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Raising Mothers

My daughters were filling out an informational sheet about themselves the other day. The typical “what do you want to be when you grow up” question brought the same response from them both; a mom. When this information was shared with the group for the purpose of “getting to know one another”, it was not well received. In fact, they were taken to task in a fairly aggressive way. The first comment, by a leader mind you, was, “You can’t just be a mom. That would be a waste of your talents. Of course you’ll have babies, but what are you going to be when you grow up.” I was seriously taken aback. My daughters are 7 and 6.

Have we gone so far in this “feminist movement” as to create an attitude of disdain and contempt for those choosing motherhood as their life’s goal and mission? Being a mom is a noble endeavor. There is nothing just about it. If it’s not for you, fantastic, don’t do it. Please don’t take your need to justify your choices out on children, or anyone else for that matter. It’s not necessary, kind, or even basically civil.

I think it is paramount to raise mothers and strong women simultaneously.

 

{ 33 comments… add one }

  • lulubelle March 22, 2013, 9:21 pm

    I’m interested to know how many boys when asked that question answered that they want to be a dad (which is an equally noble calling). Ill venture to say none. If they did would that be as acceptable or would the followup go sonething like this: “that’s great! But what are you going to do to make money to support yourself and your children some day?” And why should there be any difference in response?

  • Amy Lockhart March 23, 2013, 9:59 am

    lulubelle: Would you mind clarifying your point for me? I am not quite seeing how it relates to the post.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Dawn of PositivityMy Profile

  • lulubelle March 23, 2013, 11:48 am

    I think a critical part of raising girls is to help them become independent adults. If at a young age they are indoctrinated that Mom is a thing to be, it only helps them realize one piece of their potential. I don’t have a problem with the responses you mentioned, even by the “leader”. In fact I applaud it. Having just moved to the Mormon Belt, I am stunned at how few girls my daughters’ ages truly imagine their lives outside of getting married and having babies. That might be true for some, maybe even for many. But for a huge chunk of those girls, their lives will probably be something far different, complex, nuanced… No one is saying being a mom isn’t something they should want (really, who do you know, Mormon or non Mormon, who REALLY doesn’t want children EVER?), but they should expect to have that and so much more. What’s wrong (or questionable) about preparing them for that at 6, 7 or beyond?

  • Angie Gardner March 23, 2013, 12:29 pm

    I’m curious as to what forum this was in, just for curiosity’s sake.

    While I think it was inappropriate for any kind of leader to take a 6- and 7-year-old to task on this, I also think it is wise to prepare girls for what is sure to be the reality for most of them – a career outside of being a mom.

    Now, I know Amy in real life so I am confident she is not telling her girls to give up any other dreams they have in life in order to be a mom. But I know that they see her engaging motherhood in ways that are very exciting and challenging (home schooling, etc.) and they emulate that and want to be the same as their mom, I’m sure. For them, being a mom epitomizes a lot of things.

    Most women will have to work outside the home at least at some point during their life. And even if they don’t have to for financial reasons, many will choose to. I for one function much better as a mom if I also have a little something on the side that allows the finances to be a little more secure so my mind is at ease and also so that I can have daily interaction with adults. I think it’s just part of my personality, and my patriarchal blessing (given the same year as President Benson’s “Mothers Come Home” talk) tells me that I should prepare for a career and that I have the ability to successfully combine a career with motherhood. Now that my kids are older and I’m entering the workforce again in more of a “career” path rather than just having a “job”, I am wishing that I would have prepared better for a career where I could find fulfillment. Now I’m finding myself at age 42 applying for grad school. Sure wish I would have done this back in my 20s!

    I know this isn’t what your post is about Amy, but it brings up something for me that I was just talking about with a friend this week as we discussed the women praying in conference thing. We LDS women tend to be really hard on each other for our choices in this regard. I know for a fact that working moms are often judged for putting career ahead of family, and I’m sure the opposite is true too. I hate that qualifier of “just” an anything and I really wish we would all be kinder to each other. We have no idea why someone is making the choices the way they are.

