My younger child is approaching a Potty Training Boot Camp in next few days. My older child is playing on the playground at the elementary school behind my house, starting his second week of kindergarten. Tomorrow I am meeting with a professor in the Women and Gender Studies department at ASU, to see about which class to take this semester. I came home yesterday from a Phoenix Youth at Risk training weekend, where we worked on our curriculum for the coming year and how we want to grow our leadership team. Whew!
During the training this weekend we wrote individual scripts for how to do a project, or how to do the forgiveness process, or how to apply a distinction we learn at camp. I was struck by my choice of projects over the last year, especially their progression to the present. I have had a banishing ceremony, I have healed the pain of abuse in my relationships with both parents through the forgiveness process, and I have truly let go of the past to where some pain I have always known has slipped away. Now I am working on personal health by committing to the GAPS diet, barefoot running, yoga and mindfulness.
The progression of my projects over the last year is perfect the way it is. It had to come before where I am now. But there’s no hiding it now: I have done the personal work and it’s time for more. I want to go back to school and have my own fully developed career path. This step scares me to death and energizes me like nothing else!
Last year I finally said the words “my career” in my head. The next obvious questions were: okay, now what do I really want to do? what do I love? what could I be happy doing every day, for me? Jessawhy wrote a post several days ago about returning to school on one of many different different career paths. I have been thinking seriously about going back to school for about 6 months now. The fall kept looming, and I kept making empty promises to myself about how I should take a class this semester. I’m chicken. I know that I need to make a project around my career, but I have been too scared.
During my undergrad at BYU I was all over the map. I started out as a civil engineer, then moving from microbiology to psychology to dance to modern dance. I ended up with a degree in Modern Dance and a minor in Psychology. I met my husband towards the end of my BYU time, abandoning my planned master’s program in Modern Dance in New York or ASU or somewhere outside of Utah, in order to support him as he took the LSAT and went to law school. I wasn’t coerced, and he wasn’t demanding. I chose to give that up. I was just following the script I knew: if I find a husband I can stop school and become a wife and a mother, if I don’t find a husband then I will keep going to school.
When I say that I want a fully-realized career path what I mean is that my career path is completely valid now. I get to have a career because I want it. And that’s all. I don’t get to have a career in spite of my kids or in spite of my husband’s career. That sets my career up to be against my family members. My career is about what I love to do, and my family is who I love. How could they be at odds? My career is all mine, because it is my responsibility. But it is also for my family.
I used to put qualifiers onto any job I would have in my hypothetical future. I would find a job that I could do part time during school hours, that I could get the summer off for my kids, that I would work it into the existing structure of my husband’s career and my children’s needs. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much power I was giving away to the way I thought it had to be.
This semester when I go to class, when I study, when I do my homework: it will be for me. I can support my family better by being a full person myself. Then I am a better mother and wife because I am complete. I can contribute to our financial stability. I can contribute by honoring my needs and being emotionally fulfilled. I can be an example of an empowered, educated woman to my children. Being authentic can never be wrong or bad. It can only be about the truth and what must be. I’m happy that I have found that in my life.
I’m happy that you have found the truth for yourself too K, and that you are able to share yourself with others because of it. I think there really is value in cultivating our best in order to give that best part of ourselves, not only to those most important in our lives, but to the flow of the world that we are a part of. I know you will be able to offer so much in whatever path you end up choosing as your own regarding a career.
I also like what you say about the moments of your life this past year needing to come before where you are now. I recently had a similar thought, that without what has happened to me the last few years, I wouldn’t be able to let go of certain things now that I am wanting to shed in my life. It was very interesting to me to realize that I couldn’t have done these things before and to feel an intention to it all that I hadn’t seen before.
Thank you so much 🙂 I’m reminded of the Tao after reading your comment again. It will just be the way it should as long as I’m being authentic.
I also love the idea that we are not ever wrong to be where we are. I spent a lot of years thinking that I wished I could be older, or that I could have it all figured out, or that I would know all the answers before anyone else. I tend to place value in how quickly I can figure something out based on arbitrary rules that I make for myself. So when I say that it’s amazing to finally feel like I am perfect the way I am (and where I am), I really mean it! I have never felt like this before, and it’s so freeing.
Reading this has made me face the fact, yet again, that I still don’t believe in my own career. Reading the words, “my career,” really shocked me. I didn’t realize that I _still_ don’t truly believe that it will happen. I limit myself in the ways you describe even though I am not married, do not have children, and do not have immediate plans for either of those. I allow fear of failure in a career, or even success in a career (and then having to let it go) to stop me from even trying. Feeling pretty down about it today, actually. Also, even the potential for a marriage and family when I’m dating someone tends to make me lose my focus on career and start losing myself in his life or “our (potential) life.” Thanks for sharing your excitement and inspiration, kmillecam. I hope some of it will rub off on me.
