A lot could be said about the current — what shall I call it — war on womanhood?

But with my recent calling as the second counselor in Young Womens in my ward, I really only have one thought: Being a woman rocks!

In the words of Elder Holland:

I want you to be proud you are a woman. I want you to feel the reality of what that means, to know who you truly are. You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make as you grow into mature womanhood. There could never be a greater authentication of your dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. …  Because of this divine heritage you, along with all of your spiritual sisters and brothers, have full equality in His sight …

So maybe the world doesn’t think we deserve to be on the same playing field as men? Instead of just screaming about the injustice, let’s start treating ourselves, and each other, with respect.

Let’s celebrate womanhood. Let’s revel in the glory and wonder of being feminine but strong, nurturing but strict, and forgiving but smart.

Let’s show the world — and hopefully, our young women — that womanhood is about more than having “XX” chromosomes, it’s about eternal characteristics that make us beautiful, unique and loved by God.

What do you think about the “war on womanhood”? How do you feel about being a woman?

March 13, 2012


  1. Sage

    March 14, 2012

    I have so much to say bout this topic. I’m working on a book.

    I’m in YWs too and try to teach them the true power they have to shape the world around them.

    At the same time I’m stretched to my limits with all I have on my plate. But I try not to let the negative influences creep in.

    Thanks for the rallying cry and the great Holland quote (love him!)

  2. Sharon

    March 14, 2012

    I brought forth life in partnership with God! What more can be said?

  3. Maralise

    March 14, 2012

    I guess I’m not sure what ‘war on womanhood’ you’re referring to?

  4. Sunny

    March 14, 2012

    I don’t think in terms of womanhood and manhood. We are all children of God with eternal potential. There is nothing uniquely female about the godly characteristics I am asked to develop. The qualities you listed are qualities of the savior and many men I know, my husband included. The only example of deity I have thus far been given is male and I’m told to be like Him. To me that means that essential godly characteristics are genderless. Women don’t have the monopoly in being nurturing or anything else.

    Our efforts to teach women of their spiritual equality often overreach into expressions of otherness, specialness, or even betterness. If we truly believed we were equal in God’s eyes we wouldn’t need to find ways to feel set apart or special.

    I teach in YW as well. I don’t teach them they are special because they are women. I teach them they have infinite and unchanging worth because they are children of God.

  5. Roberta

    March 14, 2012

    Amen! to Sunny’s so eloquent comment.

  6. Becca @ My Soul Delighteth

    March 14, 2012

    Amen, Sunny, too.

    I would say that what we are experiencing is a “war on gender identity” – it is not limited to womanhood or manhood. Basically the world wants to completely wipe out the idea of gender at all.

    It’s hard to teach identity (there IS a difference between men and women) without creating the “expressions of otherness, specialness, or even betterness” as Sunny pointed out. But it is important to teach identity and the significance of our roles as sons and daughters of God. We can’t just erase everyone’s gender and pretend that we’re all completely the same. We ARE the same (children of God) but we are also inherently different (men and women).

    So, how do you teach the importance of gender and identity while staying away from expressions of “otherness” and “betterness”?

  7. The One True Sue

    March 14, 2012

    Fantastic, Sunny. I’m not sure what the “war on womanhood” is either. Can someone explain?

  8. Mary

    March 14, 2012

    I love that quote from Elder Holland. As a mom of girls and a boy, I can’t help but hope the males in the church are being told the same truths about themselves as well.

  9. Rachel

    March 14, 2012

    I think one way we teach YW about gender and equality is by relying less on the words of men.

    Yes, it is important to learn what prophets and scriptures say, but can’t we use women’s words, too? I see this so frequently…women relying on men to reassure them, speak for them, justify their attitude. Why can’t those words ever come from women?

  10. The One True Sue

    March 14, 2012

    Good point Rachel.

    Hannah and Becca, I’m not really sure what my eternal womanly characteristics are. Could you clarify? For example, my husband is far more nurturing than I, and I’m not really all that feminine or girly. I’m much more driven than my husband. Are those eternal characteristics? Are my husband’s characteristics eternal? I sure hope so. I’m much more like my brothers in terms of personality and inborn characteristics than I am like my sisters. Does that mean that my personality is not inherently righteous?

