This past weekend I did a talk for a group of women, Women’s Conference, in our town and stake. I like public speaking so I wasn’t really that nervous about speaking but I wanted to share the right message. In the end I decided to drive around town and take pictures of how motherhood looks differently. I think this actually is a project that could keep going because motherhood looks so differently between literally every single person, every mother and even a mother with each one of her children. Here are the pictures that I shared as a slide show of what motherhood looks like at the beginning of my talk.
Our first instinct as women is to think of birth. It’s an unforgettable part of motherhood. When they announce “it’s a girl” (or a it’s a boy) and you are filled with love (or just a whole lot relief that that are done giving birth ;))
A moments old child of yours. This is motherhood.
Picture perfect beautiful, well behaved children are also part of motherhood. For some people it’s a pressure filled ideal of motherhood.
Supporting sports and other extra curricular activities are part of motherhood.
Snuggling little babies is part of motherhood.
Giggles and tickles and laughter are part of motherhood.
Teaching them skills and music are part of motherhood.
Lots of physical care is part of motherhood.
Really, really, really early mornings are part of motherhood.
Teaching them chores and making them DO it is part of motherhood.
Teaching them life skills and letting them DO it is part of motherhood.
Lots and lots of laundry is part of motherhood.
Bedtime stories and routines and snuggles are part of motherhood.
Generations of women choosing to do what is right is part of motherhood.
Teaching them to pray is part of motherhood.
Reading the scriptures to them is part of motherhood.
Mothering your adult children is part of motherhood.
Adoption is part of motherhood. (this picture is by the fabulous Kinsey Holt!)
Not only can we mother our own children, but there are children all around us to help mother. Women can help each other and support each other as we raise these kids. So things like Activity days are part of motherhood.
Helping a young woman is part of motherhood.
Being a grandma is part of motherhood.
This lovely lady is June. And she never had the chance to have her own children. But she is one of the most mothering women you could ever meet. All the kids know her as Aunt June. She plays games with them. She goes to every basketball game at the high school and writes notes to the players telling them they did a good job. She served in Young women’s for 32 years. She has influenced countless lives of children around here. She and countless women who are like her are part of motherhood.
And of course, loving these kids of ours even in the midst of chaos is a big part of motherhood.
I am so glad to be a woman and to be a mother. It is so stinking hard. I am writing this after 4 nights of sleeplessness with kids puking and diarrhea and all kinds of lovely things. And even though I am feeling discouraged about ever sleeping a night through again I am still glad to be a mother. It is part of who I am and part of all women. Something that we all have within us that existed before we came to earth and will always be within us.
James E. Faust: “Being a father or a mother is not only a great challenge, it is a divine calling. It is an effort requiring consecration. President David O. McKay stated that being parents is “the greatest trust that has been given to human beings.” While few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few opportunities offer greater potential for joy. Surely no more important work is to be done in this world than preparing our children to be God-fearing, happy, honorable, and productive. Parents will find no more fulfilling happiness than to have their children honor them and their teachings. It is the glory of parenthood. John testified, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 Jn. 1:4.) In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us. To have successful homes, values must be taught, and there must be rules, there must be standards, and there must be absolutes. (“The Greatest Challenge in the World-Good Parenting,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 32-33
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