Sunday, May 5

Mother. The Most Important Job.

My lovely, lovely mother :)
Mother's day is coming, men and children. And women with everyone. You now have just over a week to prepare. Now is the time to think about finding a way to make up for all the naughtiness and trouble and grief you caused your mother growing up. She made tons and tons of sacrifices for you, the least you can do is write her a note. If nothing else, be sure to call her and tell her you love her. She probably already knows it, but I guarantee she never gets tired of hearing her children say that to her. For you married men who do not yet have children, think of this: Someday, your wife will be giving birth to YOUR child. She has dedicated her whole life to preparing for this position, and in the meantime, she is probably mothering you so be sure to do something for her. Even the smallest gesture will mean much more to her than you might think. I know I can't help but hold onto every single little note Dalin writes me. I love them so much. I even hang some on the fridge because they make me so happy every time I see them. And just one more thing--do not forget those women in your life who have, at times, been like mothers to you. There are so many women out there who have not had the opportunity to have children of their own and so have dedicated much of their lives to being a mother to everyone. I can think of a number of women who fall into this category for me. They probably do not even know the impact they have had on my life. So if you get the chance, thank those women who have similarly impacted you, too. It will bless their lives. 

In honor of all mothers, I wanted to talk about how completely ecstatic I am to be given the opportunity to be one myself. I love my baby girl and cannot wait to see her and get to know her personality and become her friend. I can tell by the way she wiggles all the time that she is going to be so much fun and a joy to raise. 

Society has an unfortunately negative perspective of motherhood. Many call it a pain, a hassle, a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice. But the best definition of sacrifice in my mind (straight from is: "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim." Interesting that it mentions surrendering something desirable (also good) for something of higher or more pressing claim. The value of a good mother simply cannot be communicated in writing. One HUGE reason the world is growing so wicked (I believe) is because of the destruction of the family. Women just are not taking their responsibility of motherhood serious enough. And the family is suffering because of it. As all Latter-day Saints know, the family is "the fundamental unit of society." This means when society suffers, it is because the family is suffering.

Dalin and I have been very fortunate to have support on both sides of our family. They both are excited for the growth of our little family. Not everyone is so lucky. Many couples are encouraged to "wait to have kids--travel first--you have plenty of time." These are common phrases heard by young married couples. And to me, it's sad. Because when is anyone more happy than when they are with their parents and siblings and loved ones? For me, never. 

I loved this article which describes many of those negative experiences I mentioned. This woman does a fabulous job at creating a positive outlook on motherhood and bearing children. I loved in particular these lines from it:

"If you are a pregnant woman, boldly declare your excitement for your baby bump! 
When you are in the midst of bottles and binkies and spit up and tantrums and sleepless nights – do not let the enemy whisper in your ear – “this is too much.” Lean on Jesus and thank God for giving you SO much!
When the world says, you are too young, remember: Mary was young.
When the world says, you are too old, remember: Sarah was old.
When the world says, you don’t know what you are doing, remember Eve – who had no role models at all…she just walked with the King."
I thought this was great. I mean truly, what job out there is more important than motherhood? There is literally nothing I want more than to be a great mother (other than being with my family forever). And although it is wonderful in some ways that Dalin and I will have had two terrific years of marriage all to ourselves, I wish in many ways that we had just ignored the words of others about waiting to have children (which is not why we did wait, by the way) and started sooner. I have already loved this part of our marriage possibly more than any other part and I know it will only get better. We can hardly wait until we can hold our baby girl and love her and raise her to be a righteous daughter of God. 
There are so many things I never thought I would care about until I was put into the position I am in now (being pregnant I mean). Like modesty, for example. My mother was pretty strict when it came to modesty and now I am so grateful she was. It drove me crazy that she cared about it so much and even though I was obedient to her and chose not go against the standards, I was annoyed and embarrassed when she let me know something was too short or too low or too revealing in any way. She was also always sure to inform me if I was wearing too much makeup. That embarrassed me and usually made me upset with her but looking back, I am so glad she cared enough to tell me no. Especially now when I see so many girls whose moms clearly did not tell them "no" enough. 
I know I will be following in her footsteps because I care. A lot. I do not want ANYONE looking at my daughter in a disrespectful way. I want my daughter to have enough confidence in her inner beauty that she does not become absorbed by her outward appearance. I want her to know that her body is a temple and that it should be treated sacred. Our bodies are on loan. They eventually will be returned and hopefully they will be in better than "fair" condition. I hope I can help my daughter to understand that as a daughter of a Heavenly King, she is royalty. And as such, she should behave like it.
Growing up, I had the Gospel Standards poster put out by the Church for Primary children hanging on the inside of the door of my wardrobe. I read it frequently and these lines in particular have stayed with me: 
I will keep my mind and body sacred and pure, and I will not partake of things that are harmful to me. I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father and myself.
At the time, I couldn't understand how dressing immodestly was disrespectful. Since reading The Anatomy of Peace, I think the best way to explain how it is disrespectful is by describing how it is a way of willfully objectifying oneself. As I now have been trying hard to view others as human beings and individuals rather than objects or obstacles, I can clearly see why immodesty turns women (in particular) into mere objects. I certainly am no feminist, but I think many of those with feminist views would agree that women who do not respect the privacy of, and in reality, the sacredness of their own bodies, cannot expect men to respect those things. That would be both unfair and unrealistic. If we want to be empowered as women, we must do things that empower us. Only we can bear our own children. Only we can know what it is to truly nurture and care for a newborn. Only we can follow our natural maternal instincts to know what our child needs. I think many feminists have it all backwards--we shouldn't push away our God-given role as mothers because we mistakenly believe it is demeaning--we should embrace our Individual Worth and our Divine Nature and recognize that we are creating and managing the very unit which is the cornerstone of a functioning society. 
If you do not believe me, please ask yourself where would anyone be without their mother. For one bleak moment, consider what society would be like if there were no mothers who cared. I'm going to take a leap and hypothesize that there would be a lot more crime and sadness in the world. I have a very loving and caring father, but my mom is the one who for the most part taught me how I should treat others. She taught me the importance of being kind and the importance of sharing. She taught me how to make friends and how to keep them. She taught me how to apologize and how to be forgiving. She also taught me the importance of being sensitive to the feelings of others. That's just how it is--most women are better at understanding the emotional needs of a person. It's just a part of female nature. 
I am so grateful for my mother and for all that she continually does for me. She made sacrifices, some of which were probably difficult to make. But they were for the purpose of building something greater. I am thankful to have had morals instilled in me while growing up. I am only now realizing how uncommon that is. Some families just don't have good values like integrity, service, hard work, etc. I am doing my best to follow in my mother's footsteps by building a home that will be a place of peace and joy, where the Spirit can always reside. In a very small way, I am contributing to the building of the Kingdom. I love you, Mom. Thanks for being my second best friend ;)

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