“You changed my life in a wonderful way. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother.”
My Momma was the baby of eight children and was born when my Grandfather, Dr. Louis L Madsen was President of what is now Utah State University. It was a very busy time for him as well as my Grandmother, Edith. She was not only raising 8 children but had responsibilities as the President’s Wife and plenty of people around her who wanted to dictate how she should fulfill those roles. My Grandmother had been warned time and time again not to have more children because her body was physically not doing well, and yet all she ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. She chose to have My Momma, knowing full well it was a sacrifice in so many ways. Edith and Louis were mocked and ridiculed for choosing to bring so many children into this world, but they did it anyway and now countless lives have been blessed because of their choice, mine included.
My Momma embraced her roles as wife and mother and gave my brother and I the most wonderful childhood. We had adventures, story time, lots of homemade bread and butter, her constant presence, as well as treasured presents on every special occasion. She always remembered to attend to and celebrate the smallest, yet important details of our lives. As a teenager, I interpreted all of this attention and affection as a means of control and unfortunately pushed back in so many ways, but she didn’t give up on loving me and for that I am thankful. We have a wonderful relationship now, and I am ever so grateful for her love, support, friendship, mothering, and mentoring. I am eternally blessed that she chose to find joy in being my mother.
Motherhood has been a joy and a battle for me. I was sick all 9 months while being pregnant with all three of my dear children. After giving birth I suffered extensively with postpartum depression, anxiety, and an inability to feel truly bonded to them. Jake was born six weeks after Jerry and I graduated with our Bachelor’s degrees from Utah State University. Clarissa was born a few years later as Jerry wrapped up his Master’s degree. Jon was born at the end of Jerry’s PhD program and two weeks before we moved to California so Jerry could begin his role as professor at Sac State. I have loved being a wife and mother, and yet have always felt the pull to help provide for our family financially which creates a hard balance and a space for comparison to all the perfect Pinterest mothers.
It wasn’t until just a year ago when I suffered a head injury and then a massive mental breakdown that I finally learned to love the roles I had been so blessed to have. My head injury forced me to do nothing but rest and in that time I was able to reflect on what was most important to me, where I felt valued, and what God wanted for me to accomplish in my remaining time on this Good Earth. A few weeks later we were required to make an emergency move due to flooding and mold overgrowth in the home we were living in. Less than a week after we moved in, I found myself unable to get out of bed, unable to eat, incessantly crying, and unable to sleep because my anxiety was so intense. This last year has been a journey of healing in so many areas of my life. I have learned to slow down, love myself and others more deeply, be still and listen, and especially let go of so many expectations I had placed on myself. In this time, I have chosen to embrace my roles of wife and mother. I have chosen to find and create joy in the walls we call home. I have chosen to allow God to heal me in every area of my life and in so doing have been surprised to find myself saying, “all I want is to be a wife and mother.” Do I still fill my life with many other things? Yes, I admit I do, but my focus is now on my family and on loving the roles I have been blessed with rather than searching for joy and fulfillment outside of my home.
I pray that if you are a wife and mother, you don’t have to go through what I have gone through to truly love those roles. If you aren’t a wife or a mother, I pray you will find joy in your life in spite of not having those roles. Regardless of the roles you have or do not have in this life, I pray you will know that you are a beloved daughter of God and that you are priceless and precious in His eyes.