Saturday, January 29, 2011

Motherhood - Chapter 3 - Buckets

Becoming a mother to many children, I expected to be busy. I expected to have schedules to coordinate and chores to do, lessons to help with and diapers to change. But the more children I have had and the older they have grown I am finding new challenges far more taxing than the "chores" of motherhood. it is these unexpected burdens that make me wonder how women with 9 or 10 children or more do it.

I have always said that everyone has their own bucket in life. This bucket holds all your trials and troubles. I have even said that I wouldn't necessarily want to trade buckets with very many people. I prefer to keep my own, even with the doozy of losing Camille in it. It still seems lighter to me than so many other possible buckets I see other people carrying.

Maybe I would trade individual trials in my bucket for individual trials in another bucket, but that is not the way buckets are weighed. Not that we can trade buckets or trial anyway. But each person's bucket must be taken as a whole. And if one person's bucket seems empty to you, you probably just can't see the big thing in their bucket because they keep it secret. Or if you feel you bucket seems empty ... just wait. No one gets through life with an empty bucket.

What I hadn't really connected before having many children who are growing up right and left is how each child has a bucket and how that affects their mother. I guess, until just recently I hadn't realized that each mother carries a bucket within her bucket for each of her children. And in each child's bucket is all the problems and worries and trials that child has to go through in life that the mother knows about or worries about.

Sometimes the mother's bucket for a child may be more burdensome than the child's own bucket is for him or herself. Because sometimes we as mothers can see dangers our children can't and thus we worry more and their bucket is heavier on us than it is on them. Sometimes, when we can't do anything to help our child and he or she is severely hurting, it is the heaviest kind of burden of all.

Multiply that by the number of children you have ... well I guess I have just been thinking I hope that God makes sure my children's trials are spread out so I can bear the burdens of their buckets plus my own through all the rest of the days of my life.

On the flip side, these buckets also contain all the joys and happiness in ones life. So the mother of many may have more joy and happiness at certain times than others if all her children are well and happy. Her joy is multiplied by the joy of her children.

I imagine having all your family together in the temple for a wedding would be one of those most outpourings of joy most keenly felt by a mother (and I guess father too). I remember my brother Darren's wedding felt exceptionally joy filled.

Darren was the last of my siblings to get married. The other 4 of us got married within 16 months of each other in the years 1999 and 2000. Darren had about 7 years as the only single sibling in our family and got married in Oct. of 2007 at the age of 30. We were thrilled that Darren was getting married. It was kind of like getting a brother back since he had been living such a different life as a single adult than we were all living for those years in between.

He married my wonderful sister in law Nikki. She is one of 11 children and was the last of her siblings to be married as well. She was 29 I think when they married. All of us in our family fell in love with her and were so excited to have her join our family. Plus we knew she would be great for Darren too. :)

In the temple at their wedding, all of her siblings and their spouses were present and all of my siblings and our spouses were present. My parents were there and Nikki's dad was there. Her mother, who passed away years before, brought with her the hosts of heaven to attend. I have been to many weddings, but none felt quite as whole and full as this one did. I can only imagine how it must have felt for my mother and even more so for Nikki's mother, with her heavenly perspective.

So I guess when the buckets feel heavy we must cling to the memories of the joys and the hopes of joys to come. And remember and rely on He who carries all our buckets with us. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.


Karen UK said...

The worst thing is that you can't tip your child's bucket contents into your own and give them theirs back empty. You can help them carry it but it'll still knock against their legs but this is how they become stronger too.

Sue said...

This is so true, Stephanie. And so is what Karen said. You'd love to tip the heavy buckets of grown children into yours sometimes and return them with all the trials and troubles missing. In the end, of course, that would not be doing them a favor.

What a wonderful wedding day that must have been for both families. I have a 30-year-old son who is still looking for his sweetheart, and I know that the day he is married will be one of the happiest of my life. Another would be if my daughter struggling with infertility were to bear a child.


Karm said...

"His yoke is easy and His burden is light"...That is what I have to keep reminding myself of when I feel terribly weighed down by my trials and glad I don't ever have to go it alone and that He knows me, loves me and understands me perfectly that my bucket was first born by him! Thanks for always being such a wonderful inspiration and a light! Can't count the days that something you have said has lightened my load !

Anonymous said...

your so right stephanie. i so wished at times i could empty my childrens buckets.. take their burdens away and make everything better. your such an inspiration to me and the gifts your post brings has been such a blessing to me. thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Stephanie!

All American Family said...

This may be one of my favorite posts you've written. It is so true. Thanks you for sharing these thoughts.

elizabeth said...


RhondaLue said...

Totally sums up what I'm feeling about motherhood! You explain it so well!

So well that I'm posting a link to this post in my blog, if you don't mind. If you do tell me and I'll take it down! :)

Cassi said...


I loved this. I completely agree and had never thought of the idea that we also carry our children's buckets. It made me think of my mom and her grief in losing a grandchild and then trying to lighten my load. Motherhood is so complex and difficult yet the joy is amazing as well. Loved your thoughts. thanks for sharing.