It seems discouraging at times. Motherhood is bombarded by a shifting world of career-minded females who would rather work than stay home. The media wants us to think that women feel it’s more important to leave their calling as mother behind than to stand up for their children. Believe it or not, the world doesn’t look highly on the good marks of a mother. Sometimes we hear testimony of sports heroes or political candidates speaking highly of their mothers, but overall, mothers are tossed aside in the good news department.
In the world of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) motherhood is highly regarded as an honorable profession; in fact, it is regarded as the most honorable profession a woman can have. Motherhood is a great blessing. Mothers bring children into the world, and we can mold and encourage good souls to live great lives and contribute back into their communities.
From “The Radical Mormon Mother Part II,” Tiffany Gee Lewis says, “Even in our culture we’ve strayed from understanding what a homemaker is supposed to do. We’ve outsourced our domestic skills, whole-foods cooking, a great portion of the teaching we should give our children and even our own ability to create.”
The world has journeyed away in the understanding of good mothering. Babies don’t come with how-to manuals, and most parents don’t take child development classes as college students. Future generations must learn from someone, or somewhere, proper mothering techniques as we must preserve our family life.
The words of Elder M. Russell Ballard (apostle of the Lord from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) tell us: “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family” (“Daughters of God,” Ensign, April 2008).
With those thoughts in mind, here are a few tips for all women, whether a mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister, to promote and preserve family life.
Be the Advocate for Your Child: As frustrating as children can be at times, they need someone to stand by them through thick and thin. Who else will stick up for their children if not their own mother? Support at school, sports competitions, and other activities always shows that you take the time to be your child’s advocate. Mothers might not always be in the right place at the time, but overall, putting forth the effort by standing up for your child will make a difference in his or her life.
Consistent Good Habits are Important: Moms don’t have to be super women. The daily what-seem-to-be mundane tasks are important to children. Bedtime routines, mealtime routines, and cleaning routines are all important in molding children into productive people. It is a security blanket for every child to know Mom will be there to make sure his or her life is in order. It won’t be perfect, but consistent habits over all can make the difference in the security of a child’s life.
No Name Calling: Believe it or not, there are mothers who still emotionally abuse their children by calling them names and putting them down. It is a crime and should not continue. Children look to their mothers for support and positive reinforcement. How are they going to function as good citizens if they are always hearing negative words? There are other ways to discipline or teach a child to do what is right besides name calling. That doesn’t mean mothers never get angry. It doesn’t mean we don’t lose our patience. Mothers have an “endure to the end” calling and the more positive we can be to our young children at home, the better they will be.
Instill High Moral Values Early: Our language, entertainment, and health habits can be a big example for our children. Mothers don’t want their children to smoke. Most don’t think highly of dirty jokes or pornography. We wouldn’t want them to steal or hurt anyone. Instilling good morals early helps children know where they stand. It’s still in style to treat others as we would like to be treated. As children grow and learn more about their world and what is appropriate behavior, we can be there to guide them through. Of course, once a child gets older, they start choosing for themselves what they prefer, and mothers always hope their child chooses wisely. Instilling these values early can start a child off on the right foot.
Motherhood can be overwhelming, but it is certainly most rewarding. Not every child will make good choices. Not every child will do as he or she is told, but if we put the time in to raising our children who are taught correct principles and live consistent lives in a supportive home, we can know we did all we could to bring good people into the world.
As Elder Ballard said in April of 2008, “There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.” I couldn’t agree more.
Valerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ woman). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.