    Celebrating womanhood should not be about celebrating only those aspects of womanhood that are stereo-typically feminine. Jesus was nurturing, forgiving, loving, and kind. So was my mom. THOSE are the eternal characteristics that both genders should strive to emulate.

    “Instead of just screaming about the injustice, let’s start treating ourselves, and each other, with respect.” I’m not sure what you mean here. Do you mean that when there are injustices we shouldn’t try to overcome them? We should just treat each other with respect and ignore the injustices? So if my male counterpart is paid more for the same job, I should just smile and be respectful and that will fix things? I’m not sure I’m following.

    I’m not being sarcastic I’m truly having a hard time understanding what you’re trying to say here. And I’m still not really sure what the war on womanhood is.

  11. Stephanie

    March 14, 2012

    I don’t have time to respond more right now, just wanted to chime in to tell Hannah that I agree there is a war on womanhood going on right now, and it is frustrating. Thanks for this post.

  12. Sunny

    March 14, 2012

    We recently had a YW lesson in women’s roles. After the girls listed potential roles women might pass through in life (wife, mother, sister, student, employer, missionary, church service, etc.) I asked them which of these roles are universal, meaning all women will experience them during their lifetimes. Of course, the answer was “none”. They decided the only universal “role” we have is that of being children of God. That role is unchanging. We then discussed the attributes of God that we can develop to live up to our true potential. They listed things such as compassion, obedience, knowledge, understanding, selflessness, among others. We then discussed how developing these traits will help us bring divinity to whatever other roles we take on in life. I certainly don’t want them to feel like their roles make them divine. They ARE divine already and that divinity informs the way they carry out the roles they pass through.

    I think we focus too much on roles. It often translates into the (spoken or unspoken) idea that there’s a right way to be a woman, that life should “look” a certain way. I believe the Lord wants us each to purposefully create our lives in ways that bring us joy and allow us to use the gifts and talents he has given us to bless lives and brighten the world. To be effective our lives will and must be created differently. The only thing universal is our eternal potential and worth.

  13. bonnieblythe

    March 14, 2012

    I agree that there is a war on womanhood. Once upon a time it was a war on women (and there are still skirmishes – as in the note that was placed anonymously in mailboxes of female professors of the Marriott Business School that they should go home and care for their families). Now it is more crucially a war on womanhood as the home is under attack. Traits and spheres of influence that were once the purview of women (protection of rights of unborn, educational opportunity, service without pay) are maligned by a materialistic society. I think the Proclamation gives us the key to understanding women’s roles: balance. People naturally gravitate to people whom they complement. When homes have both parents and both genders, no matter what their individual strengths, everyone is benefited by the stability.

    I am an odd woman. I like the business world, hard physical labor, and I sing tenor. I own only 7 pairs of shoes and I don’t like Pinterest. I’m still a woman and glad to be. Although I’m a single parent and have to be some kind of odd hermaphroditic conflation of a lot of gender characteristics to provide my family stability, I can imagine that if I married, someone who liked to cook and fixed bikes would be high on my list. It’s all in the balance.

  14. Jendoop

    March 14, 2012

    The comments thus far perfectly illustrate the war on womanhood. Confusing voices say ‘We’re men and women the same’, but some will place more value on the words of women? It’s a war of confusion, of using worldly logic to attempt to understand the kingdom of God.

    I am grateful to be a woman, to have an intimate relationship with my husband, to have a uterus which allows me to bear children in partnership with my husband. To literally nurture those children from my bosom. The Lord tells me that nothing is purely temporal, that all things are spiritual, so from the very physical act of breastfeeding I understand that there are also spiritual ways in which I can nurture my children. I know from the counsel of prophets that in my divine role as their mother I am irreplaceable.

    While it is true that my husband has a role which works in concert with mine, I must be about my own business, no one can move this female body but me. No one is better suited to be my children’s mother than me. I take joy in these things and teach my daughters that being a wife and mother is their most important role in life, one which exemplifies godhood, and one which I treasure.

  15. Maralise

    March 14, 2012

    wait. . . how are the comments an illustration of the ‘war on womanhood’ again?

  16. chicklegirl

    March 14, 2012

    I agree about the existence of a war on womanhood, but for the purposes of this post, it would have been helpful for Hannah to be specific about what she thinks it is because that would in turn inform the way the rest of the post is read and understood.