  • Angie Gardner March 23, 2013, 1:49 pm

    After I typed that, I realized I have 5 girls in my house right now between ages 9 and 13, so I thought I would ask them the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    I asked each of them individually without the others in the room so they wouldn’t be influenced by the other. Here are the answers I got:

    “An art teacher and photographer” (13)
    “An inventor” (11)
    “A government something” (11)
    “A teacher” (9)
    “A teacher or policewoman” (9)

    These girls are a little older than Amy’s and that might make a difference. I also happen to know that Amy is a wonderful mom and her kids think she walks on water, :) while mine have a very real understanding that I do NOT walk on water (3 of these girls are ask are mine, and 2 of them are friends).

    My point is just that when I read Amy’s girls responses, I didn’t think it was typical.

    When I asked the girls afterwards, “Don’t you want to be a mom?” every single one of them said, “Well, yeah of course” or “Oh yeah, that too.”

    Nothing scientific, I just thought it was interesting.

  • MB March 23, 2013, 5:26 pm

    It’s the “that would be a waste of your talents” statement that I find objectionable, if that is, in fact, a direct quote from that leader.

    It perpetrates the falsehoods that mothering is, by definition, an uncreative, one-style-only choice which style, if it doesn’t match your set of skills or talents, is (too bad for you) set in stone, OR that using your talents in child raising is less valuable than using those same talents in other venues.

    It is another form of a kind of thinking that has been going on for centuries: that raising children is menial, narrowly defined, do-it-like-everyone-else-does work and that time spent doing it prevents you from using your talents, or if, God forbid, you should use your talents while doing it, doing so in that venue is of less value to society when compared with employing those talents in other work venues.

    Those are the lies that rankle.

  • Amy Lockhart March 23, 2013, 8:19 pm

    MB: I could not have said it better myself (and obviously I did not). Thank you. For clarification, it is a direct quote, but was said with a smile. There was no malice meant, but the statement took its toll regardless.

    Angie: Thank you :) you are a good friend. It’s interesting to me that it does seem to make a difference in understanding when we know someone in real life.

    If my girls, or any others, seek to be defined by their role as mother rather than the career path they may or may not choose, I am all for it. When we set out to educate another because we perceive we have a higher position it is best to tread lightly, if even at all. I have never experienced a situation where my perceived “expertise” in a matter was warranted or helpful, unless asked for. Even when asked for it is only edifying if I first diligently seek to understand the other party.

    Here’s my grievance with the situation; my daughters felt embarrassed and misunderstood. Inferences were made without proper reasoning being employed. You want to be a mother therefore you will waste your talents and only realize a portion of your potential. I say, poppycock.

    I have come across this type of sentiment a great deal lately and it troubles me. It seems there is contempt for those of us women that are “less than qualified” due to a cultural standard that seems to be fairly forcefully touted at the moment.

    My daughters are not being indoctrinated. Mom certainly is a thing to be and it can be just as multifaceted as any type of job or career. Certainly it’s never too early to teach our own children But. Is it anyone else’s place or business? I don’t think so.

    We are very serious about education and self reliance without gender stereotypes in our family. To say that talents and potential will be wasted and not realized in motherhood is just as wrong as it is to say that you can’t be a “good” mother if you work outside the home.

    If the question would have been what kind of job/career do you want to have when you grow up, their answers would have been different. In our home we differentiate between job/career path and who we are or what we will be. I understand this is unique. I would have appreciated acceptance of their answer rather than assumption they were being set up for failure in some way.

    I know lots of moms that are better when they work outside the home. I happen to be one that thrives without that outside distraction. I believe there is room for us all.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Be a Good MotherMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith March 24, 2013, 9:20 am

    lulubelle, welcome!

    The “just a mother” sentiment has already been around so long it’s gone through one backlash and now looking at a second one. It should be obvious — at least to Mormons — that parenting is THE central work we do in life. Period. So things that undermine that get my knickers in a twist.

    That said — and ignoring the leader’s dopey approach (I mean what is SHE doing in that venue that’s so markedly different from caring for kids?) — lulubelle brings up an important issue. I might ask the reverse.

    If boy were asked what he was going to be and he said, “engineer” would we be worried and bothered that he didn’t say “dad” and require him to add that to his resume?

