“Discovering Me in Motherhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 53–54
I remembered with envy the seeming ease with which my mother cared for her family, kept herself lovely, and maintained a smooth-running household. My own attempts to carry on a conversation with preschool children, fold and put away laundry, keep a baby dry, and still smile as I sat down to dinner sometimes ended in frustration. The role of mother seemed to demand more creativity, compassion, wisdom, and sacrifice than I could bring to it. I often found myself growing weary of trying to meet lofty expectations and care for the needs of others.
To fulfill my role, I gradually resigned myself to the seeming necessity of giving up the things I most enjoyed. My paint box went on a shelf, books requiring mental effort were left to gather dust, and my sewing machine sat unused in the corner.
Though willing to make the necessary sacrifices, I felt I needed a personal testimony of the divine calling of motherhood. After I spent many nights in prayer, my answer finally came—but in an unexpected way. I received a call to serve as a counselor in the stake Young Women presidency. Because our stake center was 120 miles away, I would have to travel four or five hours round-trip just to attend meetings, not to mention the time and travel required to visit wards and branches. Could I handle a calling that took so much time when I already felt overwhelmed at home? As I prayed sincerely for guidance, I felt I should accept, so I determined to do the best I could.
To meet the demands of my increasingly hectic schedule, I immediately saw a need to rethink my approach to housework. I relaxed some standards and enlisted the help of the children. With these small changes, I soon noticed I was not as irritable as I had been, and I enjoyed my children more. Now when I returned from meetings, I was happy to see those same little faces that had brought tears of frustration before.
My husband also put much effort into supporting me during this time and spent many evenings caring for our children. On those days when I came home to find the children bathed and in bed and the house clean, I was deeply touched by these visible signs of his love and support.
In addition to these changes at home, my calling brought me many new opportunities. I found myself writing skits and poetry, practicing the piano, baking new dishes, conducting meetings, and directing panels. My paint box came back off the shelf. I began developing personal tact, compassion, friendshipping skills, and love for the sisters in the stake.
The growth I have found through service in the Church has indeed given me new insight into the divine role of motherhood, and the demands of home and family no longer seem an unending sacrifice. Thanks to the greater vision of a loving Heavenly Father, I have come to realize that while my family requires time and sacrifice, the Lord’s plan for me has many facets and includes serving others, developing talents, making new friends, and finding balance in my life. All these things bring me joy, and my children now have a happier mother.