The author of today’s guest post has asked to remain anonymous.
Friendly fire: inadvertent firing towards one’s own or otherwise friendly forces.
The words were said so quickly and with such ease I was shocked. We quietly went about our work; busy with our hands in service for our children. A young woman, with preschoolers, asked me about my work and told me she was, “fascinated by working women.” I replied, “It’s really hard. If you can stay home with your children do that. Go to school or learn a trade and go back to work later if you need to or want to.” Then another young woman joined the conversation, while still busily working, and said, “Besides, the children really suffer.” She immediately realized what she had said with little thought to the company she was in. We made eye contact and then went back to our work. I don’t remember where the conversation turned next; I only know where my heart has turned again and again since then; the “friendly fire” rhetoric against the working mom leveled by those who should be friendly forces and who often intend no harm. This rhetoric knows no individual circumstances and only levels generalized judgment or “friendly fire” causing harm when there is no enemy in sight.
“Besides, the children suffer” were words heaped on the words of a co-worker who, just weeks before, on my first day back at work said, in reference to his wife’s ability to stay home with their child, “You can really tell the difference between the children of working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.” I was stunned at his rudeness and the inappropriateness of his comment. Continue reading
Olea has decided 2013 is a year of discovery, both of the world around her (she is currently living in the south of France, her first time overseas) and the potential within her. She would describe herself as open-hearted and optimistic (she loves words starting with an o), and her best friend tried to convince her to use the word “wise”, but clearly that didn’t work.
I have always felt a special connection to the sisters in my life. I loved the Young Women’s program, and often it was the only place in my life that I felt I belonged. When I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, at the end of high school, to join my family who’d been there all year, I was looking forward to joining Relief Society. I had visited during holidays, and spent time with the young women, but when I went to Relief Society, I felt accepted and wanted in a deeper way than I ever had before. In classes, I was encouraged to share my experiences and testimony, and my needs and opinions were considered when planning activities, though I was only 18 and new to the ward. Our ward was very small when I first arrived – it had just been split, and wasn’t much bigger than a branch – and over the course of 6 years, we moved to a new building (from our rented hall-plus-a-few-classrooms) and now we are worried around Stake Conference times in case of more splits.
My first activity, as part of the new Enrichment focus that encouraged small groups organised by sisters, was a book club. We met monthly in a sister’s home and read, among others, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Don Quixote, something by Charles Dickens that I have since removed from my memory, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Lovely Bones and My Sister’s Keeper. We discussed authors’ intentions, favourite characters and unexpected plot twists. We discussed our families and friends and personal experiences, we shared philosophical views and argued about ideas, sometimes even relating to the book we’d read, often until (and occasionally after) midnight. Continue reading
Sara grew up loving all the sciences so much that when it came time to decide what to major in at BYU, she chose their common language: Mathematics. She taught high school and middle school until her oldest daughter was born. Now, she spends her days planning YW and Girl Scout activities, avoiding housework, reading young adult novels, and debating how to raise her three daughters to be strong inquisitive souls. Her daughters are 7, 11, and so very close to 13.
Maggie and I were pregnant with our second children at the same time, with our thirds at the same time. We shared a lot of laughs, and playdates, afternoons at parks, hours in the nursery skipping Sunday School, with some tender moments mixed in. We were, perhaps, an unlikely match. I’d come from pioneer stock and went off to BYU. She was a new member with a checkered and difficult past of drug addiction, scrambling for the light. Her accomplishment overwhelmed me—to come from addiction to striving clean convert and devoted mother She and her family moved out of the ward for a year or so to help an ailing family member. While they were away, the stress of the difficult situation became unbearable and demons from the past resurfaced. She and her husband gave in to that old promise of a numbing release. Cigarettes, alcohol, one thing led to another, until they found themselves slaves to meth. There is nothing worse out there. It locks you away and steals your agency, horrifically and absolutely. I am thankful every day that I do not have to be her judge. The Savior has that covered and I am more than happy to step aside and allow Him to carry that burden. I knew her during a good spell when her intentions and hopes were so good and pure, and that is enough for me. Continue reading
Last week I needed a few things from Deseret Book, and after making my purchases I wandered over to see if any books I wanted to purchase had made it to the clearance rack yet. Instead, I caught my breath as I spotted a framed piece of art sitting there on sale. Even at fifty-percent off it was really beyond my budget. These days my money needs to go to babysitting, food, grad school tuition, new underwear, a mortgage. I don’t have space in my spreadsheet for framed artwork. But something spoke to my soul and told me I needed that on the wall in my house. Continue reading
Natasha is a Kiwi, born of English parents, married to a South African, living in Australia, and reckons that her take on life is probably about as screwed up as her accent. She considers cake and chocolate to be two essential parts of a well balanced life, and is often called a cow by her best friend in between mouthfuls and much laughter.
Am I a cow?
It’s a fair question if you’re me.
I’ve never been the type of friend who tells you your dress is gorgeous when it’s obviously highlighting every bit of flab on your body.
I’ll never tell you the man you’re dating is wonderful if you’ve clearly lowered your standards to date him solely because you’re lonely.
And I’ll never just sit back and watch you make decisions in your life that will take you on a path away from Heavenly Father without telling you in no uncertain terms that you are being an idiot.
So does that me a cow? Before you decide, hear me out. Continue reading