What Work Can A Stay-At-Home Mom Do?

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.

Comments

  1. says

    Isn’t it a shame we segreagate ourselves, stay-at-home mom versus working mom? While I agree with a lot in this post, it’s very judgemental and somewhat hurtful to any mom who has to work outside of the home and I for one am tired of that. There are a lot of women out here in the work place who would never, ever hear about the church if we all stayed home and there are a lot of families getting just as much help and support from a kind and loving Heavenly Father even though mom works. Why can’t we all just be moms and support each other, isn’t that what we all really are? Let’s remove the “ites” from the mother title and just be mothers in Zion!

  2. says

    Wow, I did not get that from this at all. I really don’t think this is a post about chastising people for choosing something different, and I’m surprised it was taken that way. Did you miss the part where she says she wishes she had finished a degree and worked some while staying home? Or where the bishop said she could do more?

    Personally, this post struck a chord with me because I’m feeling like somehow my decision to stay home has turned me into “just a housewife”. I’m aware there are a lot of people who are very happy with this, I have struggled with it.

    While I don’t regret my decision, I’m at a point where I want something else for me, too. So, I get this, and I hope more women get the message that we can be more than one thing. I don’t have a daughter, but if I ever do, I’ll be sure to encourage her to keep her options open while making family a high goal.

  3. says

    I sense a TON of regret and “if-only-I-had’s” mixed with a repeated “but I did what I was told” in there. My mom was like that…she also didn’t go to med school, and regretted it until she passed in January of this year…never all that she could have been. That’s sad, for any of us.

    No judgement on at-home, or out of the home, moms. I have been both. Preferred the at-home by far, although I love my job, too. I had to work to support my kids after a divorce, and was fortunate that my love of computers and writing led me to a profitable career. Even so, I’d still rather be at home. My choice. Just not an option right now.

    But that’s just me — and should not be a basis for judging ANYONE else’s choices.

    We were all made differently, with different talents and needs and personalities…and that even applies to women with kids. Some of us love being at home, some are better suited to the corner office. And I think that’s just the way it was meant to be.

    Life is too short for regrets about “what might have been”

  4. says

    I think that a lot of women think so long as you get the degree, you can always go out and earn a good living. Not true. If you let your skills go while staying home- good luck! It’s important to do something, even something small and unpaid if need be, to retain whatever skills you have gained.

    I just transitioned back to working from being a SAHM for 10 years. I did a lot of volunteer work in my field to keep my skills up. Sometimes I even got paid.

    Thing is, I am THRIVING as a 3/4 time working Mom. Everyone has different skills and talents. Cleaning the house all day is just not fullfilling to me, personally (though I know others love to maintain a gorgeous home).

    Every day I stayed at home, I was up against my weaknesses- the lack of ability to self-impose routine, the monotony of housework. And while I love being with my kids- I got pretty sick of them.

    Now I work while they are in school and I feel like I’m finally ME again! It’s still important to be there for the kids and I earn about 1/2 of what I’m worth since I am not full-time. Still, I am a better Mom and person because I now have the opportunity to shine in the things *I* am good at. Everyone has their own thing. Lucky are those of us who get to choose one way or anyother.

  5. Natalie says

    I just wanted to say this is a really wonderful post, that reminded me of my highest calling. Thank you.

  6. Anonymous says

    It seems everyone is forgetting that children grow up, all too soon. I married right out of high school, got pregnant immediately and in 11 years had 6 children. Getting a degree – that I had always wanted – was impossible at the time. So was saving for retirement.
    When my children were all in school I went back to school part time, as my schedule and budget allowed. Although I’m still working on my degree, emphasis on still because it’s been 12 years already, I’m satisfied with my choices. I love being at home and love being with my kids and grandkids. Some don’t live close by so I don’t see them often. I enjoy the work I do and have structured my work so I can balance my life between work and home.
    Not everyone has these choices, some are obliged to work full time, some just don’t want to be home. We can’t judge.
    The important part is to follow the spirit and do what’s right for you. Relationship with God first, family second, career third. We can often juggle the last two, but everyone has to make their own decision along with their spouse if you have one.