    Even as a 25+ year stay-at-home mom, I’m distressed when girls don’t plan how to make a living and equally as distressed when boys forget that being a father should be central in their plans.

    I have more than a few close friends who have to make a living for themselves and their families (only some are divorced or single) and are struggling mightily because they planned on exclusive motherhood. Some of them even have college degrees and a couple of those have advanced or high demand college degrees — but they haven’t kept up in their industries.

    They are, very literally, left with minimum wage jobs. And that’s just not a good plan for anyone.

    So, while I wouldn’t have approached the topic like this leader — and I wouldn’t freak on such young kids — I want my girls to have a plan and skills and a clear understanding of the economics involved.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…100DC Day 83: Exceed ExpectationsMy Profile

  • pardonmoi March 24, 2013, 10:38 am

    Thank you lulubelle!

  • Angie Gardner March 24, 2013, 11:47 am

    “I have more than a few close friends who have to make a living for themselves and their families (only some are divorced or single) and are struggling mightily because they planned on exclusive motherhood. Some of them even have college degrees and a couple of those have advanced or high demand college degrees — but they haven’t kept up in their industries.”

    Yep, this is me. I have a Bachelor’s degree but never really worked in the field, and now I find myself trying to get back in and it’s tough. Instead, I’m working 2 part-time jobs to get by (not minimum wage but not much more than that either) and starting the application process for grad school at age 42.

    I don’t at all regret the years I stayed home to raise kids, but I do wish I had at least kept my foot in the water a little bit. It feels like starting all over again.

  • Amy Lockhart March 24, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Why is the assumption that being a mother and preparing for self reliant independent adulthood do not coexist?

    I am not “feeling the love” or tolerance from those that are screaming so loudly for it and wonder why. It seems if something is worthwhile it can be done in a manner that does not degrade nor demean those that define themselves differently.

    And by differently I mean nothing to do with sitting on the couch in a bathrobe eating bon bons and watching morning shows hoping that a man will provide the cash flow for such a demanding life.

    I mean raising up strong independent women with their highest aspiration being motherhood. It goes without saying we need a life plan apart from dreaming of the next RM to step into our lives. Why isn’t that the assumption?

    I am proud that my daughters would define themselves first by their divine calling as mother, even if they never marry or have children.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Be a Good MotherMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart March 24, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Allison’s comment: “If boy were asked what he was going to be and he said, “engineer” would we be worried and bothered that he didn’t say “dad” and require him to add that to his resume?”

    If it were my child, I wouldn’t be worried or bothered, but I would notice. Then I would add it to my “things to teach and train” section of the brain (or notebook) and I would make my best effort to instill divine fatherhood into my sons.

    Just the same as I would add “teach daughter that life isn’t waiting around and getting by until “Mr. Right” rides in on his white horse” to that same section, if one of my daughters refused to take an active role in her education and job/career path.

    I think parenthood is that important. I also think great parents can do many different things.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Be a Good MotherMy Profile

  • jennycherie March 24, 2013, 1:28 pm

    One of the thing that occurs to me in the conversation is that, in the context of getting to know children, it just might be better to phrase our questions in a better way – like just asking “what things interest you?” or “what do you like to do when you have free time?”
    jennycherie recently posted…Update on the HateMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart March 24, 2013, 1:39 pm

    I like it jennycherie!
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith March 24, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Why is the assumption that being a mother and preparing for self reliant independent adulthood do not coexist?

    Because when someone asks what they are going to be when they grow up and they ONLY say “mother” (or “father), one is left to wonder what the “self-reliant independent adulthood” plan is. It is undefined.

    I am not “feeling the love” or tolerance from those that are screaming so loudly for it and wonder why.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. ???

    It goes without saying we need a life plan apart from dreaming of the next RM to step into our lives. Why isn’t that the assumption?

    Because it does NOT go without saying. As I said, I have more than a few friends (even educated ones) who have just about zero job skills that translate into making an actual living.

    I am proud that my daughters would define themselves first by their divine calling as mother, even if they never marry or have children.

    I do not believe anyone argued with that. I certainly didn’t. And I explicitly said that I did not like the way the leader addressed it. Is there something else you’re referring to?

