Motherhood is Patient

patient 001I always thought that patience in motherhood was in reference to unruly children who got on your last nerve. While that is definitely the case, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany as to the longer term success that being a patient mother can offer.

On the day to day as a mother it can be hard to be patient. Evelyn would rather walk than be carried but her pace is approximately 1/8th of mine. But to prevent the screaming that would likely ensue, I let her walk (usually). She wants to pick out a bow for her hair but changes her mind 15 times before settling on one, and then promptly rips it out. It’s a little frustrating.

And how about sweeping the kitchen floor only to have Evelyn dump her entire plate of food out only minutes later. Or straightening up her toys in the living room only to see that she has been carrying all her toys one by one into my bedroom. Daily tasks have gone from boring and annoying to boring, annoying and nearly impossible to complete. It’s 3 steps forward, 4 steps back.

I’m gonna be honest with you, this whole stay-at-home-mom thing has really been weighing me down. I’ll sit on the couch at the end of the day and look at the disaster of a living room that I tried to clean 10 times before giving up and just feel defeated. Is this what I signed up for?

As a kid chores were the things you got out of the way so you could do the fun stuff. Now, chores are my life. On the bad days I feel like little more than a teenage babysitter who has a never ending list of chores. How did this become my life? When I got over my dreams of being a famous movie star, I knew that I wanted to be a housewife/mom as a profession. Now I find myself living that life and it’s not at all what I expected.

At the end of a particularly rough day that came in the middle of an awful week I finally broke down crying to my husband and admitted all the thoughts I’d been suppressing.

“I’m not a good mom. I don’t want to be a mom. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m just so unhappy. It’s too hard and stressful and I can’t get anything done. Nothing makes me happy anymore. And I drown out the depression in front of the TV and then feel even more guilty about how I spend my time. I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t.

He listened quietly and rubbed my back, no doubt terrified that I was falling apart at the seams.

He calmly suggested, “Let’s talk about this. Let’s figure out what we can do to make this better. If that means you getting a job, we can make that happen.”

I spent the rest of that night alone in my bed trying to figure out what might make me happy.

The next day was Sunday and I had an appointment to visit teach a woman in my church.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the Mormon faith, every woman over 18 in our church is assigned another woman to be their partner. Together their task is to visit 1-3 other women, which are also assigned, in the church at least once a month, check up on them and share a spiritual message. It’s a way to make sure no one is getting left unheard or un-helped. We call it visiting teaching.)

I sat down to go over the spiritual message for the month and found myself crying once again. As I read and re-read a quote by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, I couldn’t help but think that this message was written just for me.

“Patience is not a passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something…even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”

The meaning hit me immediately. I have no doubt that right now in my life, Heavenly Father wants me to raise my family. I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Although I may not enjoy every moment of the constant cleaning and carrying for a toddler with an attitude, I need to not only endure this stage of my life but endure it well.

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I was pretty much doing the complete opposite.

“Ultimately, patience means being ‘firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord’ every hour of every day even when it is hard to do so.”

Motherhood right now is my trial. It’s wonderful and exciting and adorable but it’s also stressful and thankless and a lot of work. But even so, that doesn’t give me an excuse to give up and endlessly complain. I can do hard things. And right now, for me, that hard thing is being a housewife and stay-at-home-mom.

Before I know it, Evelyn, and any subsequent children, will be grown and this stage of life will be a distant memory. I’m sure I’ll look back fondly and miss it. So for now I’m going to focus on making the most of every day. I’m going to focus on being patient.

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