Do you criticize your mother, whether internally or openly complaining? I know I have.
Growing up I said many rude, hurtful things to my mom. I held grudges and threw fits. In my mind, a mom was supposed to be a perfect person whose sole purpose in life was to raise me and help me however I saw fit. As I’ve grown older and observed mothers, I’ve been able to better understand their divine roles as mothers and caretakers, but also as individual human beings.
A while back ago, I got to visit my friend and his family. His mother is a stay-at-home mom, and observing her throughout the day really touched my heart and opened my eyes to the life that mothers live.
“It is important for you Latter-day Saint women to understand that the Lord holds motherhood and mothers sacred and in the highest esteem.” – President Spencer W. Kimball
They are figuring it out as they go
As I’ve gone through my life, stumbling and learning as I go, I realized that mothers must do the same thing. They aren’t given an instruction manual while they’re in labor. Sure they’re given advice and can read self-help and parenting books, but nothing can truly prepare you for such a life changing experience.
They start out as an individual, whoever they were in school (the shy girl, a nerd, popular, athletic, whatever) worrying about themselves and their own problems, to learning to become one with their spouse, and then having a child–an extension of themselves, almost. The person they were before doesn’t disappear. They take on the additional identity of a mother and have to learn how to incorporate that into their life.
“There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children.” – Elder M. Russell Ballard
They’re allowed to make mistakes, too
As we go through life, we are going to mess up a lot. That is part of learning. The same thing goes for mothers. Life takes trial and error. Will they leave their kids at the store on accident a few times? Probably. Does that mean they don’t love them? Absolutely not. Will they send you to school when you say you’re sick, even when you really are? Yes, and know that it hurts them to do it too, they’re just trying to be responsible.
If you’re one of the oldest children, I’m sorry, but you may have it harder than your younger siblings. Be compassionate and understanding towards your mother. In most cases, she really is trying her hardest to do her best for you.
“May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, 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.” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
They know they aren’t perfect, and they don’t need you to remind them
Women in general are very hard on themselves. We already recognize our faults and mistakes, sometimes only those and not any of our good qualities. Mothers are the same way. They know when they could’ve handled a situation better, responded kinder, or should have stepped in when they hadn’t. They don’t need their children (or anyone else, for that matter) pointing out their mistakes to them. Ripping open a wound won’t make it heal. Cut your mom a break. Remember to praise her for the good she does. She doesn’t need you to tell her how to do her job, especially if you have never been a parent.
“Sisters, I don’t want to overpraise you as we sometimes do in Mother’s Day talks that make you cringe. You don’t have to be perfect; I don’t claim that you are.” – Elder D. Todd Christofferson
To future mothers:
Don’t let the world tell you motherhood isn’t worth it. While I can’t vouch for it myself, as I am yet to be a mother, I am so excited to fulfill my divine role as a mother in the future. While the world is uncertain and the idea of raising children in the crazy environment the future holds terrifies me, as well as the physical aspects of actually carrying and birthing a child, I know that the family is the center of God’s plan and whatever pain and hardships I will go through as a mother will be worth it in the end.
“To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring “hope to [the] desolate heart.” As prophets have repeatedly taught from this pulpit, ultimately “no blessing shall be withheld” from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately. In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
To new mothers:
You may be feeling inadequate and scared. Remember, you don’t need to be perfect. Do your best. Love your child. Follow the example of mothers around you. Don’t give up. You have been given a special, divine calling from God to raise one of His children. Remember that it is you and your husbands responsibility to raise your children in righteousness. Love them unconditionally, but be firm.
“… I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.” – D&C 93:40
To my mother:
I am so sorry.
I’m usually not too embarrassed to talk about my experiences, but I am too embarrassed to admit the way I treated you to others.
I understand you did what you did because you felt you had no other options. I love you, and I forgive you.
I hope you can forgive me for being a selfish, self-centered, mean little girl.
Above all, remember to be kind.