    If it were my child, I wouldn’t be worried or bothered, but I would notice. Then I would add it to my “things to teach and train” section of the brain (or notebook) and I would make my best effort to instill divine fatherhood into my sons.

    So you wouldn’t be “worried” or “bothered” but you would do something about it. You WOULD take action, whatever term you use for that concern. You do want them to include “father.”

    Why wouldn’t you want them to define themselves by that divine calling? Why wouldn’t you want them to say “father” INSTEAD of engineer?

    Personally, I want all my kids to see themselves as future parents. I also want them to see themselves in other capacities. And, as much as I love motherhood, it doesn’t pay the bills. I don’t want any of my kids to think “mother” or “father” is a complete “what I’m going to be” plan.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…100DC Day 83: Exceed ExpectationsMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart March 24, 2013, 8:16 pm

    Allison: “Because when someone asks what they are going to be when they grow up and they ONLY say “mother” (or “father), one is left to wonder what the “self-reliant independent adulthood” plan is. It is undefined.”

    Generally it is assumed that girls who answer the question with a career choice would also be mothers. That wasn’t defined or stated either. Hence my wondering why we wouldn’t assume mothers would also have a suitable life plan. In the vein of assuming the best and being kind I suppose.

    Allison: “Personally, I want all my kids to see themselves as future parents. I also want them to see themselves in other capacities. And, as much as I love motherhood, it doesn’t pay the bills. I don’t want any of my kids to think “mother” or “father” is a complete “what I’m going to be” plan.”

    I agree. I thought I made that clear originally in my final statement, and in further comments. My girls have long lists of all the job and career choices they wish to pursue, from surgeon and astronaut to librarian and artist. We study about each one until they are satisfied for the time and revisit it whenever the fancy strikes them again.

    Allison: “Why wouldn’t you want them to define themselves by that divine calling? Why wouldn’t you want them to say “father” INSTEAD of engineer?”

    I want my children to define themselves. I listen to them. If there is anything lacking in my areas of responsibility, one of which I consider teaching about the divine role of parenthood, I do something about it. One of my boys actually did say, “Well, a dad.” A bit later he came back and wrote, “To make money, I’ll own a zoo or be a naturalist.”

    Allison: “I do not believe anyone argued with that. I certainly didn’t. And I explicitly said that I did not like the way the leader addressed it. Is there something else you’re referring to?”

    I didn’t think I implied anyone did argue with that. It was meant to be a sum up statement rather than a retort of any kind. I did notice your kind remarks. Thank you :)

    Allison: “I’m not sure what you’re referring to. ???”

    It was a general statement regarding the feeling I have gotten, and others have expressed to me, in the current feminist discussions of the day. It was not meant to anyone in particular, more a statement of concern stemming from perceived intolerance and lack of understanding. It definitely goes both ways but my experience is much more of hearing about the insignificance of stay at home moms rather than the inabilities of career moms.

    Allison: “Because it does NOT go without saying. As I said, I have more than a few friends (even educated ones) who have just about zero job skills that translate into making an actual living.”

    But it does go without saying for me and that’s why I wrote it. My frustration stems from that fact that we are each unique and yet the stereotypes and assumptions come first. What if the assumption worked both ways? We assume the rocket scientist will be a great mommy AND we assume the mommy has a solid life plan. It seems all the niceness is a bit one sided of late.

    Allison: “So you wouldn’t be “worried” or “bothered” but you would do something about it. You WOULD take action, whatever term you use for that concern. You do want them to include “father.””

    I wasn’t trying to argue semantics with you. I apologize if that’s how it came off. That was my attempt at entering that part of the discussion that lulubelle brought up and you followed up on. Just my two cents.

    I don’t need them to include father, but I would want to make sure I fulfilled my parental responsibility to teach my sons about divine fatherhood. If my girls had answered differently I wouldn’t think less of them, or be any less proud of them. I would have a conversation with them to see if there were any holes that needed filling in, such as career and motherhood being exclusive of each other.

    I think that does it for now.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Be a Good MotherMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith March 26, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Generally it is assumed that girls who answer the question with a career choice would also be mothers. That wasn’t defined or stated either. Hence my wondering why we wouldn’t assume mothers would also have a suitable life plan. In the vein of assuming the best and being kind I suppose.