  7. Anonymous says

    I would give anything to stay home “bored” with my kids. I taught school while my husband finished and moved into the world of work. My first born was 4 when I got to quit. I only got two years off. At that time I missed the others I taught with and had two more children. When I found out my husband was laid off I was 7 weeks pregnant with my third. She was 2 months old when I had to begin teaching again. While I had missed teaching, I missed home so much more. That was 16 years ago and with one more son added. I have not been able to stay home since then (the occasional summer is such a treat) and I just die inside when I hear someone complain about just being a “stay at home mom” or that they are bored. COUNT YOUR MANY BLESSINGS!. Also, the prophets don’t deal in trends. All of us should be educated as much as possible but what was true in ’78 is still true today- Raise your precious babies!

  8. Anonymous says

    I had similar feelings after I had my 1st baby. I just felt like I could be doing more. I got my degree in MFHD at BYU with the intent of furthering my education and teaching preschool, but as it happened, I got married and my husband and I graduated at the same time and he took a great job that didn’t allow me to further that education right off. Luckily I found a great outlet for me. I teach a music class out of my home once a week! If there are any moms out there feeling like this and have a music background-check out this website: http://www.letsplaymusicsite.com
    I am able to fill my responsibility as a wife and mother, yet do something that I love–teach music to children! Its a bonus that I get paid to do it!

    Thank you for sharing your writing talents with us and letting us feel ‘validated’ in our decisions to stay home and raise our children we’ve been so blessed with.

  9. says

    Interesting way to take the quote about “failure in the home” as meaning that you should stay home with the kids. I’d say that’s a pretty narrow interpretation, but an interesting one to consider in the personal choice of staying home or not.

    While I know there are exceptions (single breadwinner, etc), it still makes my blood boil a little when someone says they wish they could stay home with their kids. Then, when I ask them why they don’t, they say they can’t afford it. Yet, I know they have the biggest cable package, multiple cell phones, really nice cars, etc. I’m not saying that either option is right or wrong. I just hate hearing the complaint of not being able to stay at home when someone has clearly chosen to work based on their need to support their expensive lifestyle.

    My wife has chosen to stay home with our kids and we’ve been blessed to be able to do that. Although, that choice hasn’t come without some sacrifices. It’s also required me to find ways to help my wife get out of the house and not just be a mother. Some days I certainly fail at that second part, but I know my wife appreciates my effort and concern.

  10. says

    Personally, I have a hard time buying into the notion that working or staying home is an either/or choice. Elder Cook reminded us in this last conference that:

    “Wives are equal to their husbands. Marriage requires a full partnership where wives and husbands work side by side to meet the needs of the family.”

    I interpret this to mean there is no reason why husbands and wives couldn’t be sharing more fully in childrearing to allow for each to pursue education/career opportunities that will bless and provide for the family. Women wouldn’t need to feel guilty for leaving the house if their husband was making himself available to take the reins over home and children in their absence. Family relationships would be stronger as fathers spent more time with their children. Wives wouldn’t be aching with feelings of missed opportunities or feel chained to the house 24/7 with a fussy newborn if they could get out a couple days a week and work/study/create/do whatever they want to do knowing that their very capable spouse, equal parent and partner in the family, would be handling it.

    The problem here is that the conversation women within the church often have is how they can do it all themselves–have a career, raise their children, maintain a clean home that invites the spirit– while their spouse still works 40-60 hours a week. If, instead, we were discussing how TWO capable adults, husband and wife, can work together to make all of those things happen, more attainable solutions may come to light.

    And, yes, this is the life my husband and I are creating together, and it is totally doable for anyone, with a little creativity and a lot of open communication about your needs and dreams.

  11. Anonymous says

    As a mom with 5 children ranging in age from 6 years to 22 years, I have had times when I was at home (not working, ha!), when I was at home working (childcare, typing, you name it), and when I have worked outside the home. A mom is always working. I am and will always be a mom and mom in my world is a synonym for work. I love my kids, but also love my job. I work because I need to assist with bills and not always because of decisions that were made, but often because decisions weren’t made and certainly weren’t made together. I think it is very important how you spend the time you have with your children. Fortunately for me I feel that I have a great relationship with each of my children.

