This blog post is from my January 9, Day 5 post on my Facebook Page called:
My daily spiritual study journal for those who need a dose of spirituality and truth daily.
Motherhood and How I Survived the Hard Stuff
My sister called me today with some questions…
“How do you do it?”
She has a brand new baby, new to motherhood, lives far away from family (Texas), and her husband is in a very rigorous program to become a doctor… She and her husband are actually doing the same exact program, in the same exact city my husband and I were living in 6 years ago (A medical degree and a masters in business MD/MBA at the same time)
“How did you handle it all?” She said.
“How did you not resent your husband when he was always so busy and couldn’t help you?”
I would love to say that I was perfect at these things, that I handled all of the pressure and stress, and kids with a smile and wasn’t phased one bit. I also had an ovarian tumor in the mix— a story for another day! We had two kids going into medical school and three kids by the time we were half way done). And the truth is, I struuuggled just like we all do at times in our lives. It was so HARD. But in those hard moments, among the tears and earnest prayers, somehow I grew stronger without even knowing it. I became more independent, more capable, relied more on God… and I blocked some of it out too. 😉
There are a few things that have become absolutely necessary to my success and happiness as a mom. This is what I shared with my sister, and I share with YOU just in case there is someone else out there struggling too.
1- Personal Scripture Study – Reading the word of God, no matter what, will help you every day. I promise. Test my words. Find out for yourself.
“And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which HEALETH THE WOUNDED SOUL. “ Jacob 2:8
2- Regular Exercise- This is like manna from heaven for me. Walk around the block or train for a marathon or do something in between. It doesn’t matter what you do, just find what YOU love. Loving your exercise of choice will in itself motivate you to exercise. One of my favorite quotes about this…
“Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it! Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness”- Jorg Klebingat, “Approaching the Throne of God With Confidence”
3- Weekly Dates with my Husband– This is the 11th commandment in our marriage. Whether we have “at home” dates or hire a babysitter and go out on the town, this is CRUCIAL for the wellbeing of our relationship. Just to be able to talk without the stress of kids, no interruptions, usually over a good plate of food— this heals all! Sometimes after a particularly horrendous week, it is just the thing to let down, relax, enjoy, and remember why we love each other. And when we don’t have to fight the “putting kids to bed war” one night a week, that alone can be totally worth it!
4- Find time for yourself to do what you love. When your kids are really little and really attached to you, this can be really really hard to do! But I believe it is important every now and then to give yourself a breather. Time where you can do something that you enjoy by yourself. A craft, shopping, a girls night, read a book, whatever it is. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel selfish, it is crucial to your wellbeing to take care of yourself a little bit so that you can take better care of the ones you love and give so much to.
5- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When I first started having kids, I was close to family and that made it easy to get help every now and then. But then we moved away to medical school with two really little kids that were 20 months apart, I had a husband trying to earn two degrees at once, so it was pretty much on me. My list of people I could rely on was forced to grow, even though it was a little out of my comfort zone to ask for help. So this list began to include friends, visiting teachers, young women from my church, etc. (the last two mentioned are from organizations in my church.
FACE YOURSELF TOWARD GOD
Ever since I can remember, while searching for my mom, I would go all over the house looking for her and often find her on her knees at her bedside, praying. Or with a stack of scriptures and inspirational books and magazines by her bedside table studying away and taking notes. In fact, for years my mom rounded up all 6 of us kids and brought us to church by herself every week. That just gives you a small idea of the SPIRITUAL IRON WILL this woman has.
Anyway, this last weekend while visiting my parents… my mom, knowing that I had been struggling for a while trying to recover from an injury all while doing the day to day of raising four kids, broke out her journal which was full of inspirational quotes and insights. She had been praying for me and had come across a quote that she felt particularly inspired to share with me and in turn, we both wanted to share it with you.
“The noblest calling in the world is motherhood. True motherhood. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give and the choicest blessings of God.
Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God given virtues of creating and sacrificing… No nobler work in this world can be performed by any mother than to rear and love the children with whom God has blessed her.”
– David O. McKay
So when you are feeling like you can’t go on, just remember that you are doing the greatest work there is. I am grateful for my mom who is still doing this noble work even though I am all old and grown up with a family of my own. She knew just what my mommy heart needed to hear—— and I need to continue to hear this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Chances are, some of you momma’s out there needed to hear it too. I love the quiet strength that my mom has always shown me as she has tried to stay close to God. We can show that to our kids too. I’m trying to figure out just how to do that… maybe some of hers will trickle down through the gene pool if I’m lucky! Her example has taught me that even when things are REALLY HARD, Mothering with God makes you UNSTOPPABLE.
WATCH A COUPLE OF MY FAVORITE TALKS ON MOTHERHOOD HERE: