Do you dislike Mother’s Day because you feel unworthy of the praise heaped upon you? Do you quickly observe strengths in other moms but have a harder time seeing them in yourself? If so, you are not alone!
I suggest, you are doing better (probably much better) than you may think. But first, I want a couple of things straight.
1. This article is not written from a mom’s perspective (that would be tricky for me to pull off since I am a guy). But, it is written from the perspective of a very imperfect parent.
2. No matter how often I “fall short,” I really do love being a parent – I just want to be better at it!
Now, back to the article…
Can You Relate?
I sometimes get down on myself because I long to be a better parent. Do you ever feel the same? Unlike most of you, I really have no excuses for “messing up”. In addition to treasuring our prophets’ words contained within the Family Proclamation, I also have 2 degrees in Family Studies (including my PhD) and I have taught family classes at BYU-Idaho for the past decade (including parenting classes). I really do know what I am supposed to be doing. SO WHY DO I MESS UP SO MUCH?!?
Do you ever find yourself asking similar questions?
Y Tu Brute Nephi
Nephi, one of our scripture heroes, engraved words that many of us can relate to (see 2nd Nephi chapter 4):
“O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins…”
In all fairness, Nephi’s anguished words may or may not have had anything to do with his experiences as a parent. That’s not really the point. Rather, how did Nephi respond when he felt great sorrow? Similarly, how do we respond when we feel inadequate as parents? More importantly, how should we respond during such times?
Nephi’s Gift to Us
After openly and candidly sharing his frustrations, Nephi then shares the solution to his worries. Please note that this is also the only real solution to my parenting worries and it is also the only real solution to your perceived parenting inadequacies.
“….And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.” Later Nephi continues, “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.”
Clearly Nephi trusted in the Lord and His atonement. This poignant reminder truly is a gift to all of us parents (and one given over 2500 years ago).
Like him, we must trust in the atonement that we may be forgiven of our weaknesses and inadequacies as a parent. Equally important, we must trust that through the atonement we can become the parents God wants us to become.
One Final Thought
As we honestly assess our own parenting deficiencies, please recognize the many good things you are already doing as a parent. You do so many wonderful, selfless, and Christ-like things as a parent.
Rather than resenting Mother’s Day in 2016, please take a moment to recognize the good that you are already doing! And, when you have moments of discouragement as a parent (we all do), remember these hopeful words from Jeffrey R. Holland: “Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever!