is a choice I once made, while driving with my husband on a road trip
across a sun-kissed early summer Midwestern cornfield that spread out
before me, as vast as my future. I was ready to have a baby, I
announced to him.
what I couldn’t have known then, yet have subsequently learned,
is that motherhood is a choice I continue to make every day.
decision to become a mother was only the launching point for
countless other decisions, almost like a daily, real-life
choose-my-own-adventure. And what an adventure it is, this bringing a
life into the world and guiding it in the direction it should go!
M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, ‘There
is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is
unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and
abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different
and unique for each mother and each family.”
choose to accept the knowledge that the tiny, innocent babies that
stormed into my life and stole my heart, time, sleep, body —
anything, really, that possibly can be sacrificed — will one
day grow into adults. I choose how I am going to prepare them to be
successful adults that contribute to their worlds in positive ways.
choose to make the absolute most out of the relatively short period
of time that my children will be young and they will be mine. I
choose to endow them with experiences, memories and lessons that they
will take with them on their journeys, and from which they then can
pluck from the life smorgasbord I have prepared for them a treasure
to help them attain all that is possible. Or simply, to select a
“remember when we…” to make them smile. Or to
remember how much they are loved.
choose how much of my time to give. I have sacrificed money and
career to spend precious moments living fully immersed in this season
of young motherhood, a season that will lend itself to other seasons,
and, unlike the spring that always casts aside the darkness of
winter, will not return.
choose how to respond to situations. Sometimes — oh blasted
truth, more than I care to admit — I choose incorrectly. Yet I
make a cognizant effort to choose as best I can to handle my
responses to the funny, infuriating, overwhelming and at times
indescribable situations I am presented with, just as the Savior
choose to remember that I chose this. And in so doing, I choose the
dirty diapers, the monotony of preparing three square meals a day,
the piles of laundry that taunt me with their refusal to shrink but
instead rapidly multiply, the homework, the activities, the
heartbreak, the laughter, the tears, and the joy. Always, I strive to
choose the joy.
so to all mothers out there, I say keep choosing motherhood! To those
who brought children into this world, those who are privileged to
raise a child brought into the world by another woman who chose to
make a selfless choice, those who use their love, wisdom and maternal
influence to better the young people they come into contact with…
keep choosing motherhood. Because we continue to face choices
regularly that can affect the outcome of those little lives entrusted
to our care.
don’t forget to choose the joy. Always, strive to choose the
Melissa Howell was born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota. She has a degree in
journalism from the University of Minnesota.
As a single 20-something, she moved to Colorado seeking an adventure. She found one, first in
landing her dream job and then in landing her dream husband; four children followed.
Upon becoming a mother, she left her career in healthcare communications to be a stay-at-home
mom, and now every day is an adventure with her husband Brian and children Connor (9), Isabel
(6), Lucas (5) and Mason (2).
In addition, she is a freelance writer and communications consultant for a variety of
Melissa serves as Assistant director of media relations for stake public affairs and Webelos den leader