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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just a Stay-at-Home Mom?

The news this morning was jam-packed with the comments made by Hilary Rosen, where she said, in speaking of Ann Romney, "His wife has never actually worked a day in her life." Ann Romney responded by saying: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Hilary Rosen has since issued an apology.

To be honest, I'm glad that the comments by Hilary Rosen were made because it has brought to light something that many stay-at-home moms feel, and that is undervalued.

I am a mother to 3 young children, aged 3 and under, and count myself fortunate to be one lucky ones to be able to stay home and spend as much time with my children as I can. The time when they are little before they head off on their adventures in school is so fleeting, and impressions made on these young minds and hearts can form a character and bond that yields fruit throughout eternity. The decision we made is not without sacrifice, temporally and emotionally. Vacations are out of the question, wearing the latest fashions is not even on my list of needs, to me the latest fashion is wearing any item of clothing that does not have baby goop or grubby fingerprints on - we just don't have a lot of the 'luxuries' that the world calls 'necessities'.

Being a stay at home mom can be a mentally exhausting job also (not to mention physically exhausting!), full of highs and lows. Highs when your children are playing so lovely together, when you see them learn knew things, when they hug you so tight that you think they are going to cut off all of your oxygen supply – but not so much when they are sick, trantruming or emptying out all the drawers for the ten billioneth time that HOUR. And this continues 24 hours a day. I have caught myself a couple of times when asked the question, 'what do you do?' replying, “Oh, I'm just a stay at home mom.” It has annoyed me - I have annoyed myself - that I would downgrade my role in this world to a just. Why have I felt the need to be almost apologetic that my contribution to this world is largely taking place within the walls of my home? In this area I was definitely influenced by the world. On television you see mothers everywhere who are 'doing it all'. We strive for accomplishments, to feel worthwhile, to better ourselves and may mistakenly think that these things are only attainable outside of the family unit, when the home is the very breeding ground for these things. Sometimes 'doing it all' is at the expense of 'having it all'.

This quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell but things into perspective a little: “You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.”

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has said: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1942, pp. 7, 11–12.)

Did you notice the words that were used? Highest, holiest, next to the angels – we should all feel like that, and we can, when we stop comparing ourselves to others and seeking the praise or approval of man. Who you are is enough, you are doing the best you can. If you doubt that pray and ask Heavenly Father He will tell you how loved you are, He will let you feel of your true worth.

I have quite a few friends who HAVE TO work. Their financial circumstances are such that to provide a roof over their children's head they work. I have seen how torn they are having to do that. I have seen their tears at having to leave their children in the care of someone else whilst their heart yearns to be their full-time caretakers and protectors and joy-makers. Some have similar anxieties that some stay-at-home moms have, feelings of guilt and feelings of inadequacies. They sacrifice for their children in a different way than stay-at-home moms do, but those sacrifices made will be consecrated for the good of their children.

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.” (“Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2008, 108–10.)

Because of the importance of the role of motherhood our Heavenly Father will guide our decisions, if there is any way possible to stay home with your children, do it, make the financial sacrifices so you can do this. I promise there is nothing more rewarding as this, and nothing as important. If this is not a possibility, know that Heavenly Father will make up the difference. So let's seek His will in this important matter, and let's be kind to each other.

So am I just a stay at home mom? No, because there is no 'just' when it comes to being a mother.

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25 comments:

  1. Beautifully said! Even if the so-called powerful in the world do not value Motherhood...WE ALWAYS WILL.

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    1. Thanks Jocelyn:) And you are a great example of honoring motherhood!

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  2. You say the Best things! In such a profound way. Love it!

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    1. You're too kind Trina! It's nice to be friends with such great women who cherish motherhood the same way I do:)

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  3. I truly value your insights about the importance of motherhood, and for sharing the wonderful counsel of our prophets. Elder Ballard's comments are among my personal favorites.

    tDMg

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    1. Thanks Kathryn, That was a great quote wasn't it by Elder Ballard, I'd never heard it before, but I love it, a great reminder about perspective and judging each other.