Zenaida, I feel your pain. Don’t be too hard on yourself though, it’s just something you need to practice. You can take the responsibility for what you’re doing at the same time you put the blame where it should be: on the framework you are using that just doesn’t work. You don’t have to follow it! Make some new rules and give yourself permission to be whatever you want to be. (I love and support you no matter what.)
<3 <3 <3
Your comment resonates a great deal with me. I think many people would be surprised to hear that single, childless women sometimes – either consciously or unconsciously – hold themselves back in a career because of pressures (either from within themselves or others) to abandon it, anyway, after marriage and children come along. So, why bother, if in the end, we are counseled to only pursue a career if we HAVE to for financial reasons, rather than for the sheer joy of work or a pursuit of a passion?
I’ve often thought that it’s “vulgar” of me to want career success, that in some way, it’s unseemly. How dare I have an amazing career with husband and children? I am not allowed to have it all. Then, and just stick with me here for a minute, I think of Bethenny Frankl of Real Housewives of New York City. Grrrrrl got pregant at 39, married a guy she liked, and just sold her business for 120 million dollars. I’m pretty sure she feels stretched, and I’m pretty sure she has mommy-guilt. But, is she holding herself back? No way in hell. And why not? A man wouldn’t, and nor should he, and we shouldn’t either.
I loved your comment here. It’s so interesting to notice the rules that we unconsciously follow. And then is the fun part: realizing I can change them.
I love this! I’m in a similar position, just a few steps behind where you are at the moment. It’s tricky to make it work. I’m antsy to get started, but unfortunately, my husband is starting year 6 of working on his PhD and we expect to be relocating in a year, and then again within 2-3 after that. Meanwhile I try to prepare myself by keeping my brain from turning to mush. Good luck with your schooling!
Oh thank you for the solidarity. We’re in it together sister!
I’ve been thinking about this OP all day.
I’ve been wondering if people like you and I, who come from more chaotic backgrounds have more difficulty figuring out what to study in college, or if people who come from intact homes have just as much difficulty, but, are better able to hide the problem
I definitely think that it can contribute. My siblings seem to feel similarly about both our chaotic background and being able to decide what to do with our lives. That’s an interesting question.
You have wonderful energy and empathy that comes from learning to respond so positively to the challenges and blessings in your life. I wish you continued energy and joy as you work your way along the path to your career.
Thank you so much Kay 🙂 That means a lot to me to hear that from you. I’m always glad to hear that I have good energy. I work on that!
I am happy you have found this for yourself… I strongly believe that one of the best examples people set for their children is to be happy. I am not sure many women can really say they are happy outside of a career—that doesn’t mean we are necessarily unhappy, we love, we enjoy, we strive… but just plain ol’ feeling happy for happy’s sake I don’t think is very common. Good for you!! Don’t lose focus!!
It is interesting, because I have been somewhat mixed in with this thought for the last week or so. Once again, (I assume) because we are childless, someone suggested we become foster parents. The suggestion is always made to me to become a foster parent, not my husband, and the implications are that my life must be unfulfilled because I don’t have a child. While I would love to be a parent, I don’t feel a desire to … er… stop and start my career to raise a series of other people’s children. I would do it for nieces and nephews or our God children in a second, because then I would be foster parenting out of love for friends and the children to whom I am connected in heart… but I do NOT feel obligated to make my life about fostering just for the sake of having a parental experience and lifestyle.
I am amazed at people who do this- because raising needy children becomes their career and they have passion and fulfilment that I do not have or desire. This is not the career I desire. So then, I feel guilt… it is only then that I feel secondary to women with children, when they suggest that I am lesser because I don’t even have “real” parental experience (although we have had a number of children live with us from time to time). I want to be a mother, but that doesn’t really equate for me in being a foster mother… so then I start negotiating with myself, “well, it might only be for 10 years that I will raise someone else’s child or children, then I can go back to what I love doing…” Because the implications are that if I am happy as a childless career woman, then there must be something wrong with me. It is a deeply disturbing and emotional negotiation, one which only leaves me feeling like a lesser soul because I love my job.
Sorry to get off track, but my point is that we often feel guilty for being happy. But isn’t it better for us to be happy if only for the sake of being happy? I see your excitement and exhilaration as only a good thing, for which I am happy for you and your children. I love it when women set a positive example of happy living 🙂
Spunky, I love having your perspective here. It must be pretty frustrating to have people always lob the foster parent thing at you. I am really tired of that women-can’t-be-complete-or-sane-without-children line.
I’m glad you’re happy, no matter what that looks like!
Why don’t you go ahead and let someone else raise your kid in daycare like all of the other bad mothers do on here. I’m sure they can potty train them for you. None of the women on here can say, “I am my kid’s mom.” They are mothers, but not moms.