  12. says

    I am one of the Mormon women that married early and I had 10 children and my husband had 4 from another marriage. Because of him, I went back and finished high school and then, inbetween having children, I have gotten 2 Associates degrees for Education and I am almost finished with my BA in Special Education. The only way to do this is through the help of my family – my husband and children. We made the choice to home school our children because they are gifted as well as having special needs. The church doesn’t say that you need to pick one or the other. They simply say that there is no compensation for failure in the home. That simply means that your family needs to come first. That is up to you in how you accomplish that. The church just gives helpful guidelines for it like maybe cutting back if possible so the mom or the dad can be home with the kids. Everyone will have regrets about something. It is important to not let those regrets form your future. That will just lead to more regrets and missing out on what is wonderful now.

  13. Anonymous says

    What is going on here? Following the prophet now doesn’t mean staying at home if you can? I need some clarity here because as far as I know that is still the stance of the church. Also, is beauty school really better for a woman than a four-year or graduate degree? I know maybe that wasn’t what was meant to be implied but really. Very distrubing article on a very touchy topic. This was linked on LDS Living which is part of Deseret Book. Please oh please read this, Sherri Dew, and tell me the offical stance of the church.

  14. Anonymous says

    I say, anyone who gets defensive by this post about working, is feeling guilty. There are different situations and needs for every family. The important FACT is that family should and ought to be the number one priority in all of our lives and come first before anything else. If it isn’t, that is where the “failure” issue comes in. Working because it is needed and necessary is one thing, but working full time so you can have a bunch of toys or extra things that aren’t really needed, is, in my opinion, seeking worldly possesions instead of keeping your eyes on the real goal “the big picture” of doing all you can to teach your children and family so that you can be eternal. “No child left behind” in a spiritual sense. I think if you pray about what is best for your family and receive inspiration on what is right and do it, you can’t go wrong. Don’t worry about what other’s judgements are. Your family, and what is best for your family, is really no one else’s business anyway. There is only on judgement that counts, and we all know who’s that is.

  15. Anonymous says

    Thank you, Deila, for nailing this issue! I appreciate your honest sharing of both regrets and achievements. I, too, know I could have done more educationally and professionally, and absolutely encourage my daughters to pursue the very best of both that is in them. Of course family comes first! And the last thing I want is for a career to rob me of my motherhood… But had I not settled for a degree that fit well with mothering and rather pursued my talents, I would be in a better position today to provide for my family now that my husband cannot. If it were a perfect world, I’d absolutely choose to stay home and let my husband provide… but even the prophet didn’t tell us to prepare for a perfect world. That preparation comes over time with both education and experience. My hope is that mom’s won’t heap guilt upon themselves as they balance this with their divine calling of motherhood.
    (John, I think you’ll find that most moms work to support their children, not their expensive lifestyles.)

  16. says

    Thank you for your comments–I guess.

    We are unique women, and I did not intend to offend any, as our Prophet said in the Oct 2010 General Relief Society Conference:

    “My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?” http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/charity-never-faileth?lang=eng&media=video

    I also interview mormon women that share our faith in this Gospel, but may or may not fit into the stereotype at The Mormon Woman Project (www.mormonwomen.com)

    We need to be more inclusive — and realize that each of us has very different trials in this journey. We are to help each other, and not judge, for we do not really know what another woman/mother/wife is going through. Most of us are trying our best.

    And as far as the comment on beauty school not admirable enough? well, I am speechless.

  17. says

    I really felt uplifted by the sharing of your story today. Thank you for sharing. I can’t believe how similar your experiences have been to mine. I remember that conference comment well and I thought ‘that was said just for me’- after a career as an educator it was time for me to stay at home also to try distance education for our children after trying both private and state systems. I am new in the church and am just puddling my way along. thanks for making me not feel like such an odd bod! I love that we are all able to ‘find our own way’ as sisters of Zion and akin to sisters on similar paths while on the journey without the exclusion of anyone. I think your article read like that!Thank you for making me not feel so ‘un-normal today’ :)

  18. Anonymous says

    I love your article. I too had to make the decision to go back to work after having my daughter or stay home. I could not find anyone that I wanted to raise my child, so my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. After two years I found myself getting licensed to do home child care and took on the opportunity to help raise other mothers children. I have had the blessing to raise my own 4 children as well as many other children over the past 26 years. I have been truly blessed to stay at home with my own children as well as work and help provide for my family. I never thought that I would be using my Business degree in this manner but the Marketing background has helped tremendously when marketing myself to potential clients. It is not always an easy job, but one I truly love doing.

