As mothers, our work is not washing diapers and mending holes in jeans—that is what we spend much of our time doing, but it is not our work. Our work is rearing children; but it is much more than that, for we rear our children to fulfill their potential. We might have dreams of their success on earth, but we are being shortsighted. For them to be successful, they must inherit the celestial kingdom. The little people with whom we share our homes are more than gifts from God. They are gods in embryo themselves. Our work is to help them realize that awe-inspiring fact and then to live so that they will not fall short of their divine potential.
Clothes may have to be mended and dishes washed, gardens tended, floors swept, and beds made, but all these things are gifts of God to us. They are tools that we may use to develop our own divinity and help our children develop theirs. We don’t become righteous in spite of dishes, diapers, and dirty floors, but through them. We sweep floors, weed gardens, tend babies, and learn and grow—our spirits along with our bodies. No one grows in a vacuum. One does not just sit in a white room and think great thoughts and thus become divine. The earth and everything on it are designed to function as a great schoolroom; the things we need to develop our celestiality are here. Divinity is developed in us as we use the tools of the earth to create our own celestial environments—houses of God. Thus clean floors, made beds, and neat cupboards are part of this celestial environment, and we must teach our children this, starting with making their own bed at age three or picking up a toy at age two.
Our celestial environments are more than orderly and clean; they are also places of learning. This might imply family scripture study and places of faith, prayer, and fasting. Here we see how family prayer, teaching our children to pray, family home evenings, and attending church together help to create a celestial environment. Then—if we also make our home a house of glory where love abounds and our every action and word are a form of worship—then we have left behind the trappings of a telestial world, and our little outposts can take their places among the stars.
Motherhood is joyful. It is exciting, challenging, and fun; it demands all our best efforts. Motherhood is creation of children and of the homes to nurture them in. Motherhood is partnership with husbands and the Lord. May we all catch a glimmer of the splendor we can create in our own outposts of the kingdom of God. (Petrea Kelly, The Joys of Motherhood)
Tractors, rakes, swathers, pivots, wells of water, loaders, balers – all of these are tools my husband and his brothers use in making their living as farmers. If they aren’t taken care of, if they aren’t fixed when they are broken, or fueled up and greased before being used they become worthless. Then my husband’s job to provide for his family becomes infinitely harder.
A broom, iron, dishwasher, vacuum, sewing machine, stove and oven, wash cloths – these are the tools of my trade as a mother. They are necessary for the upkeep of my home and for the well-being of my family.
Sometimes, I admit, it gets hard to mop a floor knowing it will just be sticky an hour later. Folding the never-ending pile of laundry – wait, did I say folding? It needs to be washed first! We are behind on that. Making more towels dirty cleaning up the house just doesn’t sound right does it? It is a never ending cycle.
You know what else is never ending? The sun always rises in the morning and sets in the evening but the sunrise and sunset never look the same. The seasons too cycle round and round but even in their constancy there is change. God, who is a God of order, is also a God of beauty. And there is beauty in the every-day, never changing caring for my family.
I am so grateful to be a wife and a mother!