Oh, Bedrock, I hope you’re joking…
Bedrock, I think you aren’t kidding, so I will say this: I know you think that this will shame me into some kind of confession that I know my decision is actually wrong. But I think you might be disappointed to find that I know where I stand so firmly right now, that your comment really just makes me sad. I’m sad that that is all that you can see here…
In this cruel unforgiving world, our children need moms more than at any time in the world. It saddens my heart when I hear of all these women gaining a career to satisfying some need they have, essentially putting their own happiness against the happiness of their children. Sadly the children of today cannot say, “We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”
What about dads? Why is it so tragic that I will be going to lecture once a week for an hour and a half, but my husband is gone all day? Especially when you meet my two-year-old and see how happy he is to play with other kids. I stand by my comment that I am sad that this is all you can see.
What about dads? Are you being serious? Perhaps you’re not a member of the Church? See this lesson: http://lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-37-family-responsibilities?lang=eng
“By divine design, fathers are to ….. provide the necessities of life and protection for their families”
“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). A mother needs to spend time with her children and teach them the gospel. She should play and work with them…”
It doesn’t say a woman needs to abandon her family so she can provide for the luxuries in life she wants.
Bedrock, we have to agree to disagree on this one I guess. I am well aware of what the manual says, and I can only reply with a yawn. I won’t be swayed from my own undeniable knowledge of what I know to be true just because you say so, or one or two quotes says so. Please. I’m a grown woman.
I will pray for your family.
I didn’t know there was a dichotomy between a parent’s happiness and a child’s. My mom and dad somehow raised 7 kids who all graduated college, stayed in church and remained incredibly close, despite the fact that my mom found time in her life to get accredited and teach adults English as a Second Language classes. She also did it without daycare, thanks. Please, continue speaking your Dr. Laura platitudes so that I can disprove them with my mom’s experience.
You didn’t disprove anything. Your personal experience is not proof for the other million children that end up falling away from the Church because their mothers were not moms.
That is a hilarious statisic, Bedrock! You MUST cite the resource! A million children fall away from the church because of their mothers? Um… ever read “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression”?
I haven’t laughed that hard in ages! Thanks for the giggle!!
Of course, Bedrock.
This is why the Book of Mormon makes clear that Laman and Lemuel only fell away after Sariah started working part-time selling figs at the local bazaar.
Please. My experience demonstrates that it is in fact NOT impossible for a woman to take a 168 hours in a week and find the time to not only be a fantastic mother, but also read from a book, write on a piece of paper, and demonstrate applied knowledge on a test. Are you really trying to reduce the principle of agency to an asterisk? That wayward children aren’t exercising their agency, but rather are doomed to apostasy because a woman developed an identity? Perfect mom’s have children go apostate, and conversely children remain in the church despite inactive parents or non-supportive parents. Let’s not forget that widows and widowers can also raise a child to know the difference between right and wrong. There are too many exceptions for your rule, because your rule is counter-doctrinal.
And I just snorted water in the midst of laughter. Thanks a lot, Kaimi…
Ok seriously Kaimi, I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. LOL!
How do you know Sariah didn’t? It’s never mentioned. Would the 2000 stripling warriors been as righteous and valiant had their mothers ignored them and went back to work? Probably not and who knows how that battle would of turned out instead.
I just love it when people apply contemporary understandings of “work” and parenting to ancient historical times. Because, you know, the mothers of the ancient Americas were just like those of today! They had their babies and stayed home and did the laundry and cooked and cleaned and never contributed to providing for their family by doing crazy things like harvesting crops or grinding flour or hauling firewood or. . .
I’m pretty sure the construct “went back to work” is completely inapplicable to the society of Book of Mormon times and that were these women to encounter this notion that women should not “go back to work” or “work outside the home” they would have fallen over laughing at the notion that they should not work.
I use to be a Nanny for well over 10 years, I can tell you with all the veracity that one can muster, all the kids know who their mothers are and B) it didn’t make me love my kids any less.
And to be clear, I wasn’t just any unskilled nanny, I was actually Board Certified. But, don’t any one call me Mary Popins
K writes that she is going back to school. Bedrock bizarrely labels her “a mother, not a mom” for this decision.
In contrast, Gordon B. Hinckley says:
Relief Society stands for education. It is the obligation of every woman of this Church to get all the education she can. It will enlarge her life and increase her opportunities. It will provide her with marketable skills in case she needs them.
(See http://lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/in-the-arms-of-his-love?lang=eng ).
Oh, now Kaimi, that there is some crazy talk. We all know women are nothing but moms (not mothers–mother is an insulting term meant to indicate a woman who is nothing but a baby incubator [never mind all those conference talks that use the word “mother” in such a positive light]) and should not, no matter what, do anything that might take them away from their kids for longer than 5 minutes…
Listen carefully to what he is saying. He is saying “woman” not “mom”. Essentially he is encouraging women before they are married or have children to gain an education. The focus of the mother should always be her children and not herself.
I didn’t realize that “listen carefully” meant “rewrite in order to support your own personal interpretation.”
President Hinckley did not qualify the word “woman” except with the word “every.” And the category “women” includes any human of the female sex (especially when it has been qualified with the word “every”), regardless of their marital status or whether they are mothers. I would draw you a venn diagram if I could, but I’ll just have to trust that you can read well enough to understand basic logic.
