Motherhood is for everyone

Her name is Jasmine.

Actually I think her name is something else but she told me she likes to change her name every day for fun. I guess yesterday was a “Jasmine” kind of day.

jasmine

She loves the color purple. She wants to be a soccer star when she grows up.

She smiles all the time and pretends she’s a princess. And yet–life is hard for her.

Throughout the day I learned that Jasmine’s sister died, her mother can hardly take care of her, and she’s never met her dad. So she comes here after school to play, get help with math homework, and have something to eat.

I wasn’t sure what to expect yesterday when I went with my company to do volunteer work at a group home. But I certainly didn’t expect to meet Jasmine–or any of the other twenty-something kids who seemed to just blow in with the wind.

These kids come every day after school since they have nowhere else to go. They’re wandering souls not yet immune to the poison of a hard world.  My heart couldn’t help but break as I scanned the room that day. A group of teenage boys sat alone at a table playing a card game and erupted into laughter and playful jests as soon as someone won. A toddler sat on someone’s lap, his shirt soaked with apple juice. A group of young girls with braided hair and pink shoes formed a circle in a far corner, talking with their hands. So many kids. So many struggles. So little moms.

snack time

And then, of course, Jasmine broke my train of thought.

“Do you have kids?” she asked me. I shook my head no.

“Well, you can be MY mom now!” she exclaimed during snack time.

And the words struck me.

Maybe it struck me because I’m not yet a mom–and because of medical reasons, it’ll be awhile before I am. Maybe it struck me because motherhood always went hand in hand in my mind with pregnancy, painting a new nursery, or driving a car strapped down with car seats. It never really struck me before that moment that I can still be a mom. So can you.

help with math

It really is the most sacred calling.

I have a world against me on that opinion– I realize this. You might be too.

Bloggers, columnists, extreme feminists and modern-day thinkers join in a fight against motherhood. Motherhood is restricting, they’ll say. Motherhood is a 1950’s approach to oppressing women. Motherhood, some say, is for those women who don’t have any other ambitions in life or for those who wind up chained down. And with this line of thinking we slowly forget what being a mom even is. We forget that it’s all about reaching out to someone who needs it. It’s about selflessness. Mentorship. Nurturing. Compassion. God’s work.

I think back now to not only my amazing Mom, but the countless other women along the way who loved me, taught me, sacrificed for me, and wound up on their knees for me. They were women who had no children of their own, women who had quite a few mouths to feed at home, women who were young, women who were so old that I only remember them in my early childhood memories. They were women who taught me patience or music or writing well or faith in God. Women who stayed after school to help me with long division. They were strong, selfless, beautiful women consistently taking on the role of mother. Those are the women I remember.

20131026_170052

We aren’t called to live a life dedicated to ourselves. It’s never the reason we came. And I’m tired of living in a world where selflessness is equated with weakness.

Elder Holland once said in an address, The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever.”

It’s always been worth it.

Eve understood this when she stepped out of Eden just so we could be born. Sarai understood this when Abraham told her their generations would be as numerous as the stars and she thanked God for it. Mary understood it when she rearranged her entire life and lost friends and a good reputation all to make way for the Savior. Jesus himself understood the value of motherhood when some of the last words he spoke were to John, asking him to take care of his mother. From the beginning of time we’ve been reminded of our responsibility to God’s children and the eternal principle of it. Why have we forgotten?

mary

Be the woman that changes everything for someone. Jasmine’s simple, childlike plea reminded me of the urgency of it all.

Whether you have six children or no children, whether you grew up in a home with a mother who loved you or a home without one present–be someone’s rescue, if only for a period of time in their lives.

Be someone’s mom.

Oh, and I promise you–it’s not old fashioned to change the world.

with kids

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  15 comments for “Motherhood is for everyone

  1. Kristi Sexton
    May 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I don’t want to miss a single update…….my email has changed to dksexton@wersexton.com

    Could you update it please? Or do I just need to re-register?

    • May 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Hi Kristi! You’re so sweet! What I would do if I were you is unfollow me and then click follow again to re-register with a different e-mail address. I can’t do it on my end for some reason :/ Thanks again, Kristi! :)

  2. Becca Notbohm
    May 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

    You are so beautiful! I love the way you see the world and the way you describe it! I am so proud of you sister! Thanks for the encouragement to be a world changer!