    YMMV, but for me the war can be summed up as anything that distracts or derails us from focusing on our individual and collective roles as women and saints. Certainly one aspect of the war is, itself, the disagreement over what constitutes “womanhood”. I think it’s possible to waste far too much time arguing over it, time better spent in quiet contemplation or even open, sincere discussion of what that means to us individually. Anytime we judge someone else for doing something we wouldn’t, we’ve crossed over that line from discussion to argument.

    Other aspects of the war include anything that tempts us to focus inappropriately on appearance, career, hobbies, clothing, education, recognition, physical fitness, and yes, even Pinterest–none of which are inherently bad, but all of which, when out of balance, distract us from spiritual growth and understanding our role as women and children of God.

    The thing is, there is no one size fits all. We are all required to keep the commandments, but within the realm of what constitutes righteousness, there is incredible latitude for individuality. We can’t compare ourselves to any other person to measure how we are doing as a woman or as a person. That’s why we can’t say any character trait is inherently male or female; we are all so unique. And yet, I do think that generally speaking, just as an example, women tend to focus more than men on their appearance and to judge themselves and others by appearance–though, there are of course many exceptions to that.

    What it really comes down to is: am I doing what the Lord wants me to do in my life? Am I doing what is in my power to fill the measure of MY creation? What is His will for me, and am I doing it? More than anything, we should be teaching our children, both male and female, how to ask for guidance, recognize the Spirit and act on personal revelation.

    I’m a stay-at-home-mom who homeschools, makes her own laundry soaop, bakes her own bread and sews a lot of her own clothing. But I’m no “Molly”; I have anger management issues, I’m a poet, a recovering addict, a student of history, and a rugged individualist. I know and like myself, warts and all–and I’m so grateful that the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible to not just be myself, but to be my best self.

  17. Jeannie

    March 14, 2012

    What a great discussion…I find that I agree and disagree with at least one thing in everyone’s comments…..AWESOME!!!!!

  18. Sunny

    March 14, 2012

    The problem, Jendoop, is that not all women, despite deep desire, will become wives and/or mothers. There has to be something deeper and inherent that guides us to become like God. To teach that idea is not to negate motherhood in any way. The ideas are not mutually exclusive.

    Our ability to move closer to our eternal nature can not be so singularly tied to one role, else many women would be automatically stunted in their spiritual progression through circumstances out of their control.

  19. Sandra

    March 14, 2012

    Sunny, amen.

  20. bonnieblythe

    March 14, 2012

    It IS a great discussion! I think we’re dancing around the central question, the one that should be easy to answer but it’s kind of ticklish! What DOES it mean to be a woman? Is it a biological role? Is it a social role? Is there some eternal standard? We are all striving to be like God – he is the model for both men and women. But since we know so little about our heavenly mother, we are left to wonder a bit about what differentiates her from him. Right back to the story of Adam’s and Eve’s creations we are led to see women as derivative of men, and to some extent, I think that’s the function of roles and traits divisions. If we see ourselves as complementary, it makes it easy to define unions and why they are so important. But who or what are we outside of a union with a man? What makes a person, beyond having a uterus, a woman? Or is that enough?

  21. Jendoop

    March 14, 2012

    I respectfully disagree Sunny. In the gospel we teach and extol ideals. No woman’s life fits the grand ideal, yet this is what God asks us to strive for. No woman is restrained from developing qualities of womanhood or motherhood while not currently a wife and/or mother. Women in these situations are encouraged, and perhaps even obligated, to seek personal revelation for their given circumstances but the ideal does not change. Our obligation to teach the ideal does not change. This goes to the heart of God’s plan for his children, that we return to him in families, fulfilling our divine roles.

    “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” -The Family: A Proclamation to the World

    For a better and more comprehensive understanding, there are a multitude of talks which address your specific issue by Sisters Dew, Beck, Thompson, and more.

  22. Emily

    March 14, 2012

    I was feeling pretty awesome about being a woman recently: http://latg.blogspot.com/2012/03/feeling-empowered.html

  23. May

    March 14, 2012

    “No woman is restrained from developing qualities of womanhood or motherhood while not currently a wife and/or mother.”