    Because historically they don’t. So making assumptions in order to be “kind” are probably wrong (and so maybe not very kind).

    Historically women stayed home and were supported by men. If that failed, they were left at the mercy of other family or society. The fact that fairly recently it has become acceptable in our culture for women to work outside the home, does not mean that those who see their primary role as stay-at-home moms have prepared an adequate “back up plan.”

    In a church that promotes and elevates the traditional model — and still looks at working woman as an “if you have to” alternative — I’d say the likelihood of a solid plan is even more rare. And in my anecdotal experience, that’s true in close to 100% of the cases.

    Amy, I agree that the way the woman presented this was awkward and I agree that I’d never take such a young child to task. But I also think lulubelle brings up a very important point. I think we do our daughters a disservice when they don’t have a fairly similar training to our sons. Be prepared to take on adult skills — including supporting yourself and your children financially.

    A disproportionally high percentage of women in my ward are stay-at-home moms. I dare say few would be able to support their families if they needed to. In fact, when two were divorced in the past couple of years, one had to move into her basement and rent out the main part of her house and another had to move out of her home and into a small accessory apartment in someone else’s home.

    That scenario is played out every day all over America. Women who plan to stay home very often do not cultivate and/or maintain marketable skills. They can be financially devastated. As I said, even those with college degrees often find themselves decades behind the current research and technology and cannot compete with younger, more up-to-date job seekers.

    So, IMO, stressing the missing financial component in the “I want to be a mom plan” (although, again, perhaps addressed problematically) doesn’t equal disdain for motherhood.

    I thought I made that clear originally in my final statement, and in further comments. My girls have long lists of all the job and career choices they wish to pursue, from surgeon and astronaut to librarian and artist.

    OK, so YOU don’t want them to be “just moms” either, right? :) You want them to be moms AND other things. So…I guess I’m not sure why the statement bothered you. “Just” doesn’t have to demean one position.

    Last night when my son had chili, I said, “Don’t just have chili. Have some salad, too.” I don’t have disdain for the chili I made, he just needed a better balance for his meal. :)

    We study about each one until they are satisfied for the time and revisit it whenever the fancy strikes them again.

    I listen to them. If there is anything lacking in my areas of responsibility, one of which I consider teaching about the divine role of parenthood, I do something about it.

    You didn’t tell us who this leader was or what the venue was, but it sounds to me that’s what she was trying to do, if imperfectly. She agreed that she’d be a mom, but asked what she’d do (presumably) to make money.

    If your position is that she shouldn’t have been asking the questions given that she’s not a parent, then it’s probably a different conversation that requires more details. ???

    Amy:

    It goes without saying we need a life plan apart from dreaming of the next RM to step into our lives. Why isn’t that the assumption?

    Alison:

    Because it does NOT go without saying. As I said, I have more than a few friends (even educated ones) who have just about zero job skills that translate into making an actual living.

    But it does go without saying for me and that’s why I wrote it.

    Amy, you asked why it wasn’t the ASSUMPTION that having a sound financial plan is part of the equation for the “I’m going to be a mom” crowd. The assumption wasn’t about what YOU thought, it was about what this leader and other people thought. So whether or not YOU assume it’s part of the equation isn’t relevant. Does that make sense?

    THEY do not assume it’s part of the equation, because usually it is NOT part of the equation. If we’re going to make an assumption, we can only logically do it on the side of statistics and actual knowledge.

    What if the assumption worked both ways? We assume the rocket scientist will be a great mommy AND we assume the mommy has a solid life plan.

    My question would be, why would we assume either one? If we assume all the kids are going to be great parents and great in their careers, why even ask the questions, other than out of making small talk?

    More to the point, maybe, why do we send our kids to school and to church if they have nothing to learn? Why don’t we assume they already have a solid knowledge of X? Why aren’t we “kind” in that way?

    Ultimately, I guess I don’t know why your girls are at some meeting with a “leader” if the leader is supposed to assume they already have everything set for the rest of their lives. :)

    It seems all the niceness is a bit one sided of late.