Err, Bedrock. Try reading the talk. President Hinckley makes very clear who he’s talking to, a few paragraphs earlier:
“Today membership in the Relief Society is somewhere around five million. It is organized in many nations and teaches in many tongues. It enfolds within its ranks all women of the Church 18 years of age and older. Among these are single young women; women who have never married; those who are widowed or divorced; those with husbands and families; those old in years, many of whom have lost their eternal companions.”
In this talk, during the general Relief Society meeting, President Hinckley is most definitely NOT relying on a definition of woman which doesn’t include moms. In fact, he explicitly says that he is talking about the women of the Relief Society, and he explicitly and very directly states that this group includes moms.
You know bedrock, outside of American English, the term “mum” is the slang equivalent for the slang term “mom”… should we all endeavour to be the American -English slang status of the female parent? Dang those American Mormons- reminding all us foreigners that we are inherently lesser!!
Thanks for this post. I’m glad that you’re going back to school and that you know what you want to be when you grow up 😉
I’m sure you’ll be able to navigate for yourself the kind of mother and wife as well as student and therapist you will be. Like Kay, I’m confident in your ability to assess your situation and find the energy, love, and balance to be all that you can be.
I wish you all the best with this great beginning.
Thank you so much Jessawhy! I feel like you though, not being able to decide. Even though I have it narrowed down I still can’t pick gnder studies, social work or psych. Sigh. Maybe taking stats is the best choice at this point, as it’s applicable to all!
May I suggest you pick whichever will allow you to see your children again the fastest?
Hmm, a decision between 3, 4 year degrees… Which will allow you to see your children the fastest? Bedrock I have trouble believing you’re even paying attention. Besides, where is it written that speed is the greatest measure of utility? Or that a specific number of hours per day is required for a “mother” to be considered a “mom” by your definitions?
Wouldn’t you do better to understand that “general” council of the general authorities is indeed “general” and that each of us need to rely upon the Spirit in our daily lives to make important decisions? Yes, being a stay at home mother is best for many mothers and children alike, but God knows each of us and by following His guidance we can do what is best for us regardless of what you or others think.
The sad thing here isn’t that women are getting educated and working, often leaving their children with friends, neighbors, or trusted care givers for a period of a few hours, but that people like you would judge them so for even thinking of it. Instead of praying for everyone’s families on this site that don’t see the world as simply as you do (not that I’m sure they don’t appreciate it), why don’t you pray for your own enlightenment and spiritual guidance so you can at least refrain from judgement?
Points 4, 6, and 7 seem most applicable, no?
K, as a full time mother who works part time in a career I love and feel spiritually called to, I know that it can be done. It takes a lot of work. But you can do it.
I love the lines to the Primary song, Dare to Do Right:
Dare to do right! Dare to be true!
You have a work that no other can do;
Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well,
Angels will hasten the story to tell.
Dare, dare, dare to do right;
Dare, dare, dare to be true,
Dare to be true, dare to be true.
What’s right and true for one is not so for someone else. 🙂
Satan’s biggest attack today is on the family and it’s his doctrine to dismiss your children and let them grow up mom-less. For this reason, she can not ever possibly know what she is doing is “true.” Your primary song does not apply. I would implore her to pray about her decision and listen for an answer and not be persuaded by the expectations of the world.
Bedrock, I would implore YOU to pray about what you are doing. It seems to me spreading contention and judgment is farther away from Christlike behavior than a woman who wants to follow prophetic council and spiritual guidance and get an education.
That’s fun that you’re talking about me like I’m not here, and also that you think I need imploring to pray for an answer that agrees with yours. It’s genuinely very concerning to me that you feel so convicted that you know what Satan’s plan is. You also seem to know more about me than ME.
You seem to be unable to hear what I am saying (not surprisingly, given the comments you are leaving). I already have my answer. I know where I stand.
I’m not afraid of Satan, or the manual, or your pseudo-concern. I’m simply puzzled by what you think you are doing here by imploring at me and quoting at me. I just don’t get it. You say so many extreme things like that I am dismissing my children or that I am going to let someone else raise my kids. I never said either of those things, and I don’t intend to let either of them happen. It’s strange indeed that you are reading my words and seeing what you want to see.
The problem is that you cannot accept my truth as a valid answer. You seem to think you have authority over me somehow. It is not my problem to fix my life with prayer to match your paradigm, it is your problem to deal with the fact that I’m genuinely okay with my decision and I don’t agree with you.
K you made me think of this:
with this comment. It’s sad that conviction about abstract universal “truths” can so easily rob people of compassion and an openness to discovery.
Indeed. Thank you for the quote, and what an apt connection to make with the above comment. So very true.
K – geesh, you aren’t listening … you need to PRAY and then it is certain that you will agree with Mr. Flinstone. If you claim you did pray, you obviously weren’t SINCERE enough in your efforts. I know this because any answer resulting in approval of a lifestyle different than what B-dog is teaching all of us (such a privilege) must be the result of of insincere prayer … pray HARDER next time! ; )
Lol! I’ll get right on that.