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  4. Very well put. I have always wanted to be "just a mom" but to me, that "just" meant that I didn't have to divide my time between the kids and the job. I've always had to be a working mom, in order to keep food on the table and the kids in shoes. I've never wanted a career~ I've just had to help out financially. Now, as a working grandma, I cherish the memories of when I could be home with my kids (working in a school is the best...summers and holidays off with the kids!) And I know that my kids have NO DOUBT that they were always number one in our home. Now, my goal is to be a stay at home grandma, and be able to give support to my kids and their kiddos when those hard days become just too much...Thanks for your lovely words. No one should ever feel bad for choosing to be home with her family. After all, that is where the most important work is done. :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments, and if you do have to work, then you're right a school job is ideal:) What a gift that is for your children and grandchildren to be available for them, they're very lucky to have you:)

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  5. Thank you for this post. I was deeply offended by the comments of the liberal media about mom's. I was a SAHM when my children were young. I now work outside the home. I know both sides. Shame on the media!

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    1. You're welcome:). The good thing about the comment is that it has got us talking about it - we just have to stand firm, doing what we know is right for our families, and it sounds like you have done that:)

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  6. Sarah, Thank you for that beautiful message. We need to honor motherhood the way that the Lord has outlined it. I think you're right that sometimes we get too much input from the outer-world who do not know the sacredness of the calling nor understand why it is so essential in the plan of happiness. I appreciate you, so much, for the hard-work that you are doing - along with all the loveliness that you share with the rest of us. You are truly a gem and a light and....I hope that you will be blessed and strengthened during these formative years of your children. It IS the hardest job there is. There are always things needing to be done, children needing nourishment and love, laundry, dishes, meals, nurturing, comforting, teaching, training, etc. It's often EXHAUSTING!!!! :) But, as you said, 'no greater calling' and...no greater joy! Thank you for standing strong in a world that is really hungering for these truths (even if they don't know it.)

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    1. Thanks Heidi. I do love being a mom, I wouldn't be who I am now without my kids, it's all I hoped for and more. It is a sacred called, like you said, because we don't ever do it alone, Heavenly Father will always help us because He is invested in our kids, and in us.

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  7. I always read the quotes you post on the FB and all of them I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for this wonderful insight of being a stay-at-home mom. I am a mother of two young boys, aged 2 and 1. Yes, they are a handful. Sometimes, i feel down - wanting to work outside the home so that i could help my husband and also wanting to have that feeling of fulfillment financially speaking. Believe me, my husband is a great provider for our family. But somehow I feel inadequate, my potential limited because I'm the one left at home. Every time i feel that and i confide to my husband he would always remind me of my worth. The worth of being a mother - the one who nurtures the children. He feels more secured knowing that when he is out for the day - the kids are safe with me. And every time I go to the temple - that same reassuring feeling that what i'm doing right now is the right thing to do for my kids and my family. Reading your insight has somehow awakened me of my worth, my potential. I realize just now that I can use my best potential, my best assets, even all that I have now - to my kids. Ha! *lightbulb!* Thank you again Sarah.
    -gladys

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    1. Gladys, I LOVED your comment. Isn't it silly that we sometimes feel in adequate, when we are doing the MOST important job in the world, raising children who will contribute to the world, will show love to those around them - YOU are your children's best asset:)

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  8. such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts that are the same feelings that many of us feel but just can't express so eloquently!
    Have you ever read the book "I am a Mother" by Jane Clayson Johnson??? It is by far the best book on motherhood I've ever read and talks about the same things...not being just a mother but being A Mother!

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    1. Thanks:) I haven't heard of that book, I'm definitely going to put it on my must read list! Isn't it great that there are so many of us women who love, and are passionate about our role as mothers:)

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  9. Beautifully written. Motherhood truly is a high and worthy calling. Not to mention a lot of work. Thank you for the encouragement.

