There are millions of stories I could tell you about little things I’ve learned as a mother, but today I’ll just share a few that for some reason have taken center stage in my mind lately.
There was one time in particular that I’ll never forget. It was the middle of the night and my son woke up crying. He was around four months old and he shared a room with his big sister. She was five at the time and, of course, the commotion woke her up too.
Let’s just say, it was not one of my shining moments. I don’t do well with lost sleep.
At any rate, my husband and I ran into the room because it was very rare for our baby son to wake up crying in this manner in the night. It was one of those cries that a parent recognizes as a distress call. As I felt his forehead, I realized he was burning hot. I held him in my arms, but he was crying and crying and couldn’t be consoled.
Just to recap: middle of the night and a sick, crying baby.
My husband and I started arguing about what to do. Yes, arguing. Like I said, it was not one of my shining moments.
Suddenly, above all the commotion, we hear our daughter in the background: “Dear Heavenly Father . . .”
We stopped mid-sentence and turned to see our five year old daughter kneeling on her bed with her arms folded and head bowed. She was saying a prayer out loud and that prayer included asking her Father in Heaven that Mom and Dad would stop fighting.
It really changed the atmosphere in the room. Utterly and completely. Her sweet and innocent prayer worked immediately. We calmed down, the baby calmed, and we knew what to do for him.
Sometimes, the sweetest things come out of children’s mouths, things that give me pause.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
In order to hear our children, we have to listen to them, which reminds me of another story.
When my daughter was in kindergarten, she was having trouble paying attention in class. At the time, I pretty much felt as though I had already failed as a parent. Surely every other child was a perfect listener, right?
Of course not, but as parents we put too much pressure on ourselves.
I attended a parent-teacher conference and the teacher informed me that my daughter didn’t have a good attention span. She was five, so I’m not exactly sure why that was a surprise.
Next, she showed me a project the class was assigned to do. They were each given a set of shapes to cut out and a blank sheet of paper. They were asked to create a picture with the shapes. The shapes included a v-shape, a circle, a tree, and a mountain.
The teacher began to show me what EVERY SINGLE CHILD had created with their shapes. EVERY SINGLE CHILD had made a teepee scene with their v-shape.
Every child but mine. My daughter’s v-shape was floating in the sky.
This was bad. This was very, very bad. The teacher showed me my daughter’s picture while sadly shaking her head.
That was it. I was really and truly a failure as a parent. My daughter didn’t know how to make a teepee out of a v-shape. Scandalous.
I went home and I don’t remember for sure, but I may have shed a tear or two over the matter.
I showed the picture to my daughter and asked her, “What is this a picture of?” I couldn’t understand why her v-shape was floating in the sky. Why, oh why couldn’t it have been a teepee like everyone else’s?
And she responded, “Oh, that’s a boomerang.”
All I had to do was ask. All I had to do was LISTEN.
Suddenly, I realized my child was thinking outside of the box and maybe, just maybe I wasn’t a failure as a parent after all.
The point being, we have to listen. If we don’t listen to our children, we will miss so much.
Another story that often comes to mind happened one day while my son was in Primary. The teacher asked: “What rules do you have in your household?”
My son was silent for several looooooong moments. “Um . . . ” he said, “We don’t have any.”
I wanted to climb under a rock and die. We don’t have any rules? Are you kidding me?
As I contemplated over his answer for the next several days I felt horrible. How is it that he thinks we don’t have any rules in our household?
Then it came to me. In our house, we live by the commandments. They aren’t posted as rules, they are simply how we live.
It was then I realized I was thankful he didn’t see our household as filled with rules. He’d accepted our lifestyle as his way of life, therefore he didn’t look upon his life as restrictive.
A moment of utter embarrassment turned into one of awe. I felt so impressed by my precious child who looked upon living the commandments in such a different way than I ever had. It’s a lesson that I will never forget and one that I try to implement in my life.
I’m thankful for so many lessons being a mother has taught me. Truly parenthood is a training ground for becoming as our Father in Heaven.
So that’s it. Just a couple of stories that were lingering in my memory tonight as I look back fondly on being a parent.
It’s hard work, but it’s worth every effort. I’m thankful Heavenly Father entrusted me with my four beautiful children.