    You know I’m not big on nice, but I really don’t see what niceness has to do with it. I don’t think it’s unkind to ask someone what their financial plan is or to assume that if they don’t present one in the context of such a discussion that they might not have one. I also wouldn’t think it unkind to point out motherhood to the declared neuroscientist and ask her how she’s preparing for that part of her life.

    I don’t need them to include father, but I would want to make sure I fulfilled my parental responsibility to teach my sons about divine fatherhood. If my girls had answered differently I wouldn’t think less of them, or be any less proud of them. I would have a conversation with them to see if there were any holes that needed filling in, such as career and motherhood being exclusive of each other.

    Sincerely, I don’t understand the distinctions you’re drawing. You aren’t “worried” or “bothered” but you do feel a need to take action. You don’t need them to SAY “father” when stating their life plan, but you have a parental obligation for them to understand fatherhood is divine. You feel like them not knowing about parenthood/career would be “holes that need filling” but if they answer differently and ignore either of those areas you’re “equally proud.”

    Here’s how I see it. Generally speaking, I don’t give much of a flip about how they respond in an off-the-cuff conversation about future plans. And I think even the most intelligent 6 and 7 year olds are pretty clueless about adult realities.

    But if in real life my adult children do NOT want to be parents, I will NOT be “equally proud” of them. I want them to understand that parenthood IS divine and it IS commanded of us. And if they CHOOSE to forgo parenthood, I will be sad and disappointed.

    Similarly, if my adult children choose not to prepare for financial realities, I will not be equally proud of them. I want them to understand that self-reliance is an adult expectation that is critical for the future of our freedoms. If they CHOOSE to ignore this responsibility, I will be sad and disappointed.

  • Amy Lockhart March 26, 2013, 6:10 pm

    Allison: “But I also think lulubelle brings up a very important point. I think we do our daughters a disservice when they don’t have a fairly similar training to our sons. Be prepared to take on adult skills — including supporting yourself and your children financially.”

    I completely agree and ended my post with a statement I thought would convey that.

    My final statement: “I think it is paramount to raise mothers and strong women simultaneously.”

    lulubelle’s opening statement: “I think a critical part of raising girls is to help them become independent adults.

    Certainly I could have used independent rather than strong. She did bring up the gender equality reference. I don’t recall having disagreed with any of the comments relating to preparing girls for independent and financially stable adulthood. I attempted to join the gender equality part of the conversation but it was seen differently than I meant it. I am letting it go.

    In the context of this casual “getting to know you” setting, it was not the time or place for anyone to be told that talents would be wasted by just being a mother. Just was meant a certain way. It wasn’t even about independence or financial stability, it was about talents being wasted and mother being insufficient as something to be. We agree it was not appropriate handling of the situation.

    Sometimes as leaders we overstep in order to promote agendas. This was one of those times. I do think niceness and assuming the best can help when considering if something is our business or not.

    My question: “Have we gone so far in this “feminist movement” as to create an attitude of disdain and contempt for those choosing motherhood as their life’s goal and mission?”

    I have seen that it has. I do not agree with indoctrination of haus frau motherhood, but I do think those who choose it deserve the same respect as those who don’t. I also know that any who presume that to be what my daughters mean when they say mother, is flat out wrong. Motherhood is a multifaceted thing and can be defined in so many ways. Presuming we know what someone else means when they say mother is not productive in understanding or getting to know anyone.

    I think it would behoove us all to remember that when raising awareness for certain issues, there are appropriate times, places, and audiences. Compassion and understanding goes both ways.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Impressive, No?My Profile

  • pardonmoi March 27, 2013, 8:15 am

    Amy, it kind of seems like you don’t want to own anything. You were mad in the post everyone can tell, but then you say you aren’t annoyed at all and every time someone says an answer you peddle back and go down a different road. Now in this comment you show your mad again but because I said that you’ll say your not and go down a different road again.
    I like your posts but then when someone has a different view you won’t ever defend your position you try to change what you said. it just goes around and all over. I read it to my husband and he just said, “She takes every position. she’s as hard to pin down as Obama,”
    so admit your mad and explain why or I can’t take it anymore!!.!

  • pardonmoi March 27, 2013, 8:16 am

    Sorry for typos. Im on my phone and it’s hard to type!