    Jendoop, I truly don’t understand how you can argue that a woman can develop qualities of motherhood while not a mother. To claim this is, in my opinion, offensive to actual mothers. If you’re talking about developing general ‘nuturing’ qualities such as patience, compassion or kindness, these would be markers of a disciple of Christ, as Sunny pointed out, and not tied solely to motherhood.

  24. A

    March 14, 2012

    There’s a war, alright. but the war on Womanhood is just one piece of the pie.

  25. sunny

    March 14, 2012


    I never said we shouldn’t teach parenthood and I’m not sure where you’re getting that, nor did I say that gender doesn’t exist. I am saying that the woman who does not have children has as much value and her life can be just as godly and spiritually progressive as the woman who dedicates herself to her children. Also, I don’t know to what “qualities of womanhood” you are referring. I believe all qualities worth developing are qualities of Godhood. Can you name for me a quality I should work to develop which my husband should not also work to develop or which is not emulated by the Savior?

  26. Michelle

    March 15, 2012

    I think there is an interesting tension between the notion of developing Christlike attributes, which are not specific to gender, and fulfilling roles and responsibilities that are tied to gender (e.g., Sister Beck talks about the ‘female half of the plan’ that we as women need to fulfill, RS and priesthood quorums do have some different and complementary responsibilities, men and women have some roles and responsibilities in the Church that cannot be interchanged, the Proclamation does outline different-but-complementary primary roles in the context of marriage partnership and caring for a family). “Child of God” is extremely important in its own right, but it seems to me that gender is important, too — I think that gender does matter to God, even if it’s hard sometimes to pin down what it means to be a woman or man of God.

    I tend to think that where things are hard to pin down, that’s where we can lean on God to help us discern. I think we each can ponder the teachings (from men and women who lead us!) and doctrine and prayerfully seek God’s guidance as to what He would have us be doing in our lives and spheres of influence, in our particular situations, callings, responsibilities, and roles to fulfill the measure of our creation and help Him in His work with His children.

  27. Michelle

    March 15, 2012

    p.s. To me, the ‘war’ includes a war against both women and men, often pitting women against men (with more focus on competition than on partnership), undermining marriage and family and morality, often hacking at branches of problems without getting to the roots. To me, one thing we as women can do is seek to be grounded in the roots so that whatever we may be doing in our spheres of influence always upholds the plan in deliberate ways, and responds to revelation (general and personal), rather than getting caught up in the cultural whims of the day (which is hard not to do!).

  28. KDA

    March 15, 2012

    I could have written a valid but different reply to the questions invoked by this post every 5 years of my life. I agree with the comment by chicklegirl and others that there is no (or at least few) one-size-fits all statements about womanhood.

    I think it’s important for each woman to spend more time attending to her choices within her own sphere of influence and less time worrying about what her neighbor is doing. I think our own insecurities encourage us to announce our truths as universals when they may be very specific to us. The more that I listen to others with compassion, I discover that they have very valid reasons for their actions and attitudes. Really ornate descriptions of “shoulds” tend to isolate others from the divine and from a community of support.

    I have seen so many women in pain because they feel as they don’t measure up to the ideal when they are acting as unsung heroes. I agree that the common role is child of God. Focusing on that bears a lot of good fruit for understanding what we should do for ourselves and how we can support others.

  29. SilverRain

    March 15, 2012

    My thoughts on this topic are too much for a simple comment, but I’ll sum up.

    There is difference between men and women, but it’s not WHAT can be learned so much as how we tend to approach things, and it isn’t rigid. Sure, not every woman is exactly the same, nor is every man. But just because there are varied levels of expression of these traits doesn’t mean that there is no tendency towards one or the other. It’s not an all-or-nothing principle.

    The Family Proclamation to the World is beautiful because it recognizes these tendencies and general responsibilities without denying the variation and capacity for adaptation, if it is read without preconceived assumptions about what it means.

    At any rate, more of my thoughts on it are here if anyone is interested.

