Mother’s Day was a couple of months ago, but mothers in general deserve as many accolades as they can get. This applies particularly to those young mothers who are “in the trenches” of young motherhood, bearing and caring for little people who are sweet and adorable but sometimes hard to deal with. This also applies to the mothers of pre-teens and teenagers who are on the front lines of the battle for the souls of their children.
Elder Jeffery R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on the topic of mothers at a General Conference in April 1997. I read his talk again as an assignment for my religion class and thought I should include it on my blog. There are surely some young mothers today who have not heard it and need to hear these words.
Elder Holland began his address with “some lines attributed to Victor Hugo which read: `She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. “She hath kept none for herself,” grumbled the sergeant. “Because she is not hungry,” said a soldier. “No,” said the sergeant, “because she is a mother.”’”
Continuing his address Elder Holland paid tribute to mothers generally and particularly young mothers who “go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life.” He counseled husbands and Church leaders to be aware of the heavy burdens carried by young mothers.
“Remember that families are the highest priority of all, especially in those formative years. Even so, young mothers will still find magnificent ways to serve faithfully in the Church, even as others serve and strengthen them and their families in like manner.
“Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.”
Elder Holland shared the story of a young mother who explained that “her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, etc. all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like `goo goo.’ Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.
“But one thing, she said, keeps her going: `Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him….’
“… I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is ever-lasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expect you to do.”