Before we headed to church yesterday, I prayed to hear something important about motherhood in the messages. This was no idle prayer. Sitting with two small children, and no husband, doesn’t lend itself to listening intently to the speakers. Fortunately for me, Savannah Beal (or “Nana” as Carter calls her) usually sits with me to help with the kids and allow me to leave a couple minutes early to prepare for Primary. Today however, I was on my own since Savannah was the youth speaker, so it really was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to hear anything in the talks.
The thing that stood out to me was a quote from Sheri Dew that Ashley used in her talk:
“While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve ‘the mother of all living’ —and they did so before she ever bore a child.”
This really struck a chord in me. Granted, I have biological children now. But for six years of my married life I did not have children. I know people thought I was putting off a family so that I could attend law school, but that simply wasn’t the case. I went to law school because I didn’t have kids. I knew a legal education was something that I needed to pursue and, interestingly, I got pregnant as soon as I started my last semester. Sometimes the Lord has a plan for us and He insists that we do things His way.
Another reason this quote struck me was because of the position I’m in as an attorney. I have two biological children that I mother, but I have eight other children that I also mother, within the limited scope of my influence. These children range in age from two months to eleven years. I represent them as both their attorney and their guardian ad litem.
Within that context, these children are just as important to me as my own and I take very seriously the role that I play in their lives. I make life altering decisions for them. I define their family. I determine who will raise them.
I have refused to support placements with relatives who I felt would not offer them a quality life. I have asked the court to terminate their parents’ rights because it would be in their best interest. I have requested that a sibling group be split, with one child placed with one family and the other three placed with another. Each of my suggestions and requests has been ordered by the court based solely on my recommendation. That is a lot of weight to carry . . . and I do it because I am a mother.
My current church calling also gives me the opportunity to expand my motherly sphere. As the Second Counselor in the Primary, I have around forty children each week to mother for a couple hours.
When a young CTR5 is having a hard time separating from his mom, I give him a job so he feels like it’s worth it to stay. When a little Sunbeam falls asleep during sharing time, I find a soft mat for him to lie on so he can get the rest he needs. Obviously I teach the children the gospel as well, but the most important part of my calling is showing them just how much their Father in Heaven loves them . . . and I do that by being a mother.
Each of these hats that I wear stem from my divine role as mother. Some are difficult, some are heartbreaking, and some are rewarding, but they are all important. The most important and rewarding however, is being the mother of Raine and Carter. Being a stay-at-home mom was not easy for me. Honestly, it took me a couple years to get used to it. But I am so glad that I stuck with it because it is the best life in the world!
I love going to parent-tot classes with my kids and watching them gain confidence in a new skill.
I love taking them to the zoo to explore this amazing world around us.
I need structure and schedules so classes, activities, and outings are what keep me sane. But everyone needs a PJ day every so often, and I love those days too. We rescue baby jaguar, take all the cushions off the couch to have “jump class,” play with puzzles and blocks, and read PILES of books all snuggled up on the couch. These moments are priceless!
I love to see their faces light up at the simplest thing and to have random conversations with them.
I love to see them learn and grow.
This is my motherhood, and it is the greatest blessing!