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    1. Thanks Sara, I think I could've done a better job, but I just wrote came to me. I definitely is hard work, some days more than others, but oh so wonderful too:)

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  10. I agree with most of what you said, however, I do not like the last quote which implies that a stay at home mother is the only type of "full time mother". I am always a full time mother regardless of whether my child is at school while I'm at work, or if he's at home with me. My mothering never stops....so while you tried to stand up for stay at home mothers, you did so at the risk of putting down those who work as well as provide mothering to their child(ren).

    Dr. Briana Walts

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Motherhood is such a sensitive topic because we all care so much for our children. I don't think the last quote implies that working mothers care for their children only some of the time, or love them any less, it is referencing those who physically care for their children as being "full-time", and the end of the last quote says "what matters is that a mother loves her children deeply... and prioritizes them above all else". I'm sorry if you were offended by my feelings about motherhood, but I don't think I said anything that would make working mothers feel like they were bad mothers, I'm sorry if you felt that was implied, but just to re-iterate what was contained in the post, our children should be our priority and we should love them deeply. If we are not able to stay home with them then I believe they will be blessed for the sacrifice that we have to make for them.

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    2. Oh I wasn't offended at all! I'm sorry if I came across like that. I was merely saying that in an effort to uplift the SAHM's, the comment may have done the opposite for working mothers. That's all. :)

      Yes, we all love our children and really there shouldn't be any competition or feelings of inadequacy with anyone. I work because I want to, not because I have to. I grew up really poor and worked for everything I have. I want to instill this value in my son and want him to see that working for a paycheck is important for the entire family - not just one adult. Everyone does the best they can, when they can, and as long as you are loving your children, then you are doing something right!

      I have a question though. Do SAHM's consider themselves full time SAHM's when their kids are in school too? (Not to confuse with the full time mothering comment). This is assuming that they aren't homeschooling their kids as well. I'm just curious as to what the responses are to this question. I understand that it's a full time job when the kids aren't in school, but how to SAHM's feel about their job as a mother when the kids go to school 7-8 hours a day? Meaning, do they still feel that it's hard and do they still feel inadequate?

      Dr. Briana Walts

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    3. Hey Briana:) I was thinking about your SAHM questions and if SAHM moms considered themselves full-time after the kids were in school or felt inadequate - and I really don't know the answer to that as I haven't experienced that stage of life as mine are all still too young for school. Just looking on as an observer SAHM moms with kids in school (and I think it depends on the number of kids you have) still seem busy to me, with running kids here, there and everywhere, and I know they spend their time doing things that keep the household running, things which working moms have to squash into after work hours. I'm sure the most chaotic time is with little ones at home when you can feel isolated from the adult world and it's so physically demanding. It seems that once the kids are in school you may at least have time to go to the bathroom alone! As far as feelings of inadequacy, I do know some moms who feel society looks down upon them for not working, like they are just putting their feet up all day watching afternoon soap opera's, and not contributing to the family in important ways, and maybe that feeling intensifies as your children are out of the home more and more. My mother stayed home with us when we were young and then later went to work when we were older when our family circumstances changed, and I can tell you I preferred her being there when I got home from school. It just felt more like coming home to me, and we were able to spend more time together. She has now passed away and most of my fondest are from the time she was home. That probably doesn't answer your questions, but how about I get back to you in 6 years and tell you how I'm doing-fingers crossed:)

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  11. It definitely gives me a better understanding - which is ultimately what I am trying to achieve. I think we (as moms) will better understand each other the more we ask questions and answer each other. Just a thought....So interesting this came up, because another Doctor whose blog I follow just posted about mommy wars...(and I wasn't having that, btw). But it's an interesting read. :) http://newhealthom.com/2012/04/18/peace-love-no-more-mommy-wars/

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  12. When you begin any kind of stay at home work or home based business, it's a good idea to put a lot of thought into your stay at home working environment. After that cubicle where you were forced to make good use of your space, it's easy to spread out and become disorganized. Or worse, not put any thought at all into your stay at home work environment.

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Hope you have a brilliant day!!