We come together in the early morning dark, on street corners or in front of our houses, whispering our greetings to each other. We have sleep in our voices, and mascara under our eyes, with hair pulled back in hasty ponytails. No one cares that I wear the same thing almost every single morning.
Under the cover of darkness, we know each other intimately. When we’re running side by side, it’s somehow easier to talk about the mean girl in my daughter’s class, or her struggles with her calling. Nothing is off limits– we talk about doubt and faith, the joys and sorrows of our husbands and children, politics (even when we disagree), sex, how we all want more sleep and less time on the sidelines at soccer games, vacation plans, periods, grocery shopping, shaving our legs, recipes, why we don’t want to have another baby, why we’re dying to go back to work, who gives the best pedicures, and all our fears. Read more
Kate Sherwood is on an adventure. After focusing on being the mother of the most amazing daughter, she is now in her third and final year of law school. Having been a military child, Kate is excited to go anywhere her future career takes her. She blogs at http://bjj-law-living.
The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting into medical school. I do not pretend the Lord stopped me. I know it was the result of some of my choices. But, if I had gone to medical school and had a family, I would have been destroyed by not being able to make the two worlds of surgery and motherhood mesh, each at 100% capacity. I am not saying other women cannot accomplish this marvelously. I just know, in hindsight, I would have been undone.
So, I worked full time before I got married. My new husband already had two children. I started my own medical transcription business so that I could work from home, which was perfect, I thought. It was not perfect when our baby was born. I worked at the computer with our baby nearby. When my husband came home from work, he took her away so I could keep working. I could hear him playing with her and having fun. He would take her in the backpack on his cool-down walks after his runs. When she got hungry, he would bring her back to me to nurse. Then, he would take her away again. He got to be Dad, but I did not get to be Mom. I was just the wet nurse. I took work on our vacations too, playing dictation tapes with power from the cigarette lighter in the car and running the laptop off of its battery, and I continued to work at our destination. Observing the Sabbath was truly a blessing. Meanwhile, other problems in my marriage escalated. Even this difficult work experience, though, was turned to something good when I needed it later. Read more
his subject comes up again and again every time I’m together with a bunch of moms; do you force your child to keep taking piano lessons even when he starts to hate it and complains endlessly? Most parents were allowed to quit and always bemoan the fact that their parents didn’t make them keep with it. I come from the opposite side: my mother wouldn’t allow me to quit. “You’ll thank me one day!” she loved to say.
I never liked playing the piano. Never. It was not the instrument that spoke to me. I wanted to play the harp. “That’s much too expensive!” my mother informed me on more than one occasion; expensive unlike, say . . . a piano? Because pianos are dirt cheap, don’t you know. Anyway, playing the piano–and eventually the organ–was my mother’s dream. The woman loves an audience and the thought of playing in front of the church congregation every week was her fondest wish. But she had nine siblings and her mom let her quit when she complained, blahblahblah. We all know where she was coming from. So my mother decided that she would force her children to play the piano until they graduated from high school no matter what. They would praise her name for it one day! Read more
I have noticed for many years now that the narrative we tell about women and work in the Church does not reflect the reality I see around me. Women are encouraged to get an education and to develop their talents and skills, but we are also told that women who have children should make mothering their families their primary responsibility and forgo employment outside the home. The most common dichotomy I see presented to women is a choice between some sort of high-powered, high-prestige full-time career, and staying out of the workforce for years to be a full-time mother. Yet, when I look around at my friends and family who are members of the Church, I see hundreds of different lives with diverse, individual choices. I know women who have a high level of education who have followed the promptings of the Spirit to stay out of the workforce. I know women who have a high level of education who have followed the promptings of the Spirit to have established careers with high levels of responsibility and prestige. I know other women who have never worked and who started families at a young age. I know women who don’t have a high level of education and work low-prestige jobs. I know women who work part-time, who work full-time, who run businesses with their husbands, who do occasional childcare for extra income, or who do freelance work from home. I know women who have stayed out of the workforce for twenty or more years before returning, either out of necessity or desire. I know women who want to work outside the home but don’t, and women who don’t want to work outside the home but do. Read more
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16
I remember a woman over six feet tall speaking to us in a church years ago. I’m sure she shared a great talk, but all I remember is a story she told about how she began to stand up straight and have good posture. As a girl who was a little over six feet tall in jr. high she constantly slouched, scrunched, and tried to blend in. She said a professional volleyball player came to talk to their class one day and as her jr. high self exited the door the volleyball player lightly grabbed her arm and said, “my goodness girl, stand up straight and let your beautiful self be seen!” She said she never slouched again. I’m not tall, but on some level I knew I was slouching, weighed down with unnecessary expectations, desires, and deficits.
I recently read a statement hours after a phone conversation with a friend bemoaning jean shopping. I mean, not fitting your thighs into a great pair of jeans can absolutely destroy your day. Our conversation lead down the path where yet again we slipped into traitorous words against our bodies.
“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me: ‘I love my body.’ Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. Not one woman has ever said: ‘I am so proud of my body.’ So, I make sure I say it to Mia, because a positive physical outlook has to start from a very early age.” – Kate Winslet Read more