Marjorie Hinckley's Advice for Mothers Who Feel Pressured to Be Perfect

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Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the wife of Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, was an amazing woman. Her wit and her kind spirit touched the lives of many throughout her life and her words continue to inspire members everywhere.

As a mother, Marjorie Hinckley experienced many of the same trials and concerns women everywhere experience as their children grow up. And her advice for raising children still rings true as children and parents face challenges unique to our day. 

Here's some advice she offered to young mothers during a Mother's Day sacrament meeting:

As I watched some of the young mothers come into this meeting with young children, restless from meetings that have preceded this one, I think I felt something of your frustration and challenge to be the perfect mother. Relax. There is no such thing as the perfect mother who fits all the eulogies. We just do the best we can with the help of the Lord, and who knows, these children who are struggling to be free may someday rise up and call us blessed.

The trick is to enjoy it. Don't wish away your days of caring for young children. This is your great day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the physical work and trivia that we forget the big picture. We forget whose children they really are. When the house is filled with children, noise and teasing and laughter, you get the feeling this is forever. Before you know it they will be gone. When our second son went away to school at the age of 17, I said, “But Clark, I am not through with you. I feel there is so much I will need to teach you.”

“Too late, Mother, too late.”

Our children grow so quickly out of our reach.

The rewards of mothering are not immediate. There are times when you are less than appreciated. I took from the oven one day what I thought was a beautiful casserole, only to have my 6-year-old son say, “Mom, how come you baked the garbage?”

Then there is the unexpected hug, when you least deserve it. And while you are enjoying these days of mothering, be sure your demands on your children for perfection are not so heavy that they cannot be children.

Don't be like the mother I know who said to her 10-year-old daughter, who was the oldest of five children and from whom the mother needed a little help and cooperation, “Sometimes you act just like a child.”

“But Mother, I am,” she wisely replied.

A busy parent writes: “One morning I was hurrying my 3-year-old's dressing procedure because I had only minutes to spare. In the middle of the commotion and worry, my little girl cleverly enjoyed a little joke of her own about something unrelated to the job at hand. I ignored her fun and indicated my disapproval. . . . Her sweet, thought-provoking response: ‘Mommy, don't we even have time to laugh?’ “

We all feel the pressures and stress of the sophisticated, fast-paced, complicated, competitive world in which we find ourselves. Not only do we feel it as adults, but the children feel it too. Because of TV, the press, and videos, our children are exposed to adult life very, very early. This makes it doubly important that mothers and fathers consciously strive to make it possible for children to be children before they become adults.

Lead image from Getty Images

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In Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, dozens of family members and friends share experiences and feelings that demonstrate the character of a quietly remarkable woman. These vignettes combine with the words of Sister Hinckley herself, gleaned from talks, letters, and conversations, to create a portrait that is engaging and inspiring.

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