I was asked to speak on Mother's Day in church, much to Reed's delight :) I have only given one talk in the almost 7 years we have been married and Reed was NOT liking that. I try to remind him that I bear my testimony every time I participate in a special musical number but I think he was still happy to hear me talk on Sunday. Anyways, one of the ward members said I should share the talk so here it is.
A few weeks ago a well-known figure in the political world made some inflammatory remarks about the wife of a presidential candidate and her role as a stay-at-home mom. Stay-at-home moms everywhere took to social media to denounce these remarks and to make a stand. Although I am not a stay-at-home mom, I am a full-time mom and so I was still interested in the debate. As I read the rebuttels, comments, and passionate remarks, I realized that there was a bigger picture involved. Those offensive remarks attacked not only stay-at-home moms but mothers of all kinds and most of all, those remarks showed the world’s view on motherhood and that this sacred calling is under attack. This is nothing new. I found numerous talks warning about Satan’s attack on the home and on mothers, the earliest I saw was by Spencer W. Kimball but I am sure if I had continued looking there would have been even earlier ones. Even in the famous Proverb “Who can find a virtuous woman?” the wording implies that even back then there was a scarcity of women who were willing to accept this divine role.
So how can we, as women, keep our testimonies strong while receiving such negative messages from the media and the world? I want to share some things that I found that I, myself, want to remember when the going gets rough.
The first is that our role as mothers is a divine one. It didn’t start with birth and it doesn’t end in death. It is an eternal role. The family proclamation states that “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 an address given at a relief society fireside in 1979, Spencer W. Kimball said “Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles!”
Sheri Dew said in a 2001 conference address- “Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is “as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.”
I find comfort knowing that my role as a mother is an eternal one. Heavenly Father wouldn’t have given me this terrific responsibility if I didn’t have the tools needed to succeed. This leads into the second thought.
We have help. I admit that sometimes it is much easier to go to work then it is stay at home. And I work with children so that’s saying a lot! I get easily frustrated when there’s laundry to do, meals to cook, a house to clean, tired children, fussy teething babies, etc, etc. I’m sure everyone can put together their own list. And I have to admit that the thought has crossed my mind- “why did I pick this when I am clearly not cut out for this?” It is during times like these when I really need to remember that I am not alone. From the family proclamation- have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and 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.
is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. “
How grateful I am that Reed and I are a partnership. Not only a partnership between him and I but between us and God. During the nights when Reed is at scouts, or working late, or gone for the week at a scout training, I can always call on my Heavenly Father to help me fill in the cracks. I think my kids know this also since every once in a while they will pray “Help Mommy to be patient.”
Third, we are needed. In a 1997 conference address, Jeffrey R. Holland said- Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam to fall in order that “men [and women] might be”and that there would be joy. Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.” Sheri L. Dew- Every one of us has an overarching obligation to model righteous womanhood because our youth may not see it anywhere else. Every sister in Relief Society, which is the most significant community of women on this side of the veil, is responsible to help our young women make a joyful transition into Relief Society. This means our friendship with them must begin long before they turn 18. Every one of us can mother someone—beginning, of course, with the children in our own families but extending far beyond. Every one of us can show by word and by deed that the work of women in the Lord’s kingdom is magnificent and holy. I repeat: and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality.”
I love this last quote because she points out that this for ALL women. Women come in all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, and all have special strengths and challenges. The divine role of motherhood is in all of them, no matter what.
I am grateful to my own mother who embraced her divine role of motherhood. My mom is a smart, driven woman who could have done anything she wanted to with her life. In her teenage years she had a plan to go to college, study music education, graduate, maybe get married in her late 20’s and maybe have a few kids in her early 30’s. While at BYU she met my Dad and you could say the rest is history. I am the oldest of 7 children all of whom she homeschooled. I am glad she changed her mind.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have to grow in my role as a mother. Although I hate doing dishes, am not a very good cook, and can’t sew, and my house usually looks like a tornado hit it, I hope that my children won’t remember all that. I hope they remember the tickle fights, the jokes, the dance parties, reading books together. I hope they remember acting out the story of the Zoramites on the rameumptum. I hope they remember the spirit that they feel when we sing hymns and primary songs together. And I hope they know that I have a testimony of this gospel. I would like to close with this quote from Ann Romney. She wrote an article about being a mom of 5 boys for a newspaper and this is her closing statement.
“Cherish your mothers. The ones who wiped your tears, who were at every ball game or ballet recital. The ones who believed in you, even when nobody else did, even when maybe you didn't believe in yourself.Women wear many hats in their lives. Daughter, sister, student, breadwinner. But no matter where we are or what we're doing, one hat that moms never take off is the crown of motherhood.
There is no crown more glorious.”