    • May 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

      I love you so much, Sister! You’re an amazing mama and sister and friend :) Miss you!

  3. May 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I’m single and have no children of my own, but have been able to learn and apply motherhood skills through friends, younger siblings, and those I’ve been able to mentor.
    Moms are amazing, and need to be respected for what they do.

  4. Lisa
    May 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I was told for the first 9 years of marriage that motherhood wasn’t in the cards for me. We eventually proved them all wrong, three times!!! I’ve been a mother figure to few who I never strapped into a car seat as well. It’s all good. Motherhood, from where ever it arrives, is the bomb!

  5. Katrina
    May 7, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Even though I am a mom, sometimes I forget what being a mother is all about. Thank you for the reminder. I needed it, today.

  6. May 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Beautiful post for Mother’s Day!
    I have the fortune to have children of my own – I don’t yet, I will have one soon enough – but I still hope to be mother to others, too. Sometimes, those mothers, the ones who didn’t birth the “child”, are the most important mothers of all.

  7. Leah Christensen
    May 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I am a Feminist, and for me feminism means choice. Not all women feel the need to be mothers, but it’s important to acknowledge that MANY WOMEN DO! I will never begrudge them that. NEVER! Unfortunately there are several who pity my child free state (note I said child free and not childless, as this is a choice I made, not one my body or lifestyle or other factors made for me), and they try to change my mind, telling me what a great mother is be, or that this is what was meant for me because I’m a woman. Not at all! Motherhood is meant for you because you’re you, and her because she is herself, and those ladies over Thera, because that’s how God made them!!

    I commend you on this post because you pointed out that Motherhood is not just the traditional picture of pregnancy, etc.

    We need to be called to be what God wants us to be because of the individuals that God made us. While I do not agree that every woman feels the need to be a mother, this feminist won’t try and take it away from those who are, and desire to be mothers. They too, are amazing and worthy people.

  8. May 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    My mother was a single mom when I was growing up, which means I had a lot of mother-figures step in her place when she was out working to put food on the table. These women were significant and necessary for my stable walk through a parent divorce, and I am so thankful they stepped forward to fill in the spaces. Thank you for reminding us that we are all mothers, wherever we are.

  9. Kim
    May 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    oh my dear Kayla.. you may not be a mom as of yet, but the way you are with so many children and the way you were with your own sister when she was a baby shows me that you are a mother;) you took on motherhood when I was sick, you gave your sister all the love that I could not give her at that time. you have this heart Kayla that some mom’s don’t even have, and also struggle to show their children the love that mothers should have for their babies.. Right now may not be your time, but when that times comes, your child will be one of the most blessed child of GOD there ever was:) I am and always have been so very proud of you Kayla. just continue to be calm and wait on God, he will Bless you! I love you, oh, and Happy Mothers day too you also.. give those baby Bunnies a hug;)

  10. Debbie S.
    May 8, 2014 at 9:57 am

    This is great! We can all be mothers. I emailed you last week, sorry for sharing so much. I’m just so inspired by the things you write, I was feeling a lot of different things. I hope that was okay. You are so amazing!! :)

  11. May 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    My daughter is speaking in church this Sunday on Mothers day (she also spoke last year coincidentally) and I am going to give her this blog post to use as subject material. It is so right on. Thank you for all of your thought on this sometimes touchy subject.

  12. May 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I’m a new mom and I’ve already felt/heard the negative thoughts pointed towards motherhood. I was nervous to finally become a mother after growing up an only child and being the only LDS person in my family, I put pressure on myself feeling as though I would never be like those “moms at church”. I’ve had friends say “I wish she had done more with her life” about a mother of 4 beautiful and creative children. Or “she’s pregnant AGAIN?! Isn’t 5 enough???” It makes me want to be around my “own kind” to avoid the weirdness. Thank you for speaking up about the topic, it truly is a magnificent calling.

  13. June 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I just wanted to know if, after this inspirational post, you are continuing to go to the group home and mentor that girl who really needs someone to care? Don’t just write it, be it! I sincerely hope that you do continue to go and be a stable inspiration for jasmine, because that is the real meat of what you are saying.

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