  • Deb March 27, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Perhaps it should have been explained to the leader that there is no such thing as “just” a mother. A mother is so much more. She is an accountant, physician, counselor, chef, chauffeur, peace maker, housekeeper, and so on. She is able to make quick decisions and adapt to ever changing situations. That, to me, makes for a well rounded and well-equipped individual. Traits I would love to see in an employee.
    A comment was made that sounded like a woman should have a job or an education to provide for herself if something were to happen. While I know marriages fail, I would prefer to live mine with the belief that it will last rather than living as though it will fail.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2013, 6:09 pm

    I hope every LDS couple goes into marriage planning to stay married. :) But that isn’t really in question, is it?

    Yes, I have friends who have divorced — some who played no part in the marital issues (like the friend whose husband raped the teenage babysitter). I’ve also written about a dear friend who was widowed in her 30s with three children (brain cancer) and another with six kids (auto accident). I also have two friends from my childhood group who never married.

    Church counsel is (and has been all my life to the best of my knowledge) for women to be educated and to have “the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so.” (President Hinckley) Statistically speaking, depending on a lifetime of being provided for isn’t a good plan.

    Set your priorities in terms of marriage and family, but also pursue educational programs which will lead to satisfying work and productive employment in case you do not marry, or to a sense of security and fulfillment in the event you do marry.

    ~Gordon B. Hinckley
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Ministry Without MiraclesMy Profile

  • partone March 28, 2013, 1:31 am

    Deb, we all know moms (and dads) wear lots of hats. But I bet you aren’t actually an employer if you think being a regular mom gets job offers.

  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 7:07 am

    pardonmoi: Have you considered the possibility that you misunderstood what my point was? That I might not be changing but rather attempting to clarify what was meant or my feelings on a matter?

    My post was quite clear, in my mind. I have clarified things I felt needed clarifying. I have not argued with everything for two reasons: 1) that’s not the way I play, and 2) there is not anything I inherently disagree with.

    Other than lulubelle’s determination that audience, circumstance, and leader’s comments were appropriate, I see semantics and understanding as the issue. I have no desire to take lulubelle to task on her opinion in that specific thing. If she chose to do it with my daughters I would speak to her about it, just as I have spoken with all parties involved in the situation referenced in my post. Furthermore, I agree with the overall message she presented. I stated as much in my post. In fact, I purposely chose my final statement because I felt it had weight and communicated exactly what I feel.

    There has been some good discussion and great points that have come from this post. Whether everyone understood me exactly matters a trifle to me.

    I do not agree with your characterizations of me or the way I have conducted myself here at all. If you have something you would like me to “answer for” then please be specific and I will do my best.
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  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 7:16 am

    Deb: I haven’t seen you here before, so welcome! Thanks for the addition to the discussion.

    Allison: “Set your priorities in terms of marriage and family, but also pursue educational programs which will lead to satisfying work and productive employment in case you do not marry, or to a sense of security and fulfillment in the event you do marry. ~Gordon B. Hinckley”

    I think you bring up a fabulous point here. Thank you! This is exactly what I was trying to say in my final statement on the post. Maybe now I will have to come up with a post on just exactly what that means …
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Super MomMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner March 28, 2013, 10:01 am

    Welcome, Deb.

    I love the sentiment, but can’t agree with the reality of the situation. We may be doctors, teachers, therapists, secretaries and drivers to our children but that doesn’t make us prepared to step into those roles should the need arise. You have to be educated/trained in those fields and then maintain those skills in order to be employable. This is why so many moms who are needing to enter the workforce after being at home for a time often find themselves in entry-level positions and/or returning to school. You can’t very well say, “Well, I homeschooled 6 children (even if very successfully) and now I would like to come in and be the principal of the school.”

    As for planning for a time when we would need to provide for our families…well of course that is the hope when you get married that you will stay married. But it doesn’t always work that way. And even if you stay married, there could be circumstances that require you to be ready for a career. Unemployment or underemployment of your spouse, illness, death, a serious family financial crisis that requires extra income. Hopefully none of these things will ever happen to you, but if they should wouldn’t you want to be prepared to support yourself and your family if need be. And not just “get a job” but do something fulfilling and financially sound as well? I know I would.

