Question from Wendy:
I have a question that I hope you can help me with. In reading lesson 13 or 14 [of Mindset Mastery] I found part of the answer in your “temporary imbalance”. This is a good analogy and seems to answer the question about juggling the needs of your children while trying to run a successful business.
[But] I am struggling with some baggage that I can’t seem to figure out what to do with.
The baggage is this– sometimes I let my children be my excuse why I can’t succeed – it seems to be like the “money is evil” thing for me. But it is “mom’s who make money aren’t as righteous as mom’s who stay home full time and take care of their children.” Logically, I have several problems with this. One being that I have an Aunt who has all her children grown and she is now trying to get into her married son’s business and insist they have a grand baby for her?? Ok, so that is too weird, certainly, but I can see that it is because she dedicated her whole life to her children, and had nothing once that they all left. Surely our ultimate goal as parents is to put our selves out of a job, but it seems that there is a very fine balance between being to involved outside the home, and not having a life outside of your children…
I am currently working full time as an RN while my husband is in school full time. This has been really hard on our family and although I love the work I do, it always pulls me away from my children. I went from being a full time stay home homeschooling mom, to full time work almost over night after my husband came home from work complaining of stroke-like symptoms. This, after multiple “smaller warnings” from his body that he was not doing well. Anyway, in the car with 5 of my children wondering what I will do if my husband dies (not a happy drive home), I decided that I would have to get my RN license back and start working again. We have chosen to only have one person working at a time, always trying to have a stay home parent. This has been good for my husband’s health issues and given him the needed time to go back to school and go into a field that I hope will bring him fulfillment and joy, as well as provide well for our family.
So I guess I am hoping you have some ways that (as an LDS woman who is striving to make money) you have overcome this conflict. I guess I assume you have had to deal with it as I have in relief society and in homeschool groups. Not that what they think is really important to me, except it is what my “programming” is already saying.
Any help you have and ideas that will help would be greatly appreciated.
Here’s my Answer:
I wish I had time to spill all my guts about this one… it’s been a wrenching journey of my own to come to a conclusion I feel good about, and I am pretty sure it’s going to be part of what comes out in the Jackrabbit Factor sequel [update: which it did – read it free at PortaltoGenius.com], but let me just say this:
I’m convinced that Beverly Cleaver did our society a disservice. Since when in ALL of history, since God created the world, has woman EVER been able to sit at home and dust the shelves and read to her kids all day? She has always worked the fields, and done all kinds of manual labor just to keep the home running. What have all of our conveniences done for us? Should they have justified our right to watch tv with the kids and fold laundry while we’re entertained? Or should it have freed us up to make a more meaningful contribution, not just to our families, but to humanity at large? For what other purpose was the Relief Society organized? To make crafts for our home so that it can be the beautiful place where we teach our children that it’s wrong for mother to work?
Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s always better if the mother can be the one who is home. But as the prophets have said, sometimes there has to be individual adaptations, and you can be grateful that you have a marketable skill that can help in your situation with an ailing husband. Either way, kids need a nurturing parent, and they need to SEE how we make our contributions to the family and to others. It sets an example of industry.
And (as you’ll see more completely in your Mindset Mastery lessons), what matters more that what you do is how you feel about what you’re doing, and how you talk about it with the kids. Things really changed when I stopped apologizing to them for being so busy, and instead rallied their help for the cause, because “this is what our family does.”
I also strongly believe that when women’s traditional labors were turned over to automatic machinery, that should have freed us up to follow and act upon the sparks in our hearts that God gave us to make a difference in society… to bring RELIEF to our SOCIETY, in whatever form or fashion we feel driven.
Yes, it’s easier to work outside the home sometimes. There are less distractions, and a great feeling of being appreciated. I’ve been there. It can lure a person into a permanent set up, which has in some cases lead to the disintegration of the family. You have to follow the Spirit and do the right thing for your family, no matter what anyone else may say or think. If you’re doing what the Spirit directs, you don’t have to worry about the outcome.
It’s not the easy thing to combine motherhood with the work we do. But it’s possible, and during those temporary seasons of imbalance, the children’s dormant abilities will begin to sprout.
For example, my kids have learned that sometimes if they want dinner, they have to step up to the plate and make it happen. When they are motivated by a need, it’s no longer an assigned chore, it’s a contribution to the family, and they feel the psychic reward that comes from stepping into leadership of their own choice. If they choose to go hungry instead, then they get what they choose. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s life… and where better to learn it than in the home? Even my 5 year old has learned that she can be responsible for feeding herself a sandwich or cereal if something hasn’t been made FOR her.
What about the family meals around the table? We do those as often as we reasonably can, because we feel those are important. Like I said, I’m talking about temporary seasons of imbalance – not permanent ones.
Well, this is already more than I planned to say, but hopefully it’s helpful. Believe me when I say I’ve felt guilty for working as much as I do, but I have to wonder, why on earth would God give me the ideas I get if he didn’t want me to do something with them? Every time I deny them, I feel the Spirit leave. Every time I honor them, and develop them, even at the expense of getting the laundry done or whatever, I feel the Spirit supporting and guiding me. I’ve had to come to the conclusion that it’s the adversary who wants me to shrink and NOT do all I know I can do.
Even my patriarchal blessing says: “Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in your work as well, and you shall accomplish the purposes you have in mind.” When I got the blessing, that part really bothered me, because I didn’t want to have any work to do. I just wanted to be Mom. I had no idea that I had a work to do, but now I know it’s true, and I cannot let anyone else’s opinion of how I spend my time get in the way of it.
The scripture that has given me the most peace about it is this one from Proverbs 31:
10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
To me, this means that the picture-perfect wife at home doing light domestic chores and coddling the kids cannot compare to a woman who is THIS busy. Thank heavens… because I wouldn’t want anyone to come take a picture of ME while I do what I do all day long! When you’re as busy as I am with seven children and an international business that we run out of our home, there isn’t time to keep my hair in highlights, or my fingernails in acrylic. I’m lucky if I get a shower sometimes. And I LOVE my life – wouldn’t have it any other way. There is so much joy in being industrious.
I’m not one who runs a perfect better-homes-and-garden household and struggles with the feeling of: “I don’t know who I am anymore”! Furthermore, when the kids are gone, I will not be left wondering, “So, now what do I do??”
Again, I love my life and I know I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t always been so sure, but I’ve scrutinized each step along the way, hoping I was making the right choice, and have been glad I did. I don’t question it so much anymore. I’m sure there is a “right” path for you, too. It may be different than what you think, so just stay open minded and ask for direction and peace of mind about it as you go.