I feel this comment from ZDEve hits the important parts of this.
Amen! I just cannot fathom how people as apparently smart as our church leaders are (perhaps I give them more credit than they deserve) can simultaneously claim something like “gender is eternal” and then spend so very much energy teaching women how to be women. If our gender is eternal, we do not need to be taught how to be women. What we need is the space in which to apply actual gospel principles (instead of faux gospel principles like “good moms never work outside the home” or “bad mothers who work outside the home will lead their children to spiritual destruction”) to the particular circumstances of our own lives. Any prescription of how to “righteously” enact gender (whether female or male) is going to ultimately cause more harm than good as that discourse changes with time.
Of course, it’s no surprise that the church throws women under the bus in its efforts to put forward the best face possible as it tries to attract more members with something like the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. It’s sure as hell not the first time that the church leadership has just ignored the needs and concerns of women (even women to whom they were married and owed fidelity and respect and honesty) and/or exploited those needs and their authority in order to get what they think is “right.”
Please explain how the Church general leadership has ignored the needs and concerns of women and exercised unrighteous dominion. Have you ever listened to General Conference? Basically it’s when the men get their lickings and the women are super-praised.
Bedrock, it’s not Amelia’s job to explain the basics of feminism to you. Go read it yourself and figure out why so many women have the issues that we discuss here. Then you will be ready to converse on the subject, not before.
It’s easy to demand an explanation, and allows you to sit back and not be forced to engage in a genuinely personal way. We are all committed to these conversations ’round her, and we have done the work. We expect the same from you.
Of course I’ve listened to General Conference. I also know my church history. Like how Joseph Smith married multiple women without telling his wife he was doing so. Yeah. Pretty sure he wasn’t paying attention to Emma’s needs and concerns at that point in time. Instead he just went ahead and did what he thought was “right” and forced her to do mental gymnastics in order to defend him and his duplicity. And I’ve listened carefully enough to what our leadership has said to understand that they only way they can perceive of women as valuable is if they are “mothers.” Nevermind if they actually have had children. All that matters is that they have the right plumbing. Sorry but such rhetoric does not take into consideration the actual needs of all the women in the church.
do they pay lip service? Sure. But only insofar as women stay in line, doing nice soft things like playing with children and planning nice service projects. As soon as women dare to venture into spheres not their own, they’re told to go home and straighten up.
And now I’m going to go to sleep. But not before I give you, Bedrock, a little advice. This blog is a feminist Mormon forum. If you don’t like what you read, stop torturing yourself and the rest of us and go elsewhere.
Good call, Amelia. My battery is about to give out anyways, so I suppose I have to leave all the excitement and go to bed too.
I do agree with you though on Bedrock. You don’t have to be here, so just consider that please.
Ah Amelia, I am sorry your bitterness has skewed your view of the 2nd most important man that has lived on the Earth.
If I may quote David B. Haight, “A loving mother truly learns to live for others. She may give up something she wants or would like for the home because of the needs of another member of the family….and does it as though it was a privilege, she has said more to her children of her love for them than she ever could with words.”
From N. Eldon Tanner, “It is of great concern to all who understand this glorious concept that Satan and his cohorts are using scientific arguments and nefarious propaganda to lure women away from their primary responsibilities as wives, mothers, and homemakers. We hear so much about emancipation, independence….belittling the role of motherhood, all of which is Satan’s way of destroying woman, the home, and the family—the basic unit of society.”
From N. Eldon Tanner, “It is of great concern to all who understand this glorious concept that Satan and his cohorts are using scientific arguments and nefarious propaganda to lure women away from their primary responsibilities . . . ”
He’s using the word “woman” here, so clearly it doesn’t apply to K., right?
You just said Kmillecam isn’t a woman lol.
“You just said Kmillecam isn’t a woman lol.”
What perfect trollish behavior. Kaimi’s comment was clearly in response to your own comment excluding mothers from the realm of “women” in the Hinckley quote Kaimi gave earlier in the thread. Sheesh.
Also, as this is a mormon site and it is clear that the OP and many responders have mormon views, so clearly believe Joseph Smith and the church to be at least of value if not “true” in the sense we mean we have a testimony of their truth.
However this doesn’t mean JS or any person of authority in the church has been infallible. Suppose it was 100% true that JS needed to marry more women (and I’m not saying it isn’t), wouldn’t it have been better to have a long talk with Emma before ever actually doing it?
Wouldn’t it be better to trust women to follow gospel principles and spiritual guidance rather than mindlessly spout that they should remain at home at all costs? Shouldn’t we all be seeking the mind and will of God each and every day rather than putting men on pedestals-of-infallibility, and when we recognize when wrong was done, forgive them (or repent if we were wrong), and move on?
The contention here isn’t that general authorities intend women harm, but through misunderstanding, over-simplification, and other means have caused harm anyway. Even if the general authorities believe women can and should do whatever the Spirit dictates (would you argue against that?) there is still people like you who take their words and make hasty and ill-advised judgments from them.
