“5 Ways to Find Joy in Motherhood,” Ensign, August 2018
When I was a new mom, I felt stifled in the daily routine of childcare. It was hard to watch my husband and others pursue exciting new paths while I was stuck in our tiny apartment all day caring for two small children. I wanted to love being a mother, but I was struggling. So I turned to Heavenly Father in prayer. I asked Him to help me know how to change my outlook and myself. The answers I received are simple yet powerful:
Count your blessings. When I concentrate on the good things in my life instead of the negative things, I feel grateful and happy.
Find the beauty and joy in the everyday. I noticed how often my kids laughed and made me laugh. I loved being able to watch them grow every day. I began to delight in accomplishing household tasks, even those I had to do several times a day. This is a blessing of the Spirit that I gained through prayer and effort.
Play with your kids. Taking the time to play with my kids has been a huge blessing. It helps me prioritize my time and minimize my distractions, and it gives my kids less time for watching TV, getting into mischief, and pestering each other! When I play with my kids, they’re happy, and when they’re happy, so am I. Joining in their play helps me develop a stronger relationship with them and allows me to see the world through their eyes. It reminds me why the frustrations of parenthood are worth it.
Look outside yourself. When I focus on others, I don’t dwell on my own problems. This frees me from feeling frustrated, sad, or discouraged and helps me replace those feelings with the pure love of Christ. I know this to be true, but I have to relearn it now and then. I don’t do everything I do for myself; I do it for the precious souls God has placed in my charge. I grow to be more like Him as I teach them to be more like Him.
Maintain a long-term perspective. When I get frustrated with the seemingly endless tasks before me, I remind myself how precious and crucial this time of life is. My kids will be with me for just a short time, and I cherish the time I have to help them learn and watch them grow into the amazing people Heavenly Father wants them to be.
Following these promptings has completely changed my perspective on motherhood. Before, I felt like I was missing out on life’s grand adventures. But now I know that my kids are a grand adventure. The excitement and purpose I was looking for was right in front of me the whole time. I’m not just a maid; I’m a teacher, a counselor, a confidant. Motherhood is both a great blessing and a great challenge, and I’m grateful for the ways in which it stretches me, teaches me, and refines me to become the person Heavenly Father knows I can be.