Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learning and Choosing to Be Happy at Home

Today I am over at Empowering LDS Women for their series this week about finding balance in motherhood. Here is just a snippet of the start of my article so that you will go over and read the whole thing. I'd love some feedback on this one!



When I was 17 years-old one of my best friends and I were sitting backstage at play rehearsal. I can't remember now what prompted it but I remember that I turned to her and told her,

"Promise me, cross your heart and swear to die, that if I ever call you and tell you that I am getting married before the age of 24, have a baby before I get my Master's Degree or decide to be a stay-at-home mom that you will kidnap me and knock some sense into me-- even if I telly you I am happy-- just remind me of what I told you today."

She promised, because she could see I spoke those words in dead seriousness. I really meant them. In my 17 year-old mind getting married young, not having an advanced degree, having a house full of babies, and having no career outside of your home were the epitome of failure. Those were all the things that "ordinary" LDS women did and I was certain that they were all faking happiness. I was certain that I was not, and was never going to be, one of those "ordinary" LDS women.

Well, ten years later I am truly grateful that my friend seems to have forgotten her oath, because it turned out that I got married at 21, passed up the opportunity to do my Master's degree to have a baby, chose to be a stay-at-home mom full time instead of continuing with my career path, and fully intend (if God wills it) to have a house full of babies. Basically, according to my 17 year-old self, I am a failure.

Yet I am sincerely happier than I have ever imagined I'd ever be.

I honestly don't know where my 17 year-old perspective on motherhood and womanhood developed. My mother worked full-time for all of my growing up life but she always loved being a mother and made us feel loved. I had wonderful youth leaders who guided and taught me-- and most of them were stay at home mothers. Yet despite all the wonderful women in my life I think that the world's perceptions of womanhood and motherhood must have been the stronger voices. I wish there was a way that I could go back and tell that very confused and angry little 17 year-old that the path I have chosen, even though it is not what I thought I would choose, has brought me more joy and peace than I could ever fathom. I wish I could give her a little glimpse into the lessons that God would teach her and the paths he would lead her down in the next ten years that would soften and change her heart. I wish I could tell her that "our ways are not always God's ways" and that he knows better than anyone, even us, what will make us happy.

Specifically there are three lessons that I've learned over the last several years...

Read the rest

8 comments:

  1. I read and really loved your article. I have been praying for ways of how to balance my life as mom, wife, church goer...etc. and the tips you shared of how to juggle all that were so refreshing to read. Really an answer to my prayers. And what relief it brought me, too! I can't thank you enough for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think out 17 year old selves would have been good friends. I'm happy to be wrong! I can't wait to read the rest of your post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ugh... I hate when I'm not logged into the right account. Reading is me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was me at 17 too. Loved your article, absolutely fantastic and very readable and relate able. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Really awesome, Heather.

    You are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really liked your article. The message really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great article. Have you read the article "Women in the Image of the Son: Being Female and Being Like Christ" from the 1991 Women's Conference? If not, I thought you’d like it. (It's in the LDS Women’s Treasury: Insights and Inspiration for Today’s Woman [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 53. And also in Women Steadfast in Christ: Talks Selected from the 1991 Women’s Conference Co-sponsored by Brigham Young University and the Relief Society, ed. Dawn Hall Anderson and Marie Cornwall (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 95.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great article. I read it a few weeks ago when you first published it--I had had a rough mothering day and it brought me to tears. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and writing talents.

    ReplyDelete