It’s so interesting that we think that we must pit the happiness of the mother against the happiness of her children. Is it not probable or even possible that we might all be made happy by my decision to return to school?
And the quote itself is chilling, simply because I have felt that very thing in my life.
My mother never worked for pay again a day in her life after she had her first child.
I wish she had. A miserable mother with no sense of identity who stays home all day is hardly the ideal. Nor is a mother who sacrifices her life and happiness for her children and then inadvertently burdens them with enormous guilt and pressure to be perfect to make her sacrifice worthwhile.
You cannot take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. It’s not healthy for *children* if you live your life for them. Good for you for finding your own interests and convictions.
This is precisely what I was getting at. Thank you anonymous. Just, thank you.
Yep, that was my experience too.
Anyway, congrats K on your next steps and pls everybody, don’t feed the troll.
So much blog drama over your choice to take one class! I think that this conversation illustrates what is seriously wrong with supporting Church *culture* and its assumptions about women over the Gospel.
My mom never worked for pay, but she sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 20 years, which is roughly a 20-hour-a-week part-time job. Even though she was the SAHM mother of four, she showed that singing and sharing her gifts (as well as acquiring some amazing musical education and spiritual experiences) was an important part of her that fell outside of being a mother. It’s a calling you have to want and try out for, but as a set-apart missionary it was like she served a 20-year part time mission while raising her kids. She nurtured her own soul, talents, and education, and all of us as children benefited from it. And I think my dad benefited from being “Mr. Mom” during a time when it was less common for men to fix dinner one or more nights of the week and to get all the kids ready for church Sunday morning and attend without his wife. But when a woman spends some of her time filling her own bucket, she is much more able to fill those of her children, and teach them how to do it better on their own.
This is a great example from your life Alisa. It is endlessly fascinating to me how we tend to categorize things that are “okay” for mom’s to do without shirking their eternal role and which things aren’t. It’s okay for your mom to sing in the MoTab, but not okay for me to put my little E in day care for an hour and a half once a week while I take a single class. Is it also bad that I go to the gym and put my kids in the child care there? Is it okay if I do one hour, but not okay if I do two hours? How interesting and arbitrary all at once.
And I am always surprised (even though I should know better by now) at how such a small decision on my part to redefine what it means to be a woman and a mother can be ultimately so threatening to the existing patriarchal structure. I really didn’t expect such a reaction for ONE class and an (admittedly unapologetic) intent to return to school to pursue a career. It IS a lot of drama over something so small!
I guess Bedrock missed the part in Elder Cook’s last conference talk to be careful about judging women who choose to work, or consider them less valiant for their choice. How this is a personal decision between a husband, wife, and the Lord.
I’m pursuing a career in nursing after being home for over 15 years. I’ve been taking classes off and on as I was able to. My youngest is starting all day Kindergarten in a few weeks, so I will have a little more time for school. Last summer I was taking my required CNA class, so I could be admitted into the nursing program. One day I was taking the vitals of a woman who was recovering from surgery. She said to, “You really love what you are doing don’t you?” I replied, “oh.. very much.” She then said, “I can tell . I’m a retired nurse myself. You will be an amazing RN.” Right then the Spirit testified to me that I was doing exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. Before I took my certification test I got a blessing. I was told the Lord was pleased with my decision to further my education.
I’m so grateful for personal revelation. That God sees me as a whole person. What anyone else outside of Him or my family thinks of my choices is of no concern to me. They can take it up with God Himself.
God Bless you K!
God bless you too, Regina! What an inspirational story that is. It’s obvious to me that you love it too, and that you are on the right path. This makes me smile just to read this little snippet of your life. I’m happy for you 🙂
Congratulations, K! I also like Anonymous’s comment about wishing his/her mother *had* worked for pay after having kids. I think it’s a great decision you’re making, and I’m sorry you’ve gotten some flak for it here.
The flak is kind of funny, in a sad way. I am very happy to say that it hasn’t really put a damper on my enthusiasm for this new chapter at all, so that’s nice! Thank you for your words of support 🙂
I have to say I must agree with Bedrock, he/she seems to have a good head on their shoulders. I was a crossroads when I first had children too. I could’ve went the neglectful route and chose to work, instead I chose to love my children and be home with them. It wasn’t easy if I must say. We really had to tighten our financial belts, this included fewer trips to Hawaii (for example) and selling off some of our cars, which was really hard for me to do. However, I feel the Lord really blessed my family for this sacrifice, for which I will be forever grateful. And to be totally honest, I never considered spending time with my children to be a sacrifice, except financially. They are such sweet spirits and I loved spending time with them, after all they will never be little again.