  30. bonnieblythe

    March 15, 2012

    I agree completely, Michelle. Well said. I find that in any endeavor whatsoever, the unspoken competition of disagreement consistently undermines the smooth flow of effective collaboration, and I think that’s the essence of Satan’s plan. If we fight among ourselves about anything, arguing trivial points (hacking at limbs, as you say) then he succeeds. I also agree that gender devolves to role, much as we might not like the way that sounds. By virtue of there being two genders, those roles are complementary. When, as in my life, one role would be completely absent in my family if I only functioned in my half, adaptations are necessary. It alters nothing about the eternal role, nor does it make me less a woman, just as early female settlers in Utah were model women for their time and place, despite the rigors of polygamy and its necessary adaptations. I think the problem comes when we let cultural definitions of womanhood creep into our sisterhood that skew the eternal with trivialities. The YW theme is beautifully frank and wonderfully inclusive on the topic of divine womanhood.

  31. Hannah

    March 15, 2012

    First, let me say this: I wrote this Tuesday night after 9 hours of writing at work. My mind was a little foggy and I was trying my best to get something pounded out quickly.

    But, I’m glad it’s relatively vague…this discussion is awesome! I feel like I’m sitting in a kick-butt Sunday school class letting the students teach instead of teaching myself. Bravo.

    What I mean by war on womanhood was multiple things. One of them is, that I know when I leave the newsroom to have children I will be highly ridiculed. What’s up with that? Why is being a mother and a wife “un-cool” in the world? But what I really meant was all the hype in the news a la Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, birth control and religious rights, etc. Like this: http://ideas.time.com/tag/birth-control/

    Also, I’d like to throw this into the discussion…Sheri Dew gave a talk titled “Are We Not All Mothers?” It’s about how we all, whether we have children or not, can mother someone. You can find it here: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2001/11/are-we-not-all-mothers?lang=eng

    My own personal thoughts on divine womanhood are this: we are equal but different then men. Men are wonderful, beautiful and divine as well. But we have different roles. While we are aiming for the same goal and can hold the same Christ-like traits, we each have different roles and spheres of influence. It would be nonsensical to have two of the same exact roles functioning in one system. God made us different (but equal) to compliment each other — like a puzzle piece. With that being said, there are many ways to be a woman — none is more right or wrong than the other, but all are divine.

  32. Hannah

    March 15, 2012

    Here’s another link: http://ideas.time.com/tag/women/

  33. Marsha Keller

    March 15, 2012

    So many rich and wonderful thoughts, ideas, sharing. What a delight women are when they listen to each other and share their hearts.

    Women are different than men. Simple. How, why, what that means. . . are all book-length discussions. What I’ve learned is simply this: I am better when I respect the differences I see. I am richer when I listen to what I don’t know and I am wiser when I cherish what I do know.

  34. Lily

    March 15, 2012

    “I know from the counsel of prophets that in my divine role as their mother I am irreplaceable.”

    And I know as a single childless woman that I am completely replaceable. This is the problem with emphasizing “roles”. It devalues anyone not functioning in that particular role.

  35. Hannah

    March 15, 2012

    Lily, have you read the talk “Are we not all mothers?” by Sheri Dew? If you haven’t, I highly suggest giving it a read. You won’t regret it.

    Here’s the link: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2001/11/are-we-not-all-mothers?lang=eng

  36. Hannah

    March 15, 2012

    Here’s an excerpt from the talk:

    While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” 3 —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, 4 righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. 5 Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.

  37. Deb

    March 15, 2012

    The trouble with that quote/talk is that it unintentionally minimizes fatherhood. The obvious practical and theological corollary to motherhood is not priesthood but fatherhood. Do we ask childless men to consider themselves “all fathers” and ask them to look for opportunities to “father” others until they have children of their own? Do we tell them that it defines their very identity from the moment of their birth? Perhaps we should, given that we are all striving to be like a God who uses Parent as his/her title . . .

  38. Michelle

    March 15, 2012

    “Do we ask childless men to consider themselves “all fathers” and ask them to look for opportunities to “father” others until they have children of their own? “

    I think in a sense that this kind of nurturing and service is what the priesthood is about. We may not use the same language, but I think the principles are the same. My son’s scout leaders are additional ‘fathers’ to my son. Our leaders have talked about the impact men can have in their priesthood stewardships.

    There aren’t as many men in the church who are unmarried and/or childless, so I don’t know that we should expect the language to be exactly the same anyway, but I definitely don’t think men and fatherhood are left out of our doctrine. (One talk just can’t cover it all!)

