"Families mean work, but they are our great work--and we are not afraid of work."
Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President
Love that! Sister Beck's talk from the General Relief Society meeting has a lot of great quotes in it, but I really enjoy this one. It's funny in a way when people are disgruntled about the roles of wife or mother, like it's all supposed to be hearts and flowers. It's definitely a bonus when the people you care about say things like "I love you Mom!" and clean up their rooms without being told, but since the kids get together and decide when our yearly alottment of "Mommy Perks" happen so we just get enough to keep us going and THAT'S IT, then we go through a lot of droughts.
Somewhere in there a girl's got to find her own successes. Like you walk through the house and there's only one pair of someone's underwear in the hallway, or the kids start a pillow fight and after the warning "you guys better quit now because you know someone's going to end up bawling," no one does!
After the newborn six week crash course of, "Whoa! This isn't easy!" sometimes we quickly get lulled back into parental naivety. Then they start to crawl, then they start to walk, then two's hit, then another stage, and another. Sometimes with a break in between, sometimes daily, several TIMES a day, or several stages all fighting to be the biggest worst stage all at the same time! Ever wish you could go back to the ignorant bliss when you knew it all before you had children?
A scripture hit me like a ton of bricks one day. It had been a particularly rough day with one particularly rough kid. I flipped open the scriptures that night and my eyes fell on Doctrine and Covenants 82:3, "To him unto whom much is given much is required." Talk about a big dose of perspective. I HAVE been given much, and if I can trust Doctrine & Covenants 64:3, "Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great," then that solidifies Sister Beck's statement even more. If I can just keep on working at laying that foundation, I can't wait to see who all my "much is givens" grow up to be.
But on to marriage. I pity the person that thinks marriage should be all play and no work, because it's highly likely they will be very unhappy in marriage. I'm not saying that work means always doing everything for your spouse, but it does mean picking up someone else's socks once in a while, helping out with the dishes, or biting back a snide remark all in the name of keeping the peace. An even better kind of work involves taking a moment to do something kind like walking a cup of hot chocolate down to the frozen basement where your husband is working, or bringing home a favorite ice cream and dishing it up for just the two of you to share. Maybe those things are even more important when you're having an "I love you but I'm not exactly sure if I like you" moment. A bit of kindness and consideration goes a long way with us imperfect beings. Remember, do this in the right spirit, purely to delight and not to show, "See, I'm the good one." Don't forget, "Be not weary in well-doing."
I have to amen another statement Sister Beck makes in regards to women and family. "When women embrace those roles with all their hearts, they are happy!" (exclamation point not added). Any time I get grumpy about the day-to-day I realize I'm focusing on me. "I don't even have time to ________," (insert take a shower, make anything but mac 'n cheese, blog, etc.) or "I just wish I could have ___ minutes of peace!" Too bad the number-of-years-old = number-of-time-out-minutes formula doesn't apply when you're a mother, but selfishness never was happiness. Truly, I am never more happy than when I forget myself and give my very best to my family. Not my leftovers, but my very best.
We are soooo not perfect. I lose my cool, my house is never clean, my husband says things like man b... nevermind, I'm not even going to say it, but I tried to give him that "Oh brother I can't believe you said that" look but I lost it and laughed instead. A lot. So yah, not perfect. But I think we're going in the right direction. As long as he keeps bringing me ice cream and I keep on working.