Today, I feel our blessings have come forth tenfold. I have 4 wonderful return missionary boys, 1 valiant daughter on her way to BYU, and a husband that holds a high calling in the church. Do I contribute all of this to my decision to stay home? Absolutely not, after all there is free agency involved. Is it possible things would have turned out differently had I decided to work? Yes, and I shudder to think how things could have turned out differently had I not been there through some of their biggest dramas. I know every woman had to make her own decision, but I sincerely hope that decision puts the needs of her family first.
Really? You made the horrible sacrifice of “fewer trips to Hawaii” and “selling off some of [your] cars”? Plural in terms of both trips and cars? I seriously am flabbergasted at the incredible lack of awareness about what constitutes an actual financial sacrifice in this comment. Sacrificing even all of one’s trips to Hawaii (or just about anywhere else, for that matter) is not that much of a financial sacrifice since vacations are a luxury that people frequently do without. Having multiple cars is a luxury that many people do without.
I really have no problem with any woman’s decision to stay home or to work, so long as she’s making a decision together with her partner about how they will divide the labor necessary to provide and care for their family. What I do have a problem with is being so far removed from reality that giving up luxuries is held up as some sort of noble sacrifice in the name of truly loving one’s children and juxtaposed to the “neglectful” and selfish route of pursuing education and work outside the home. Which, of course, is a choice not to love one’s children. What I do have a problem with is the kind of insulting judgment implied in a comment that dismisses in a sweeping generalization a woman’s choice to work as “neglectful” and implies rather overtly that such a choice is a choice to not love her children. If you’d like to participate here, Jean, you need to learn how to discuss your own experiences without dismissing everyone else’s as sinful. And developing a modicum of awareness about the kinds of harsh realities others experience wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
Jean, you just make me feel tired all over when you talk like that. You are obviously a wealthy woman who enjoys privileges that you are unable to even fathom. So there’s that.
And then there’s the saccharine faux-concern for my unrighteous decisions, which at this point is so predictable that I just have to laugh.
Why are you still commenting here? Do you think I will change my mind? Do you think you are doing the Lord’s work by writing judgmental comments on every post you disagree with? Is this easier than doing typical missionary work, so you tell yourself that you are coming here to call us all to repentance for our own good (because it couldn’t be you living out an acceptable outlet for spite, since we are “sinning”)? Do you honestly think that your words will win anyone over?
You are being so callous and petty and mean, and all in the name of Christ and the gospel. It’s positively fascinating. And mind-boggling. You don’t seem happy here! If you are only here to stir up some blog drama (which I admit is fun), and feel the smug self-assurance of bossing us sinners around, then I guess you can knock yourself out. But please consider something new: whether it’s staying here and listening (truly listening to what we are saying), or if it’s to leave us be. It’s for your own sake, really.
I come here because I generally enjoy reading the articles, even if I don’t agree with all of them. There is a serious lack of LDS women blogs out there. I find most of the relief society lessons helpful for gaining ideas. In addition, I do have feminist views, just not as extreme as every else’s.
I am sorry I came across as petty and mean. I think everyone on here is a beautiful daughter of God and I enjoy contributing to the discussion.
Hey Jean. Noticed you patting yourself on the back, thought I’d join you. My parents also had 4 honorable return missionaries, and all 4 of my sisters graduated BYU, and my dad served in high callings as well. But my mom graduated from college, raised all 7 of us, and worked too. She made her own decisions, and she put the needs of her family first… yet still had a job. How did she do it? She’s a woman. She can do two things at once.
If I can add an observation here – a woman I know who went the “unselfish route” and stayed home with her kids has four pornography-addicted sons, a daughter with eating disorders, and an inactive husband. Another I know who decided to stay home has only one active LDS child out of four, and her husband left her for another woman. I wonder where they possibly went wrong that their unselfish decision didn’t yield the same results as Jean’s? Oh wait. It’s that whole agency thing, isn’t it? Where people choose their own lives regardless of what their mothers/wives may want for them?
And I’m really glad that Jean logged on to let me know that I don’t love my children! All these years of working so that they could have a roof over their heads must’ve blinded me to the fact of how I loathe them.
So we all know stay at home moms whose families are not perfect and working moms whose families are also not perfect (side note: Imo, “inactive” doesn’t mean “lesser” and shouldn’t be an indication of failure as it has been used in this thread … but I get why it was used that way given the point Emmaline was making). No anecdotal example is very persuasive to me on the issue of whether mothers (who, last I checked, are usually “women”) should or should not be going to work (the fact that this is even a topic of discussion in 2011 is a little sad … and yet here I am typing away haha)
I most enjoyed both Starfoxy’s quote of ZDEve and the last paragraph of Anonymous’ post which both highlight the devastating effects of taking a simple observation like “mothers are a blessing to their children” and then perverting it into an illogical and grossly misapplied “teaching” that women should not work and, if they do, they are somehow less valiant and are, in fact, selfish. This belief is so back-assward.
These two posts are dead on – if a woman is not happy (either because she is working when she deeply desires to be at home with her children or because she is a SAHM who deeply desires to further her education and/or develop a career) then how can she be a blessing to her children?