  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 10:30 am

    Angie: “Now I’m finding myself at age 42 applying for grad school. Sure wish I would have done this back in my 20s!”

    Not to take away anything from your sentiment of wishing you would have done it sooner, or that it quite probably is easier done sooner than later, but …

    I have been thinking a lot about this and I see a silver lining. How fabulous that your daughters get to *see* you doing this. How great is it that they will witness exactly what it takes and how to achieve it. I am sure it will make them that much more determined to be strong independent women :) Good for you!
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  • Angie Gardner March 28, 2013, 10:43 am

    Thank you for seeing the silver lining. :)

    I think it will be a good example to them as well. Having said that, possibly would have even been better had I finished the degree in my 20s (mind you, I didn’t get married until I was 27 so I would have had time before having kids) and then kept up my skills. Live and learn. :) But yes, glad for silver linings. Better late than never.

  • Deb March 28, 2013, 11:51 am

    Hmm. Perhaps I took the point of the post different than what was intended. I thought the point was that this woman implied that if you were ‘just a mom’, you were somehow less of a woman. That you were ‘wasting your talents’. I also took the post to bring attention to the fact that some in society (even in our close groups) still think less of woman who chooses to stay home and raise their children rather than going out and working.
    Whether or not a woman should have a career, to me, isn’t the point. The point is, if a woman chooses to stay home, good for her and if she wants a career, good for her. One should not be valued above the other. That’s what I perceived the point was behind the post.

  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Angie: Your comment sparked a question for me. I am hesitant to pose it as I don’t want it to come across as though I am inferring anything by it. Here goes :)

    Can postponing children in order to pursue educational and career goals fit into a motherhood and family centered life?

    I know that you did not put off having children. It’s a personal thing when to have children. This discussion can be tricky if the goal is to come up with a right or wrong. I am curious to explore this *without* right and wrong or placing judgement on another’s choices.

    This is of course for anyone, not just Angie.
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  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Deb: That was the point of my post exactly. :)
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  • Angie Gardner March 28, 2013, 6:51 pm

    “Can postponing children in order to pursue educational and career goals fit into a motherhood and family centered life?”

    I think so, although there are so many variables that it’s really hard to say.

    I have seen some really young brides lately (18ish) and I think for them it is really good to get some education before they start having children and I don’t fault them at all for taking a few years to prepare themselves for a career and for motherhood.

    My mom had me when she was a month shy of 20. My sister was also a mom by age 20. I didn’t have my first until I was 28. They are both fabulous moms, and I hope I am as well. My sister did finish her degree with a husband and baby and I have a lot of respect for that. My mom has also had to work at times in her life and I don’t think that took away from her being a great mom. She’s had to start at the entry level jobs because she didn’t have any education or training, but she was in a different generation too where not a whole lot of women took that route, so again, I don’t fault her.

    You know a bit about my background but others probably don’t so I’ll share it briefly here. I got my Bachelor’s “on-time” and served a mission and then entered the workforce rather than going on for more education…which was my dream so I’m really not sure why I didn’t do it. I dated and was even engaged once and very close to engaged another time but didn’t meet my husband until I was 26, married at 27. We didn’t wait at all to have children, considering my age and that we wanted several children…plus we were both done with school (for the moment) so there was no reason to really wait. I was pregnant within about 6 months and our oldest daughter (14 years old this week!) was born when I was 28.

    So in answer to your question…I don’t know. :) I think it just really varies by person and situation. I would hope if my daughters marry young they will at least wait until they finish a basic degree or trade of some sort before they have kids. But if their choice is to start mothering right away I’m good with that too and will love my grandbabies. :)

    I know the prophets would say don’t wait. I would just say that in general it’s really personal and you should make it a matter of prayer what is right.

    I also know someone (Alison knows this person too, I think) who is one of the best moms I know and also an attorney. She home schools and is just…well, a fabulous person. I know that you can find a way to do both. It’s just finding the balance, I guess.

    Clear as mud. :)

  • Amy Lockhart March 28, 2013, 8:38 pm

    Crystal clear and I really appreciate you offering your perspective :) Thanks!
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