Key indicators in motherhood, for me

Yesterday I was feeling so stressed out about all the things that remain that I hadn’t done, particularly after another full day that ended late helping a child finish her “Leprechaun Trap” that needed to include as many simple machines (levers, pullies, planes, etc.) as possible. Hooray for a husband who would help his daughter figure that out at 9 pm! When we got to bed at 11, that was when I felt bad about all that wasn’t done and all the areas that I felt were a mess.

My husband asked me if I was doing the things that were most important. I was frustrated by that, but I answered and named the things that were still happening that I had helped to happen. “I want you to remember that,” he suggested.

This morning when I woke up and was studying my scriptures, I was reading President Benson’s lesson on Jesus Christ. Studying those paragraphs really helped me have a change of heart from the night before. I remembered what Lane said the night before, and I felt affirmed in the things that I AM doing. I was sharing my thoughts with Nate in a letter about how our success comes from focusing on Christ and doing the things that are important to Him, and I told Nate what my “key indicators” for success are. Then I decided I would record these thoughts here and stick them on the sidebar so that I can remember the next time I need to trade feelings of frustration and discouragement for affirmation and peace.

Here’s what I wrote to him: That’s the whole point of everything. If we keep bringing our focus back to Christ, then everything will work out. We will be triumphant through Him. Our success will be in Him. You will be a successful missionary; I will be a successful wife and mother. All the measures will be in the right place. It’s not so important how many people we baptize but that we do what Christ has planned for us to do today. If we do His will and follow His plan, we’re going to be a part of accomplishing the miracles that He has planned for us to have part in accomplishing. If we do what we want and not His will, we’re going to spin our wheels and get frustrated. Sometimes I forget and act as if my key indicators are a clean house and no piles on the dining room table and dinner ready on time. But they are not. My key indicators are if I’m doing my best to cheerfully help our family to read the scriptures, pray, love and serve one another, attend church and the temple, eat together, laugh together, say sorry and forgive one another, and share one another’s burdens, Does my husband feel my love today? Do my children? Did they feel the Spirit with me? If they did, THAT is my key indicator. If I am doing those things, then they have their agency to decide if they will serve a mission, marry in the temple, and keep their covenants all their lives. But if I am keeping my covenants and loving and serving them, that is what matters for me. 

The reason, for me, that these are my key indicators are that they are the things that matter most to me, and I know these are what matter to Christ. These habits are the things that help us figure out how to solve  problems, how to have happiness in the face of our challenges, how to enjoy each other and grow stronger together while we have the change together, now, today. Our family is rapidly growing and before long, all the children will have flown the nest. I will be in the next wonderful stage of all young adult children and married children and grandchildren, with all the joys and trials that will come then. So now I want to nurture the most important habits that will help my children develop a strong relationship with me, with the others in our immediate family, and with God. And then those relationships will be able to flourish better with others, if they choose to let them.

This checklist is the best one of all for feeling peace, because I know I can do them. I may not do so many other things, because I literally have hundreds of possibilities every day for nurturing myself and my family. And I can never get to most of them! So I have to come back to the barebone essentials, and these are my key indicators for success.

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