Monday, November 10, 2014

Just a Stay at Home Mom

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my role as a mother. There's something about spending all my time with a 2 year old while creating another precious little life (complete with all the ups and downs of the pregnancy adventure)... I guess you could say that mommyhood is on my mind. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to stay home. I understand that it is a privilege to have the option--to have a husband who is able to support his family in such a wonderful way. We live a very comfortable life, and I get to take care of the cutest girl in all of history. I'm so blessed! I have the best job in the world. Yet, there's another side to the story as well. Even the best things in life come with complimentary trials. It's not always cupcakes and perfect day trips to the museum... my days are often repetitive, running together in a way which makes it easy to lose my sense of time, and my sense of self. My time is filled with mundane tasks, a lack of stimulating conversation, patience-trying toddler breakdowns, and messes that happen faster than my ability to clean them up (Klair is a viable tornado at times). The harder aspects of being a "stay-at-home-mom" are compounded by a world and culture that isn't always supportive of my decision. I graduated from a liberal arts college. I  know what many educated individuals think of my choice to not work outside the home. I had plenty of professors, people that I considered real mentors in many ways, who would view my decision as a waste of potential--who would label me as a sad cliche in Mormon Utah. And, there are also times when the oppression comes from within--from myself. I see successful women all around me making important, amazing contributions to the world. As a feminist at heart, this makes me incredibly happy. Yet, it's easy to wonder at my place in it all... to look at the insurmountable mountain of laundry and wonder if my time might be spent in a better way.

I often have people ask "do you work?" implying that if one stays at home with kids, they don't really work. I usually don't let these microaggressions get to me, but sometimes they do. I want to answer "yes I do, I'm a stay-at-home mom!" But... I'm terrible with confrontation... and opt for the path of least resistance by responding in a less hostile albeit defeated manner.

"No, I'm just a stay-at-home mom." Just a stay-at-home mom.

In my moments of self doubt I turn to my religion--the core of my beliefs--and find solace there. I am infinitely grateful to be part of a religion that values women and our divine role of motherhood. I am not just a stay-at-home mom. I am a mother, a woman with many choices who has made a decision to forgo a second income and the personal fulfillment that a career could bring to focus on what I believe to be the most important thing I will ever do in this life and into eternity.

I am a a mom. I am a stay-at-home mom! No "just" about it.
And I'm grateful for the opportunity and confident in this decision.

*Note to the reader: This post is in no way an attack on women who work outside the home. The choice of whether or not to work is a very personal one, made for many reasons, and I am in no position to judge what is right or best for any given individual or family. My own mother worked outside the home, and she was a wonderful mom--a superwoman of sorts who managed to somehow stay on top of it all. This post is simply my assertion that being a stay-at-home mom is a good decision to make, and it should be supported with the same fervor that any other career choice would receive.

With that in mind, below is a compilation of LDS quotes regarding women and motherhood that I have found personally uplifting and inspiring. Many of these are applicable to all women--regardless of job or maternal status. Again, how grateful I am to be part of a church that values women, and helps us to see the glaring reality that we, in our inherent nature and at the core of our being, are something of divinity. 

That being said, I'll let the words speak for themselves:

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). …
“… By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

President Howard W. Hunter 

“The First Presidency has said: ‘Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind’ (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75], 6:178).

Sister Patricia T. Holland

“Eve was given the identity of ‘the mother of all living’ … before she ever bore a child. It would appear that her motherhood preceded her maternity, just as surely as the perfection of the Garden preceded the struggles of mortality. I believe mother is one of those very carefully chosen words, one of those rich words—with meaning after meaning after meaning. We must not, at all costs, let that word divide us. I believe with all of my heart that it is first and foremost a statement about nature, not a head count of our children.

“… Some women give birth and raise children but never ‘mother’ them. Others, whom I love with all my heart, ‘mother’ all their lives but have never given birth. And all of us are Eve’s daughters, whether we are married or single, maternal or barren. We are created in the image of the Gods to become gods and goddesses” (“‘One Thing Needful’: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 33).

Sister Sheri L. Dew

"Are we not all mothers?"

"Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand 'steadfast and immovable' regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.

When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve 'the mother of all living' —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality,  righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood.  Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us" (Ensign, November 2001).

President David O. McKay 

“[The] ability and willingness [to] properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world” (Gospel Ideals, 453).

President George Albert Smith

“ is by love, real genuine love of our fellows, that we accomplish the most. A mother’s love seems to be the most perfect and the most sincere, the strongest of any love we know anything about. I, for one, rejoice in it because of its wonderful example to me” (Gospel Standards, 152).

“You [referring to LDS women] are…more blessed than any other women in all the world.  You were the first women to have the franchise; the first women to have a voice in the work of a church.  It was God that gave it to you and it came as a result of revelation to a Prophet of the Lord.  Since that time, think what benefits the women of this world have enjoyed.  Not only you belonging to the Church have enjoyed the blessing of equality, but when the Prophet Joseph Smith turned the key for the emancipation of womankind, it was turned for all the world, and from generation to generation the number of women who can enjoy the blessings of religious liberty and civil liberty has been increasing”  (President George Albert Smith, Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1945).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this” (Neal A. Maxwell, The Women of God, Ensign, May 1978).

President Heber J. Grant

“There seems to be a power which the mother possesses in shaping the life of the child that is far superior, in my judgment, to the power of the father, and this almost without exception. … After all it is by love, real genuine love of our fellows, that we accomplish the most. A mother’s love seems to be the most perfect and the most sincere, the strongest of any love we know anything about. I, for one, rejoice in it because of its wonderful example to me” (Gospel Standards, 152).

Elder Matthew Cowley

"Men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men [the priesthood], but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children” (Matthew Cowley Speaks (1954), 109). 

