When we were small kids, we were often asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some of us wanted to be doctors, some lawyers, others engineers, pilots or other professionals. I, for one, wanted to be a neurosurgeon.
When my eldest daughter was in first grade, she was also asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer made me think.
“I want to be like my mother.”
I could just imagine what the other parents present must have thought.
“What’s so special about her mother?”
And if I could have answered them, I would have said, “Nothing’s so special about me.” Instead, I just smiled and felt so happy inside. But maybe something is special about me, and not because I am a neurosurgeon, or a lawyer or whatever the other kids wanted to become when they grew up. I am special because I am a mother and my daughter wants to be like me. With this moment of self-assurance comes the realization of great accountability.
In a world where motherhood is sometimes seen as a lower option for women, how can we keep that desire alive in our little girls? As mothers, we can only do so much in raising our children the right way. But we can always make choices to help us become the best mother we can be.
Of course, some women are not able to be mothers in this life, despite their desperate desires and prayers. But each of these things applies to every daughter of God. And just as Eve was called a mother before she ever physically bore children, we can all develop these “mother traits” that will help us draw closer to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and become more like them.
Choose to be a Mother Who Is Happy
Children may sometimes see motherhood as a very taxing role, especially when they see all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and a million other things that mothers need to do. But seeing us doing all these chores with joy will help them see that along with the sacrifices that mothers make, there is the joy that we feel in caring for and nurturing our family. They will realize that there is happiness in motherhood.
I remember how my own mother sang and hummed while she worked (she still does, by the way). It made me think that doing all the work at home is not hard. I thought it was fun! Until of course I had to do it myself. But I learned from her that the work becomes lighter when I do it in the spirit of joy and service. We can always choose to be happy with what we do and who we are as mothers.
Choose to be a Mother Who Loves Her Spouse
Showing affection to your spouse will help your children have that “fairytale” feeling of happily ever after. Marriage is not always a joyful ride but we can still choose how we handle the circumstances that arise. If we express constant appreciation to our spouses, they will see a love that is untiring and enduring. And they will develop that desire to be in the same kind of relationship in the future.
Of course not all mothers have spouses. Some are widows raising children by themselves or single mothers struggling to get by. Nevertheless, that should not be a reason to talk bitterly about their fathers or about men in general. Having experienced relationships that did not work out doesn’t mean that love is not a good thing or marriages are doomed to fail. This is a very important thing because a child’s confidence greatly depends upon the relationship between his or her father and mother.
Choose to be a Mother Who Never Stops Learning and Teaching
“Mother” is a title that is not directly related to any study or profession. But come to think of it, why are schools called “alma mater” which in Latin means “bounteous mother”? When our children can bring their questions to us and we are able to give them answers, they feel good that their mother knows a lot. This boosts their desire to also learn for themselves. This means mothers need to continue learning. So when children come to them for answers they will not let the world do it for them – not Google or the next door neighbor.
To learn does not necessarily mean that we must pursue a formal education to be a good mother. We just need to have a desire to learn and build on that. Read, acquire new skills, accept callings in the church, participate in the community where you belong, talk to people – opportunities to learn are endless. More importantly, this also means that as mothers, we need to rely greatly on the teachings of the Holy Ghost. For the revelation we receive from the Spirit does not only affect us personally but our children as well. Remember how the 2000 stripling warriors attributed their faith in the protective power of God to the teachings of their mothers (Alma 56:47-48).
Mothering is not always something that girls desire in this modern world. However, that is a part of why we, women, came here to Earth. Lest we forget, we have a divine role to play in the grand scheme of things. Let’s seek the Lord’s help in our efforts to obey. As the world pulls girls away from this ideal, mothers in the Lord’s kingdom must be stalwart pillars to sustain the call of Heavenly Father to nurture, protect and teach His spirit children. Being mothers worth emulating is not easy but it is possible. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay. Motherhood has been called “the errand of angels” and being such entitles mothers to the blessings and help of heaven.