When I was in college I studied the sciences. I wanted to be a doctor, but I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom too. I was conflicted about career and staying home to be a full-time mom. “Follow the Prophet” back then (1978) meant stay at home, “no success can compensate for failure in the home,” rang through my head. I wanted to make the right choices.
I had a bachelors degree in biochemistry and I was in grad school at USC, at the medical campus in the worst part of LA–right by LA County Hospital. I was studying pharmacology and nutrition in a PhD program. I couldn’t really see where that was taking me. I was confused and abandoned that and took a job in a hospital–the lowly surgery clerk. I should have finished the degree. I regret that now. I could have taught part-time at a college. Oh well, I got pregnant and barfed my guts out for the next nine months. And the next fourteen years.
Now don’t get me wrong, it was a joy to have that baby, to nurse her and just hold her in my arms. I totally agree with “joy in your posterity” being a true principle. I will admit though, I was often bored at home all day with one baby. I still wanted to do more.
My bishop was a pretty cool guy and he advised me to do more. He even went so far as to say I could work a little. And this was in 1981– “no failures in the home” still resonating through my mind. And I was nursing a baby and didn’t want to leave her with someone else. My sister was my example and I was trying to be like her. My bishop said I didn’t need to be like her and at the time, I didn’t get it.
I had more kids and that pretty much filled up my space of not having enough to do. I had plenty to do and I don’t regret those years. I love being a mom.
But there were many times when I wished I had gotten my pharmacy degree–I could have worked a few days a week and helped out when my husband had set backs. You know, sometimes Eve must help–“And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.” (Moses 5:1)
And maybe one day a week would have helped me appreciate my other six days.
When it came time for my daughter to choose a career in college I encouraged her to find something she could do and still stay home with her babies and kids–and something she could fall back on, if needed. She chose to go to Paul Mitchell Hair Design. She is my hairdresser and I love it. She is talented and she can work on her own schedule and out of her home. She can nurse her baby and play with her two-year old working when she wants a little spending money or needs to help pay a bill.
I’ve kept busy with five kids and they have become my work–my serious science projects, labs and dissertations to-boot. I jumped into the stay-at-home thing, breast-fed my babes until they were two (please no gasps, here), tried out public school, private school and home school; soccer, swim lessons, track, tennis and golf, piano lessons, gymnastics and paper routes.
Now my oldest is close to Thirty (with two little babes) and my youngest is fifteen. I have a little more time again– So I write. I write to become a better writer and leave something of my life and personality for my posterity.
But I also write for money. It’s hardly any, and you can’t live on it. But I have faith in the promise that by small and simple means, great things come to pass. I do my part and believe God will bless us with what we need. I also hope my experiences will help others.
I find that I like the freedom to work when I want to and I don’t have to stand for long hours or deal with irritable people at some job out there–only the copy editors.
And if I had to get a job, who would look with awe at my resume? I endured much, raised five kids, managed a home, a business… I have looked, there are no job descriptions out there for what I have done and experienced, and especially no bosses to list as references. And I am still fully employed here.
I am needed at home still. I enjoy home schooling my one last son. I’m still guiding him along. And the family business, my entrepreneur husband always needs help.
As women in Zion, mothering comes first, but we need to be prepared–if needed for financial reasons or even to improve our outlook on life. Mothering requires you to work in the trenches day and night and sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate motherhood.
It seems the current trend in follow the prophet is for young women to become educated, have a skill, something they can do in the workforce as needed and desired, not neglecting the value and blessing of motherhood. Life is not always predictable and we all have challenges that come our way. Sometimes we have to work. Sometimes we share the work. And sometimes we stay home.
But always, our family is first and women get the blessing and privilege to be mothers.
There were many times in my life when we did not have much money, but the Lord always provided, and it worked out. But I feel I have prepared my daughter better. She has a skill, she is prepared.
Deila is the mom of five kids who looks for the deeper meaning of life’s joys and struggles on planet earth. You can find her in: Eve out of the Garden.