  19. Anonymous says

    This post emphasizes a critical point for women–get all the education you can while you are young, before the obligations (and blessings) of being a mom sponge up every iota of one’s time, energy and brainpower–because they do!

    I completed my BA BK (before kids), but killed myself later for 4 years, one course at a time, to knock off the master’s that allows me to teach p/t in a university setting. Now many of the jobs I find interesting require a PhD. Degree inflation and a glut of qualified people in the marketplace have upped the ante (and we don’t gamble!).

    A troubling statistic: Utah currently ranks dead last in the nation for women earning college degrees (see link). Anecdotally, there seems to be a polarizing educational disparity among LDS women, those with little education and those who have pursued a terminal degree and/or career accomplishment.

    We need to get our girls off facebook and into textbooks. Too many of them dream of a blissful economic future supported by their hard-working, perfect RM spouse, no hiccups anticipated. It’s time to wake up and smell the Postum. Learn every bit you can as young as you can. Parents should minimize boy-craziness by keeping young women focused on personal attainments (double-check the new Personal Progress program) that will stand them in good stead for the very long haul (youth, adulthood, maturity and eternity). And you can take that to the mental, intellectual, spiritual and commercial bank!

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700081296/For-many-Utah-women-family-trumps-college-study-shows.html?pg=1

  20. Anonymous says

    Thank you Delia for your article. I wish stay at home moms and working moms would stop the bashing and realize that we are all taking this journey through life in different ways. I think a lot of mommies – stay at home or working, are trying the best they can. I chose to go to college and then get married, work for a little bit, and then have kids. I know that that way is not for everyone, but my hubby and I chose that. I have absolutely no regrets in doing so. I now work a few days a week for the health insurance. I have been the target of rude comments by other people at church who have even gone so far to ask me why I chose to work over raising my children. I know I don’t have to justify why I work a few days a week, but until you walk a day in someone elses shoes or know their situation, you have absolutely no right to judge them. I work so my children can have health insurance. I don’t work to have another vacation home or a fancy car, but I should not be shunned by people because I work a few days a week. I know that some women at church are intimidated by the ones who are highly educated. I have a master’s degree, but I don’t go around bragging about it. My husband and I are just doing the best we can. I do not let the few girls at church get me down. I know the gospel is true and perfect, not the people in it. On the flip side, I have friends at church too who say they envy me. I get to get up in the morning, wear nice clothes, interact with adults during the day, etc, but I think the grass is always greener on the other side. We just need to all give ourselves more credit and appreciate our lives a little more.

  21. says

    Delia, I loved your post. I understand the mixed feelings. I was fortunate enough to finish my BA before my first daughter was born (something that I knew I needed to do from the time I was very small). I’ve run the gamut of mothering options. I worked full-time for someone else while some of my children were small, I worked from home part-time, I ran my own business away from home, which allowed me to take my little ones to work with me, I’ve run my own business from home, I’ve had time to be able to just be “the mom”, and now I’m working again part-time for someone else. None of these decisions were made lightly and all after much prayer and discussion with my husband and my children.

    We have different needs and different roles at different times. I’ve learned to find and embrace the joy in each one, even when it wasn’t exactly my first choice.

    I am also a writer–and a photographer–and thankful that I have found ways to pursue my passions and support my family at the same time.

    And I never saw that this was a stay-at-home (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one) vs. working-outside-the-home post. Life is definitely too short for us not to support and love one another regardless of our circumstances.

  22. says

    Anonymous said, “I have been the target of rude comments by other people at church who have even gone so far to ask me why I chose to work over raising my children. I know I don’t have to justify why I work a few days a week, but until you walk a day in someone elses shoes or know their situation, you have absolutely no right to judge them”

    Certainly it’s possible that the people asking you this could be judging you and being rude. I wouldn’t put it past them. However, why not give these people the benefit of the doubt in their comments the way you want them to do for you? It’s quite possible that they’re asking you why you chose the path you did not because they’re judging you at all. Instead, it’s possible that similar to this post describes they’re trying to find a way for them to justify working outside of the home too. Maybe your response will help them to deal with the challenging question of whether to stay home or go to work.