  39. Mossbloom

    March 16, 2012

    I also feel that fatherhood is too minimized. In my family, it isn’t the priesthood leadership that my husband brings to the family that is most important. It is fathering: changing diapers, giving baths, playing in the backyard, helping with homework, doing hair (we have three daughters) being home so that I can work (I work minimally and he works full-time). I see parenthood as one role that is done by two people together and so I guess I don’t understand why we have to be given designated roles in order for that to work. We do what is best for our family. I wish that he could be home more with his children and that I could work more. Isn’t it better to mesh our lives together better than having separate but complementary roles? As far as priesthood, yes, I’m grateful that we have it in our family. But it isn’t his priesthood, but his fatherhood that defines his place in our family.

    And as for me, I don’t want other people defining my womanhood or motherhood at all. I don’t want to feel like I’m not being feminine or motherly enough any more than I want to be told I’m not feminist enough because I’m a stay at home mom. I would love for there to be less emphasis on motherhood and more on leadership. I mean, really, as a young woman in the Church, I was raised to be a leader. A daughter of God with my own divine mission to fulfill. Maybe it is just because of who I was or the ward I was in, but it wasn’t the “mothering” lessons that stuck with me, but those of leadership and personal development. I know we all need to hear something different and it is hard to balance the needs of everyone. But since motherhood and wifehood are forms of leadership, I don’t see how it could hurt to focus on that more the same way that they focus on priesthood leadership for men. There needs to be more balance on both sides.

    As for the war on womanhood in the political realm, it is making me absolutely sick. I’m so shocked and hurt. I’ve considered myself a moderate Republican, but I don’t know that I can anymore.

  40. harlene

    March 16, 2012

    Just another thought. I hate talks on how amazing we are as women. It always cones açross as an excuse to leave everything our responsibility. I struggle often with feeling sorry for my daughter for becoming a woman someday. So little of my life has been more than taking care of others. Don’t get me wrong, I chose to have a large family and I cherish being a mother, but cmon, does no one else just get ticked that men get off easy? My husband is wonderful, but he will never be “mom”. My mother in law is dying of cancer and of course its my sister in laws and I who are doing all the caretaking…and we both have also needed to work due to unemployment and underemployment the past few years. None of our other responsibilities have decreased. Including callings, parenting, caring for our aging parents.

    Being amazing sucks!

  41. Jendoop

    March 17, 2012

    Being amazing doesn’t suck, although it is hard and sometimes sad, as in your situation Harlene. I apologize in advance if this sounds patronizing, it isn’t- there are blessings in all of those responsibilities you mentioned. If you limit the responsibilities, you limit the blessings. You have a choice in all of them as well, there are pressures but you always have the agency to say “No.”

    Motherhood is leadership! The world tells us that motherhood is a low place, without impact or social status. The opposite is true! We have so much impact and influence in the world and on society, as a stay at home mom or not!

    I feel as though the view being expressed by many is: “Motherhood is important, except…” and then the multitude of difficulties in life are listed. Motherhood is important in and through all of life’s vacillations. It is up to each of us to go to God and ask Him what the role of motherhood means in our life, as a specific individual. The scriptures are also full of examples of women who have dealt with the issues being discussed here, from the Old Testament through to modern day prophets.

    Another great source for study is the Mormon Channel’s Relief Society podcast. I resisted it for a while, thinking I didn’t need to hear another talk about the organization of RS, but this is Sister Beck answering the very questions we’ve been discussing here, the hard questions (the episodes about motherhood and balance are wonderful). She answers them much better than I ever could, as she should because she is our leader in these things, an example and a guide.

  42. mmiles

    March 17, 2012


    That was patronizing. If you think it might be, or could come across that way, maybe don’t say it.
    “If you limit the responsibilities, you limit the blessings.”

    That’s a broad generalization that isn’t always true. I’m also not sure you are right that the world (whoever that is) thinks motherhood is a lowly place. Most women want children. Most women are good mothers. Most people love and honor their mothers. Most people grow up and say their mothers were big influences in their lives. This is something we as a society-both in and outside the church-know. I’m not sure people who have chosen it really think motherhood is unimportant.

    “I think in a sense that this kind of nurturing and service is what the priesthood is about.”

    But we don’t say, “All men are priesthood holders, whether you have it or not. What you do is holding the priesthood” There is no analogy there.

    I’m sorry your burdens are heavy right now. I think most of us feel as you do sometimes.

