Sunday, December 4, 2011

Being a mother, in my own way

You know those times in Sunday School where you just need to say something but then the moment passes and you don't say it so you have to come home and blog about it?

Maybe not, but I do.

Tim and I have been attending the "Marriage and Parenting" class at Church. Mistake numero uno. The only reason I went today is because the nursery is really close to it, and Theodore has been having a hard time the past few weeks when we leave, so I was nervous he would freak out, and we can hear the kids crying from our room so I would know and be able to go get him (I'm not really into letting him cry for silly reasons...) Anywho. If last week's lesson on fatherhood was frustrating ("how do we support our husbands as fathers?" "make sure the house is clean and SMELLS GOOD when they get home... even if you had a bad day, touch up your make-up and greet him with a smile, make him want to come home because he's been working SO HARD ALL DAY"), this week's lesson on motherhood was slightly upsetting. I love the teacher. She is actually a beautiful person, my best visiting teacher ever, and just as sweet and friendly as can be. And I actually agreed with a lot, partially. Mothers are irreplaceable and awesome and love their children unconditionally. But then came to the part about working.

Here's how it went: Some mothers have to work to support their families, and we feel awful for them and they do the best we can. But some moms also work so their families can live in big houses and drive fancy cars... and they really need to sort out their priorities and make sacrifices to stay at home with their children.

Uhhhh... what about the moms that love their jobs and work because they want to? Heaven forbid we should want to work outside the home, though, right? I certainly don't have to work, and I certainly don't work to have a big house and fancy car. I'm choosing to work because I genuinely enjoy it. I enjoy my kid too, but in a different way. I like my job a lot. And I feel a strong pull to go back to school and have prayed about it and it feels like the thing I'm really supposed to do. So, why not address that aspect?

Valerie Hudson gave her final lecture last Wednesday. She said something that really hit me. I've heard it before from her, but it never struck me in such a way. She told of how there were many nights when she fell to her knees and cried to God that she was done, she wanted to be home with her children (she had eight!) and not be a professor anymore. And each time, she received the same confirmation that God needed her in our classrooms at BYU. I know she has had so much influence for good at BYU, and her legacy and teachings will extend through the generations. She taught me what it was like to be a strong, independent woman and to speak my mind. That it's ok to be really smart. That women and mothers matter more than I realized (and that childbirth could be natural and breastfeeding a 2-yr-old is not as weird as our society makes it out to be...) She has influenced my ideas and helped me become the woman, wife, and mother I want to be. How grateful am I that she listened to God during those hard times when she was exhausted and over-stretched.... how grateful am I that her husband is supportive of her career and a wonderful father and husband. Her kids were not neglected in any way, they always had a loving and involved parent around. Just like my children will have. And maybe at some points it will be their dad, and maybe at some points it will be their mom. And they'll be ok.


  1. I don't know this Dr. Hudson, but then I don't know much about BYU. I'm an Aggie, but that aside. Thank you for this.
    I currently am not working, but am looking for work. Have been for months. My husband got put in the position of being forced out of his old job at Walmart and we decided to have me go back to wok instead.
    I love my kids, I really do. But the constant whining and crying and mommy do this and mommy do that. It drives me completely insane!
    I want to work becuase I am seriously a better mom when I do. My mental health status is better. And my husband appreciates being able to go out with the guys for game night once a week without threats on his life that I'm stuck home alone with the kids yet agian.

  2. I like this post, as a lot of things you say. I think you guys are doing a fabulous job of being parents. I'm sure you have already listened, but I just listened to the Mormon Matters podcast on motherhood, and it did me some good. Hopefully we'll see you whilst in Utah!

  3. love. love. love this. thank you for writing what i have such a hard time explaining to others.

    Where is Dr. Hudson going?

  4. To me, this goes along with most other parenting decisions (breastfeeding/formula, co-sleeping/crib, natural/epidural/c-section birthing, etc.) as no one else's business. Let's all just be cool and let it be!

  5. *Like*

    Also, I really appreciated your thoughts on my breastfeeding post. I actually love what you have to say on the topic and agree with it. My post was a vent and it was over exaggerated. I really do look forward to our next baby (who isn't coming for many, many moons...) so I can give it a better shot. I think having a little experience on my side, having one infant, and having it be a bigger goal will help. Oh and having a VBAC and actually being allowed to nurse my child the first day he/she is born should help too... seriously, I think that was my biggest hurdle.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now, but seriously. I love what you have to say on the topic. Don't hold back!

  6. Hi there. Yes, I follow your blog now. All I can say is a resounding YES, YES, YES to your post.

  7. I've worked almost 4 years of our 7 year marriage. I'm expecting #4. My children are fairly well-adjusted and educated. My husband shares in the nurturing, cooking, cleaning. And I don't wear much make-up. (J/K). Like Amy, I'm a better person when I work and I hate those lessons too.

  8. I think it is honestly a "To Each Their Own" situation. I don't want to work outside the home (at least while my kids are out of school) and that is the right decision for my family, but for you and your family it is different. I think the "YOU HAVE TO DO THIS" culture comes from women's own insecurities and uncertainty in their own lives. No two people have the same path and it's important to remember that and not get lost in the "what do people think" and only junk like that. Good luck with your PhD!