"Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! Self-pity is always a sad thing to see, and especially when there is no justification for it. To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding-up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling."
I have been pondering over this for some time now.. I feel like I need to speak what is on my mind. And, well, this is how I feel, what I believe. I say this only because I feel like no one is speaking for the truth. So you won't find any apologies here.
The world seems to have something else to say.. about women, their roles, how they should mother, how many children they should bear, how long they should stay at home mothering their children..
Today's economy says enough on it's own. There are more families who feel it necessary to become a multiple income household. Just in case.
"No matter what you read or hear, no matter what the differences of circumstances you observe in the lives of women about you, it is important to understand that the Lord holds motherhood and mothers sacred and in the highest esteem."
With all of this "noise" going on all around me, I went to a book, and not just any old book. This is a book dad gave to me when I was pregnant with Lynn, and was being bombarded from all directions about these "details".
"You should work up until the day you go into labor."
"You should work so you can take full benefit of you maternity leave."
"You have family around.. they can help you so you can work after you have the baby."
But none of this was my plan. It never had been. This one detail was the biggest deal-breaker of a previous engagement.
I wanted to stay at home.
He didn't think it was the right thing to do.. (hhmmmm.. funny as this is what our prophets have admonished us to do...)
Lucky for me, Merrill wanted the same thing.
This book brought me comfort then, reassured me that my choice was correct, and it silences all of those outside voices now.
"One of the important messages that emerges from the history of great women in all ages is that they cared more for the future of their families than for their own comfort. Such good women had a grasp of what matters in life. "
I stay at home.
Sometimes, when I stop and think about it, it's kind of scary... and I am not talking about the dirty diapers and tantrums ;) I am talking about how, financially, this works. We haven't had a raise in pay since right before Lynn was born. We have had our medical benefits dropped, to where we cover them. Every child we have is an out-of-pocket expense.. those are exciting, yet very stressful times. Would me, going outside of our home to work, help ease this stress? It might; but cause only more...
But I believe in exercising faith. We are blessed. We make it.
I don't get a lot of extras. When I come to think of it, even the hobbies I enjoy "doing for myself", really are for the benefit of my family.
If the girls need new shoes, but I would like to replace the ones I have been wearing for the last five years, new shoes for the girls it is.
That's part of being a mother.
Sacrificing wants for needs.
Would I love a new car, a new home, a dream vacation? Of course. But at what cost?
My children, spending time with them, being the one to raise, nurture, and care for them, is what matters most to me. Not sending them off to pay someone to do it half-hearted for me.
So, some people might say, "What about the time for yourself? To find 'you'?"
I echo what President Kimball has said:
".. we can find ourselves only by losing ourselves."
Lose myself in serving my husband, my children, my neighbors, my friends, and my family. I have discovered so much about who I really am, when I shut out the world, the materialism, and concentrate and focus my efforts on others.
I am not saying that the loads of laundry don't seem monotonous, that I don't sneak off to the craft store after dinner is cleaned up and dad can take over for a bit.. I am saying it is all more than worth it.
I am making my home.
"It is true of all of us that, as we progress spiritually, our sense of belonging, identity, and self-worth increases."
Time for myself, whether I am blogging, scrapbooking, reading, or just relaxing, helps me to connect spiritually. Having that extra hour, maybe an hour and a half some days ;) before the girls wake up.. that helps the day go much better. I am able to center myself, prepare myself for the craziness that usually ensues.
I don't need to leave my home, place my children in the care of another, in order to "find myself".
Motherhood is full of experiences that allow for growth and self development... if you open yourself to it.
"It was never easy to bear and rear children, but easy things do not make for growth and development."
And there are days which I think I will never recover from.. but I do. I learn that I have strength to do more than I ever thought I would be able to.
I have many fears about motherhood. Some have been jumped over like a literal hurdle..
- relationships with more than one daughter (aahhhh!!!)
Point is, I knew who I was, I had an identity before I got married, before I had my own children. I learn more about myself everyday, through the eyes of my children.. we get to learn together. What a blessing!
I am thankful, to be blessed enough, that it isn't a necessity for me to leave my home, and my children, to go to work.
I know that there are many, who must, and my heart breaks for them. I have a good friend who would give anything to be in the position to be home with her children, to be there when they get home from school, to be there when they are ill. But she can't. She isn't working for the new car in the garage. For the mortgage.
It puts a smile on my face, makes my spirit soar when I hear my daughters' desires are to be mothers...
"We have grown strong as a people because our mothers and our women have been so selfless."
I hope my example, like those before me, and those great examples of womanhood that surround me, carry on.
(My quotes were taken from the book: "My Beloved Sisters" words spoken by President Spencer W. Kimball at two separate women's conferences in the 70's.. my how they still apply today!)