"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
May 6, 2013
Motherhood is. . .
by Melissa Howell

Motherhood 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.

But what I couldn’t have known then, yet have subsequently learned, is that motherhood is a choice I continue to make every day.

My 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!

Elder 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.”

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.

I 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 would.

I 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.

And 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.

And, don’t forget to choose the joy. Always, strive to choose the joy.

Have a beautiful Mother’s Day.


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About Melissa Howell

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 organizations.

Melissa serves as Assistant director of media relations for stake public affairs and Webelos den leader

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