  23. says

    Speaking of copyeditors, that’s the work I do from home, and it is a wonderful job for a stay-at-home mom! There are many ways to expand upon the basic profession — I do writing, design, and substantive editing as well. It is fulfilling, rewarding work to help people with their writing. You can work for publishing companies, online editing services, and/or individual clients. BYU offers an editing minor — it’s a great program. I just want to throw that out there for college women who are looking for a good stay-at-home career.

  24. says

    Thank you for all the encouraging comments. And I appreciate the work ideas for women who struggle with what to do–for the needed income and the need or desire to broaden our talents.

    I have often wanted to put together a list of work ideas that women can pursue–and still stay home with their kids, or only work a day or two out of the home. Young women would benefit from being exposed to options that will allow them to be prepared for the future. You never know what life will deal you–marriage, no marriage, kids, no kids, loss of income, loss of spouse, there are so many.

    Thanks for the idea about copyeditors and design and that BYU has a minor in editing. Photography and music lessons were mentioned as well. I know nursing has allowed many women to work as needed and still be home most of the time, or work full time if needed. And teachers, there are options to teach online, check out K12 careers. These are great ideas. If you have others, please share them, really we are all working in this life and trying to do our best.

    I think we all agree in the sanctity of the family.

    I pass judgement on no one. I (and Brigham Young) don’t believe in one stereotype Mormon woman, as you can read here:

    http://deilataylor.blogspot.com/2010/12/mormon-feminists.html

  25. says

    Hooray for Marie! Good comments that support what life is all about. I love the gospel while minding my own beams and motes! :) Life is too short to worry about what other people think of us or what we think of others.

  26. Anonymous says

    Deila, I appreciate your article. I joined the Church in 1977, when I was in 1st year at medical school. I subsequently married and have 5 children. I went through all the years in which I practiced medicine (now stopped due to health issues), battling with inner conflict about the fact that I wasn’t the perfect “LDS” mom. I tried to work part-time most of the time, but somehow, I never felt good enough, because I was working outside our home. What an unnecessary waste of emotional energy. I’m really glad that the emphasis from the general authorities now is more on the fact that we should just be doing the very best that we can. There is a much greater recognition about the fact that many women have no option about needing to work outside the home.

    I too, am trying to earn a bit of a living from writing now.

  27. says

    LDS dad here – I’m surprised at how many LDS moms go through an identity crisis (not just on this site but in general). I don’t mean to judge – I don’t care if you work or stay at home, it’s totally your decision. So, why the indecision? Stay at home moms wish they could work and working moms wish they could stay at home? The grass is greener on the other side?

    All I know is, when I get home from work I drill my wife about every detail that happened because I wish I could be there for all of those moments. When she asks me about my day at work, I’m just like, “Blah, tell me about yours.” I love my job, but her’s is so much better!!

    LDS Dad

  28. says

    As I read your post I really do understand. I had my first child at the age of 20, then divorced. 6 years later I met a wonderful man, who had also been through 2 divorces. Now together we have 7 children and expecting our 8th child in November. There are so many time that I wish that I had a degree to help out when times are tough. However, I look at my kids, well the 4 that are with us all the time and realize that what I do is so much more important. Our kids are happier then the other 3 kids because I spend my time with them. Though my oldest daughter is approaching her teens I try to talk to her about getting a degree, going on her mission, and finding the right person. Yet through everything my husband tells me we can see that we are doing things the right way by the fruit the tree bares, or something close to that. So while I have guilt about not always being able to help I look at my kids and my marriage and I realize that what I am doing is so important. Besides there seems to be a change some stay at home moms are now calling themselves Domestic Engineers. Though I agree working moms and stay at home moms need to support each other.

  29. says

    Interesting way to take the quote about “failure in the home” as meaning that you should stay home with the kids. I’d say that’s a pretty narrow interpretation, but an interesting one to consider in the personal choice of staying home or not.