K, you are obviously doing what makes you happy. For that, you will be a better mother or mom or whatever the proper term is according to B-diggity – rock. And, not that it is vital, but I think G. Hinckley, whose talk is quoted above, would completely agree. I miss that man. Good on ya.
>>I could’ve went the neglectful route and chose to work
A lovely example of a false dilemma. Being a non-neglectful parent and being a parent who chooses to maintain a professional life are not absolute binaries. It seems that not working outside the home for you was a good choice for you, but it is also possible for a mother (or a father, for that matter) to work for pay, or even to pursue a career, and not neglect his or her family. It is possible to prioritize so that one’s family comes first, without having to scratch everything else off the list entirely.
>>We really had to tighten our financial belts, this included fewer trips to Hawaii (for example) and selling off some of our cars, which was really hard for me to do.
This is strikes me as a little telling. It’s a thin and privileged sliver of the population that has the luxury of skipping trips to Hawaii and cutting down from some multiple number of cars to some smaller number of cars, and calling that a sacrifice. For most of the women in the world and in history, the sacrifices would be much more fundamental (food, housing, shoes . . . ) than trips to Hawaii, if they insisted they could not work for pay.
I am sorry I came across that way. Sacrifices I have to make may not be the same sacrifices you have to make, but they are still hard sacrifices nonetheless and not of lesser importance.
Not all sacrifices are created equal. What you felt, Jean, is real and valid, but it doesn’t make your sacrifices equally important to others. You sacrifices are from a place of privilege, which many do not enjoy. Your sacrifices are for luxury items that are not essential to life. The sacrifice that a mother in poverty makes to feed her children is a matter of life and death. This mother’s sacrifice is literally more important than what you described.
It doesn’t invalidate your feelings. It gives them context.
The first paragraph is a great response to the typical, oversimplistic, black/white, and, quite frankly, lazy, sheep-like thinking that gives LDS members a bad name.
I was referring to Melygoch’s post, not Jean’s or K’s …
I come here because I generally enjoy reading the articles, even if I don’t agree with all of them. There is a serious lack of LDS women blogs out there. I find most of the relief society lessons helpful for gaining ideas. In addition, I do have feminist views, just not as extreme as every else’s.
I am sorry I came across as petty and mean. I think everyone on here is a beautiful daughter of God and I enjoy contributing to the discussion.
Whoops, I am sorry for the double post, I am still not familiar with this google browser my son set me up with.
I agree wholeheartedly with Arnold’s comment – he is so right. Also, I agree with Melygoch’s characterization of this issue as a “false dilemma.”
It is my belief in this false dilemma that has factored into my choice to stay single and pursue a career to the highest extent possible. I have not thought until recently that I could have both because so many women in my family have told me that I couldn’t – either through their example or conversations. I chose the single career route because, frankly, ALL of the women in my extended family are miserable and not living authentically in their marriages. So, for me, it was a no brainer. Yep – if I have to choose, I’ll choose a career.
I am looking for women like Arnold’s mom to help me out of my false thinking so that I can have both.
Did anyone read the latest entry at The Mormon Women Project?
I thought of you, Kmillecam. 🙂
My favorite line was “I’ve learned that it is more important that we understand the Lord’s will for us and tune our lives to His voice rather than conform to the world’s or a neighbor’s definition of success. I feel at peace with who I am as a wife, mother, a daughter and as a professional. There is so much integration between who I am at home, at church and at work that I just feel like myself. The women of the church have so much to teach, both within the church and out into the world, and I love being part of this.”
“For years I watched to make sure my children weren’t paying the price, always ready to let go of work if they were. But, my children are fantastic and our family is strong.”
“What better example to your children than having them see their mom doing something she’s passionate about and she’s good at.”
I love these two quotes from it. Thanks for the reading recommendation.
Oh, and this one is awesome: “It’s a message of permission, of allowing, and a vote of confidence that I can do both. I’ve never felt I was to work instead of raising my family. It has always been in addition to raising my family.”
Here’s the link for any interested: http://www.mormonwomen.com/2011/08/17/finding-the-balance/
Kmillecam, I am excited to hear that you are going back to school. I love how you are taking ownership of your choices. While having kids hasn’t been a factor in my choices, I find that as I am changing direction, that being happy with what I have done (even though sometimes I want to kick myself for not having done it better) and not worrying about the what ifs has been the most important. Good luck to you!
Thanks Kelly Ann. I am finding a lot of liberation as I let go of the “what ifs”, yes. Thanks for the luck! I am taking Principles of Sound Reason this semester online (I couldn’t figure out how to get my little E somewhere for class time, so I’m doing online courses this semester, and maybe the next, until E is in preschool), and I’m so nervous!!
Will I be smart enough? Will I do my homework and study and find time for both? Will I ace my tests like I want to? Ahhh! This is why I know it’s a good thing to do, because the fear is showing up. But then I get to face it and banish it.
So I use to think that online classes were easier than their comparatives until I took one … I think it is an excellent way to dive back in.
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