“They Are All Mine,” Ensign, Feb. 2010, 68–69
“Are these all yours?”
It’s a question I hear often, so it didn’t surprise me when I heard it from the lady behind me in line at the grocery store. I looked at my six-year-old and five-year-old daughters standing on either side of my full cart, my toddler happily swinging her legs from the seat in front, and my four-month-old baby strapped to my chest.
“Yes, they are all mine,” I said, smiling.
From the time my husband and I started our family, our choices about how many children to have and when to have them have often come into public question. The decision to have our first child was not a logical one, at least not according to the standards of the world. We were still in our early 20s. Having just recently graduated from college, my husband was searching for a “real job.” We had a meager income and no insurance. Still, the impression was undeniable that spirits eagerly waited to come to our family, so we proceeded with faith.
We were blessed with a healthy pregnancy, a beautiful baby girl, and a stable job with a career track. I was grateful to be able to stay at home with my daughter and the three children who followed. All were brought into our family after strong divine impressions that the time was right, but that didn’t make it easy to explain to others why we would have so many children so close together.
The many inquiries I unfailingly receive often question my judgment: “Why so many?” “Do you not realize how much it costs to raise a child to age 18?” “Can you really give each child the attention and opportunity he or she needs?” And, of course, “Are you done yet?”
I hope we’re not done, even though the years of parenting small children are intense and extremely challenging physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. There are days when children need to be fed, diapers need to be changed, babies need to be soothed, and noses need to be wiped—all at the same time. At such times I question my sanity and wonder if I know what I am doing. On those days the voice of the world seems to laugh in derision, as if to say, “Told you so!”
But how grateful I am during those moments for the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the value it places on families. Every day I rely on gospel principles taught by prophets past and present to know that my work as a mother—and it is work—is the most important thing I could be doing in my life and is worth every effort. In answer to fervent prayer, I receive divine assistance daily to do what I am asked to do in my home. Through His tender mercies, a loving Father in Heaven allows those days of absolute exhaustion to come punctuated with moments of incandescent joy.
So to the woman at the grocery store and to others who wonder why I would devote my heart and soul to raising children, I proudly reply, “Yes, they are all mine—gratefully, whole-heartedly, and without hesitation!”