    While I know there are exceptions (single breadwinner, etc), it still makes my blood boil a little when someone says they wish they could stay home with their kids. Then, when I ask them why they don’t, they say they can’t afford it. Yet, I know they have the biggest cable package, multiple cell phones, really nice cars, etc. I’m not saying that either option is right or wrong. I just hate hearing the complaint of not being able to stay at home when someone has clearly chosen to work based on their need to support their expensive lifestyle.

    My wife has chosen to stay home with our kids and we’ve been blessed to be able to do that. Although, that choice hasn’t come without some sacrifices. It’s also required me to find ways to help my wife get out of the house and not just be a mother. Some days I certainly fail at that second part, but I know my wife appreciates my effort and concern.

  30. Anonymous says

    This post emphasizes a critical point for women–get all the education you can while you are young, before the obligations (and blessings) of being a mom sponge up every iota of one’s time, energy and brainpower–because they do!

    I completed my BA BK (before kids), but killed myself later for 4 years, one course at a time, to knock off the master’s that allows me to teach p/t in a university setting. Now many of the jobs I find interesting require a PhD. Degree inflation and a glut of qualified people in the marketplace have upped the ante (and we don’t gamble!).

    A troubling statistic: Utah currently ranks dead last in the nation for women earning college degrees (see link). Anecdotally, there seems to be a polarizing educational disparity among LDS women, those with little education and those who have pursued a terminal degree and/or career accomplishment.

    We need to get our girls off facebook and into textbooks. Too many of them dream of a blissful economic future supported by their hard-working, perfect RM spouse, no hiccups anticipated. It’s time to wake up and smell the Postum. Learn every bit you can as young as you can. Parents should minimize boy-craziness by keeping young women focused on personal attainments (double-check the new Personal Progress program) that will stand them in good stead for the very long haul (youth, adulthood, maturity and eternity). And you can take that to the mental, intellectual, spiritual and commercial bank!

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700081296/For-many-Utah-women-family-trumps-college-study-shows.html?pg=1

  31. says

    I think that a lot of women think so long as you get the degree, you can always go out and earn a good living. Not true. If you let your skills go while staying home- good luck! It’s important to do something, even something small and unpaid if need be, to retain whatever skills you have gained.

    I just transitioned back to working from being a SAHM for 10 years. I did a lot of volunteer work in my field to keep my skills up. Sometimes I even got paid.

    Thing is, I am THRIVING as a 3/4 time working Mom. Everyone has different skills and talents. Cleaning the house all day is just not fullfilling to me, personally (though I know others love to maintain a gorgeous home).

    Every day I stayed at home, I was up against my weaknesses- the lack of ability to self-impose routine, the monotony of housework. And while I love being with my kids- I got pretty sick of them.

    Now I work while they are in school and I feel like I’m finally ME again! It’s still important to be there for the kids and I earn about 1/2 of what I’m worth since I am not full-time. Still, I am a better Mom and person because I now have the opportunity to shine in the things *I* am good at. Everyone has their own thing. Lucky are those of us who get to choose one way or anyother.

  32. says

    Thank you for your comments–I guess.

    We are unique women, and I did not intend to offend any, as our Prophet said in the Oct 2010 General Relief Society Conference:

    “My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?” http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/charity-never-faileth?lang=eng&media=video

    I also interview mormon women that share our faith in this Gospel, but may or may not fit into the stereotype at The Mormon Woman Project (www.mormonwomen.com)

    We need to be more inclusive — and realize that each of us has very different trials in this journey. We are to help each other, and not judge, for we do not really know what another woman/mother/wife is going through. Most of us are trying our best.

    And as far as the comment on beauty school not admirable enough? well, I am speechless.

  33. says

    Isn’t it a shame we segreagate ourselves, stay-at-home mom versus working mom? While I agree with a lot in this post, it’s very judgemental and somewhat hurtful to any mom who has to work outside of the home and I for one am tired of that. There are a lot of women out here in the work place who would never, ever hear about the church if we all stayed home and there are a lot of families getting just as much help and support from a kind and loving Heavenly Father even though mom works. Why can’t we all just be moms and support each other, isn’t that what we all really are? Let’s remove the “ites” from the mother title and just be mothers in Zion!