  43. Jendoop

    March 17, 2012

    I gave the disclaimer about a possible tone because this is a limited medium. The tone in which it comes across is determined by factors out of my control, which is why I specified the tone in which I meant it. I believe what I said, responsibilities bring blessings. Can you get blessings without responsibilities? Sure, that’s part of the grace and mercy of God.

  44. bonnieblythe

    March 17, 2012

    I often feel really bad for young mothers. They are the forgotten in church, without their own little acknowledgement (“we feel YOUR pain you single sisters, widowed sisters, have-to-work sisters, special-cases sisters.”) You are “living the dream” without any of the classic burdens others of us regularly hear as an acknowledgement that our lot is hard and special. You have husbands. Those husbands are magnifying their priesthood. You have children, the crown of your womanhood.

    But even good stress is stress and I often wish there were more we could do. In our ward we who have older children often sit with younger families to help out so that you can hear for ten straight minutes or try to offer nights out. It doesn’t help with other, more emotional stresses, however.

    We were born in a day with different expectations. My parents were raised by Depression-era survivors, and survivor is the only way to describe it. They were the salt of the earth and they were *hardy* – not much patience for the angst of youth when crops need to come in and you’re still paying the doctor bill for the last three births. Sometimes those of us who have weathered some rough times – been hungry, fixed holes in shoes, dealt with violence – really don’t get the difficulty of living in easier times. There was something that drew us together, a toughness that turned our faces to the storm and narrowed our eyes that came with the hard times that doesn’t come with your hard times.

    Know this: if thou endure it well… There is iron in your soul when you look back. Here’s a hug of encouragement, even if it doesn’t always “get” how hard it is for you. You will look back on this time of your life with much greater confidence, much increased capacity. You will be glad you were amazing.

  45. Stephanie

    March 17, 2012

    I hear ya, harlene. I just got back from a stake trek where the the youth were tired and fatigued and worn out. At the end of the first day (10 miles with handcart), I thought, “I’m not half as tired as I am on a normal day!” Trek was way easier than raising my kids. I kind of wanted to say that to the YW: “Just wait! This is nothing compared to what you are up against as an adult”.

  46. ZD Eve

    March 18, 2012

    You have husbands. Those husbands are magnifying their priesthood.

    We do?
    They are?

  47. Michelle

    March 18, 2012

    But we don’t say, “All men are priesthood holders, whether you have it or not. What you do is holding the priesthood” There is no analogy there.

    Note that I said ‘in a sense’ — I know it’s not an exact parallel, but let me add that I don’t think we have to expect an exact parallel between women’s and men’s roles and responsibilities in the Church or in the plan.

  48. bonnieblythe

    March 18, 2012

    ZDEve: my post was directed to those who do, whom I often feel are left out of the list of people with all those exceptional burdens. I don’t have a husband. But then, I’m listed as among the burdened and understood. My intent was to send out a hug to those who don’t get called out for a hug of encouragement over the pulpit.

  49. ZD Eve

    March 19, 2012

    Bonnie, I do appreciate your good intentions. I simply wanted to remind all of us that not all young mothers, or mothers of young children, have husbands, or active husbands magnifying their priesthood. Mothers are as varied a group as any other.

  50. Becca @ My Soul Delighteth

    March 19, 2012

    I forgot to come back and follow up with all the comments, but then I was excited to just be able to read them and hopefully get the answer to my question about how to teach gender identity (such as from the Proclamation: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”)

    I agree with other commenters who mentioned that the question is “What does it mean to be a woman?” which has been left largely unanswered. Maybe, Hannah, you can do a follow up post? 🙂 On Being a Woman Part II?

  51. Hannah

    March 19, 2012

    Becca, fabulous idea! I would have developed a much more compelling, well-rounded post if I had had the time. But now…I have an entire month to develop another post! Look forward to “On Being a Woman, part II” next month! I’ll have to go through this post and address all the questions through scripture, quotes, examples and what have you!

  52. Becca @ My Soul Delighteth

    March 28, 2012

    There was an excellent post on Empowering LDS Women that has got me thinking about this subject a lot (as well as the Two Trees parable she links to in the post) and I was listening to Sister Beck’s Q&A on the Mormon Channel which brought up a lot of other good things to think about. I am sure you have lots of other great resources, too!

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