President Ezra Taft Benson

"No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than that of mother" (Fireside address, 22 Feb. 1987).

President Spencer W. Kimball

"We had full equality as his spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God’s perfected love for each of us. The late Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote:

'The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike' (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161).

Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 11:11). Both a righteous man and a righteous woman are a blessing to all those their lives touch" (Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102–4).

“Each of you should be grateful to be a woman!  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. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help, to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife. ” (Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters, New Era, Jan 1979)

President Ezra Taft Benson

"...God bless our wonderful mothers. We pray for you. We sustain you. We honor you as you bear, nourish, train, teach, and love for eternity. I promise you the blessings of heaven and “all that [the] Father hath” (see D&C 84:38) as you magnify the noblest calling of all—a mother in Zion" (Fireside address, 22 Feb. 1987). 

President Wilford Woodruff 

“I consider that the mother has a greater influence over her posterity than any other person can have. And the question has arisen some time ‘When does this education begin?’ Our prophets have said, ‘When the spirit life from God enters into the tabernacle.’ The condition of the mother at that time will have its effect upon the fruit of her womb; and from the birth of the child, and all through life, the teachings and the example of the mother govern and control in a great measure, that child, and her influence is felt by it through time and eternity” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 269-270).

President Gordon B. Hinckley 

"First let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan.
Without you the plan could not function. Without you the entire program would be frustrated. As I have said before from this pulpit, when the process of creation occurred, Jehovah, the Creator, under instruction from His Father, first divided the light from the darkness and then separated the land from the waters. There followed the creation of plant life, followed by the creation of animal life. Then came the creation of man, and culminating that act of divinity came the crowning act, the creation of woman.

Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright. You need no defense of that position."

"What a resource are the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You love this Church; you accept its doctrine; you honor your place in its organization; you bring luster and strength and beauty to its congregations. How thankful we are to you. How much you are loved, respected, and honored.

I salute my own beloved companion. It will soon be 60 years ago that we walked from the Salt Lake Temple as husband and wife, with love for one another. That love has strengthened through all of these years. We have faced many problems during our years of marriage. Somehow, with the blessing of the Lord, we have survived them all.

It is becoming physically harder to stand tall and straight as we did in our younger years. No matter—we still have one another and we still stand together, even though we lean a little. And when the time for separation comes, there will be much of sorrow, but there will also be the comfort that will come from the assurance that she is mine and I am hers for the eternity that lies ahead" (Ensign, Nov. 1996, 67–70).

“I am convinced there is no other organization anywhere to match the Relief Society of this Church. It has a membership of more than five million women across the earth. If they will be united and speak with one voice, their strength will be incalculable…It is so tremendously important that the women of the Church stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing Strong and Immovable, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan 2004).

Sister Sheri L. Dew

“Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood you have been shortchanged.  They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman.  We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge ‘armed’ with power.  Sisters, we as women are not diminshed by priesthood power, we are magnified by it” (Sheri Dew, It is not Good for Man or Woman to be Alone, Liahona, Jan 2002). 

“Here is the truth about womanhood. Our Father gave His daughters a divine endowment of gifts that give us unique influence. First and foremost, we have the high privilege of bearing children…No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord’s secret weapon…The world won’t tell us this stunning truth, but the Spirit will…It is time for us to wake up to the potential magnitude of our full influence as latter-day women of God and then to arise and do what we were sent here to do” (Sheri Dew, May 1, 2008, BYU Women’s Conference).

Elder Quentin L. Cook

"A recent United States study asserts that women of all faiths “believe more fervently in God” and attend more religious services than men do. “By virtually every measure they are more religious.”2
I was not surprised by this result, particularly as I reflected on the preeminent role of families and women in our faith. Our doctrine is clear: Women are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves them. 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. ("LDS Women are Incredible!" Ensign April 2011)

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“There are those who suggest that males are favored of the Lord because they are ordained to hold the priesthood.  Anyone who believes this does not understand the great plan of happiness.  The premortal and mortal natures of men and women were specified by God Himself, and it is simply not within His character to diminish the roles and responsibilities of any of His children” (M. Russell Ballard, Women of Righteousness, Ensign, Apr 2002).

Mary Ellen Smoot

“One person can make a difference. Each one of you has unique gifts. Use your gifts to serve others. As we walk in His light, we become women of courage and conviction. We become women of vision, women of destiny, and women of eternal value. Join with us to build spiritual strength, to radiate truth to the world and to celebrate the family. We are a worldwide circle of sisters” (Mary Ellen Smoot, Come, Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord, Ensign, Nov 1998).

Chieko N. Ozazaki

“Sisters, strengthen yourselves by seeking the source of true strength—the Savior.  Come unto him.  He loves you.  He desires your happiness and exults in your desires for righteousness.  Make him your strength, your daily companion, your rod and your staff.  Let him comfort you.  There is no burden we need bear alone.  His grace compensates for our deficiencies.  Your strength will strengthen others—your children, your husband, your friends, and your sisters in the gospel.  That strength will flow back from them to you when you need it” (Chieko N. Okazaki, Strength in the Savior, Ensign, Nov. 1993). 

President Thomas S. Monson

"I assure you tonight that I honor you, the women of the Church, and am well aware, to quote William R. Wallace, that 'the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world'" ("Three Goals to Guide You," Ensign October 2007). 

“Remember who you are and what God expects you to become" (If Ye are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear, October 2004).


  1. I love this... I don't have kids yet, but when I do I really want to be a stay at home mom, at least until they start school...I'm not sure I will be able to and that makes me sad! I'm glad you get to enjoy your daughter!!!

    1. Thank you! And I really hope it works out that you can stay home with your kids, it really is the best job ever. I do know from experience though that you can still be an AMAZING working mom!


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