  34. says

    Personally, I have a hard time buying into the notion that working or staying home is an either/or choice. Elder Cook reminded us in this last conference that:

    “Wives are equal to their husbands. Marriage requires a full partnership where wives and husbands work side by side to meet the needs of the family.”

    I interpret this to mean there is no reason why husbands and wives couldn’t be sharing more fully in childrearing to allow for each to pursue education/career opportunities that will bless and provide for the family. Women wouldn’t need to feel guilty for leaving the house if their husband was making himself available to take the reins over home and children in their absence. Family relationships would be stronger as fathers spent more time with their children. Wives wouldn’t be aching with feelings of missed opportunities or feel chained to the house 24/7 with a fussy newborn if they could get out a couple days a week and work/study/create/do whatever they want to do knowing that their very capable spouse, equal parent and partner in the family, would be handling it.

    The problem here is that the conversation women within the church often have is how they can do it all themselves–have a career, raise their children, maintain a clean home that invites the spirit– while their spouse still works 40-60 hours a week. If, instead, we were discussing how TWO capable adults, husband and wife, can work together to make all of those things happen, more attainable solutions may come to light.

    And, yes, this is the life my husband and I are creating together, and it is totally doable for anyone, with a little creativity and a lot of open communication about your needs and dreams.

  35. anonymous says

    Young Mother seeking advice:  college educated, raising 2 young children: 4 and 1.  Have traveled extensively, worked as a teacher/humanitarian.  I want to be an amazing mother, plus have a job where I am a.) contributing to the world in a unique way that only I can  b.) share in the financial responsibilities of life.  I want to be happy and fulfilled.  I want to have a clean house, pressed clothes, clean vehicles and eat healthy and balanced meals.  I want to ride my bike whenever possible and be environmentally conscious and fit as well.  HOW CAN I DO THIS?  Please someone…anyone???  Can you tell me how?

  36. says

    Young Mother: I love your list of things you want to do — I do understand. As an older mom, I can say that some of us want to do a lot, even at my age of 57! Hugh Nibley had some very good advice, when he said we can’t do it all, somethings get left. But luckily, this life is not the end of doing and learning. I have learned to let some things go, like a clean house at times, and go ride the bike instead. My marriage has taught me to be less bound by strict schedules, and “go with the flow.” I focus on enjoying the moments, and overlooking the things I did get to do, or things that didn’t go as I expected. It’s hard!  Pick the most important, don’t be hard on yourself when things slip through the cracks, and know that God really does have your best interest in mind. Sometimes, we learn lessons when we don’t have enough money, or we become more compassionate of others who may have not been able to clean out the car after a trip with toddlers (we know how hard that is!)  But I do have an idea– as a teacher there is much you can do from home, apply for K12 as a teacher, you can teach online, get paid too. The internet is opening up a lot of possibilities for those of us who want to be home with our kids and work a little. I love writing articles for the few sites that pay me. You could probably write travel articles, which reminds me I have one to write tonight. 

  37. says

    Yea, I love that quote–my hubby says, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. I look at my kids and am truly thankful that I was there for them, and as they are older now (ages 30 -16), they tell me all the time they are glad I was home and helped them so much with school decisions and work decisions. The Lord has blessed us, even though there were times when we had no idea where the next paycheck was coming from.(The kids never knew) 

  38. Anonymous says

    I say, anyone who gets defensive by this post about working, is feeling guilty. There are different situations and needs for every family. The important FACT is that family should and ought to be the number one priority in all of our lives and come first before anything else. If it isn’t, that is where the “failure” issue comes in. Working because it is needed and necessary is one thing, but working full time so you can have a bunch of toys or extra things that aren’t really needed, is, in my opinion, seeking worldly possesions instead of keeping your eyes on the real goal “the big picture” of doing all you can to teach your children and family so that you can be eternal. “No child left behind” in a spiritual sense. I think if you pray about what is best for your family and receive inspiration on what is right and do it, you can’t go wrong. Don’t worry about what other’s judgements are. Your family, and what is best for your family, is really no one else’s business anyway. There is only on judgement that counts, and we all know who’s that is.

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