Don’t Look Around, Look Up: Partnering with God in Motherhood
By Lauren Madsen
Until fairly recently I had no idea that several mothers in my life do not look forward to Mother’s Day. It both surprised me and saddened me. I have learned that there are varied reasons for their feelings, including the passing of their own mothers or the strained relationships they have had with them. Many of my friends have confided that Mother’s Day is just another reminder that they don’t measure up to the mother they think they should be.
To those women who dread the negative feelings they have about their motherhood on Mother’s Day, I would like to remind you of something Jeffrey R. Holland said to mothers:
“You are doing God's work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you, and He will bless you, --even--no, -especially--when your days and your nights may be most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master's garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and weep over their responsibility as mothers, `Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.'”
I think it is safe to say that we are living in a world very different from the one we grew up in. Comparison in motherhood has likely been going on for a long time, but thirty years ago our mothers didn’t have the ability to see as much of what other mothers were up to as we do now. Social media allows us to peek into the lives of the people we know (and even those we don’t) twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. To add to that, what we see doesn’t always paint a full picture of all that is going on in a home.
Mothers, we cannot waste the precious time we have with our children comparing ourselves to others. We shouldn’t compare our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths. It doesn’t seem right to see every good and admirable quality in all the other mothers out there and then feel pressure that we need to be all of those things. Just because another mother bakes the cake or sews the costume or homeschools her crew doesn’t mean that you need to too. What is right for her and her kids does not mean it is right for you and yours.
Take a step back and really ask yourself what is most important in your motherhood. Do you love your children? Do they know it? Do you love Jesus Christ? Do they know it? As Christie Gardiner wrote (author of You Are the Mother Your Children Need), “Millions of mothers are parenting children in many varied ways while still pointing their children to Christ.”
If looking around at what other mothers are doing inspires you in positive ways and helps you be the mother you want to be, then use the resources and examples in front of you. Learn from them in all the ways you would like to.
But if you are constantly feeling discouraged and “not enough”, stop looking around and choose to look up. Look to Heavenly Parents who have entrusted you with their precious children. Ask God to reveal to you how He feels about your efforts and ask for help you as you continue to be an earthly mother to a few of their spirit children. Pray for the grace of Jesus Christ to strengthen and empower you to be the mother you were prepared to be. As it says in D&C 6:36, “Look unto [Him] in every thought.” Christie Gardiner summed it up perfectly when she wrote, “All our children really need from their mother is for her to show up in authenticity, hand in hand with God.”
Lauren Madsen is a photo-taking, scrapbook-making, kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom of four. She loves reading, writing, family history work, spending time outside with her kids, and Friday night dates with her husband. Lauren currently works as a member of the SALT Gathering team. You can connect with Lauren on Instagram @a.lingering.light