Monday, November 12, 2012
Because I am a Mother.
After Lincoln's asleep, I begin to reflect on my day as a parent. As all mothers do, I focus on what I should have done, could have done differently, and regret, regret, regret.
Like many toddler-aged children, Lincoln has begun emulating everything around him: most of all, me. From the ages of 18 months to three years old, children are influenced by their surroundings, setting the foundation for everything from eating habits to behavioral management. Their development is primarily based on the parent's example to model these actions.
It's all very intimidating! I'm burning through Parenting books to feel better equipped to handle Lincoln's changing needs, and to feel reassured I'm doing everything possible to be a worthy example.
Occasionally, this continuous parental-improvement literature aggravates my "should have, would have's" and becomes a reflection of my own personal inadequacies. This isn't to say I find parenting literature self-deprecating, because I do not - it is countlessly beneficial, insightful, helpful and constructive...but sometimes, I desire sincere appreciation and recognition for my best effort, even if I fell short.
Sometimes, when I feel as if I'm disappearing, I crave recognition, someone who notices what I'm doing is significant, regardless of my intermittent feelings of deficiency.
Overwhelmed by this incredible responsibility, I stumbled upon a devotional given by Jeffrey R. Holland, entitled, "Because She Is a Mother." Elder Holland writes:
In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually [simply] decorated. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life.
Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.
May I say to mothers collectively, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you.
Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you...You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, —when your days and your nights may be the most challenging.
Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.
That night, I went to bed feeling empowered and peaceful. Although I sometimes feel "feeble," I'm doing my best...and that is good enough. That is recognition enough. And before climbing under the covers, I may have done a little "fist pump" into the air, celebrating the very incredible responsibility I'm blessed with.