17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Monday, February 13, 2006

You Say You Want A Revolution?

Just because we're women does not mean we must have it all. I think a big mistake women in western culture make is to think that we should have a career and motherhood both, without sacrificing some part of one or the other. Men don't get to do that, so why do we think we deserve more "rights"? Why should I expect others to pay for me to have it both ways?


In the entry "Birth and the Workplace" some of you mentioned how the United States is behind the rest of the world in providing motherhood-friendly jobs. I wonder, have you lived in Europe and compared the difference in standard of living? I have. Sure, they get more paid vacation, maternity benefits, etc, but they also have 10-15% unemployment (compared to less than 5% in the US currently) and a much lower GDP than in the US. All those benefits are nice, but who pays for them? Greater indolence or leisure time leads to lower productivity overall.

It's amazing that even after the failure of almost every Communist country in existence some people in the US yearn for that very structure to be implemented here. Government control or even interference in the economy is shown over and over again to be harmful to economic growth. Besides, forced charity is not true charity -- 'forced' means lack of free agency, which is rather satanic, I believe.

As some others mentioned, the smart companies in the US actually ARE implementing family-friendly benefits in order to attract and retain better employees. You are still free to quit and find work with a better company that will give good maternity benefits. But for "working mothers of the world" to unite and demand that daddy government force all organizations to provide for us so we do not have to make the least sacrifice sounds a little short-sighted to me.

Again, someone has to pay for these benefits and it is usually other middle class families and consumers. Many mothers would love to afford to stay home to raise their children but cannot because of a more competitive job market in which a woman might be hired (sometimes to avoid a potential gender-biased lawsuit) instead of her own husband. I am not saying women should not be in the workplace. I spent years there and will enter again. I’m saying that there are repercussions or trade-offs with every choice we make.

Many of you on this blog are doing an admirable job balancing career and family, which I think is great. I wish to emulate your talents and your ability to succeed in multiple areas and raise great kids. But a mother does not need to do both to be a worthy individual. Personally, if I were to feel motherhood becoming an inconvenient distraction from my career or hobbies, I would do some serious reflecting on what is really important.

36 Comments:

  • LeeAnn, what resonates for me in this post is that I am always trying to strike a balance. I know that God has given me some gifts and blessings that are intended to aide me in being a mother. Other gifts and talents He has given me to be used in a career. My patriarchal blessing has paragraph after paragraph about my "work in the world" and one measly little sentence about having children. It is because of this and other personal revelation, that I feel I am meant to be both a mother and have a career.

    In general I have made many sacrifices in regards to my career. I would attend many more auditions, classes, and networking events if it were not for my chlidren. I would have a part-time job to supplement my income so that we could have MORE MONEY. These are things that I sacrifice to be with my kids.

    Then there are days when I work all day, run errands, and feed my kids leftovers for dinner, and those are the days when I have sacrificed being the best mother I can be, for a career day.

    When my career is having slow times and I am not particularly busy, I get, to quote Dr. Seuss: "Slow, and low low down." My morale as a mother is better when I am doing better in the workplace. My morale in the workplace is better when things are going well at home. I am motivated to make both as great as they can be, at all times.

    All this being said, I am a freelance "worker" who will never have the opportunity to revolutionize my "workplace" mostly because there are not many parents of either sex in my field, and my workplace is different every day. I have not felt discriminated against...if anything sometimes I think I book jobs because I bring the children with me to auditions-I become memorable to the casting people. Or sometimes the casting folks have no imagination and if they are looking for someone to play a mother, who better than to hire a REAL mother.

    I was fortunate to make a few bucks off my pregnant belly, and I returned to work 4 weeks after giving birth, but I was not paid for my time off, nor do I think I should have been. Again, I consider the "loss of income" a sacrifice that I am willing to make to be a mother. I also lost money last October because I took the whole month off when Daughter #1 got mono.

    When opportunity knocks and I am not as ready as I would be without kids, I do have a tinge of dissappointment, but then I spend time with my kids and realize that my work at home is important too.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/13/2006 11:22:00 AM  



  • I am a SAHM (stay-at home mom) and I think this is a worlwide stuggle placed upon women... and there are ways of getting around it. Everyone has to find their "happy place" I guess, what works for them. I experience so much negative self-talk/guilt for NOT being a full time carreer woman. The worlds voice is stong in my head as saying that I have little/no value without status/ paid employment. But my mom was a stong believer that a child needs their MOTHER. And so here I am, fighting the voices within that degrade my pupose, and trying to increase my talents as a mother, especially when I feel like many/most of my talents lie in things best employed in a career...it's tough when you hate/despise almost all things realted to staying at home. For me it's cooking & cleaning (including laundry). YUCK YUCK, and double YUCK. Anyway, but deep down I pray that my efforts will be acceptable and I someday (hopefully before my breasts hang down to my belly button) will be also able to have a successful flourishing career. We'll see. BY the way, my sister-in-law told me about this blog because she knows the one of you in UTAH. Great blog.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 2/13/2006 12:25:00 PM  



  • LOVE THIS POST!!!! Having it all is such a myth, there's no WAY ANYONE can do everything, and do it all well. Something's got to give, and unfortunately, as women, we tend to haveit be our sanity first.

    Also, if you ever long for socialized medicine, go live where it's practiced. Ugh...
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 2/13/2006 12:30:00 PM  



  • Dang! I wish I could recall the exact talk President James E. Faust gave (I believe it was a BYU devotional back in the day...is 1997 "the day"?). Anywhoozers, what he said was that a woman CAN have it all.

    Seriously. He said that. She can.

    Just not at the SAME TIME.

    That fabulous scripture --there is a time and season for everything one--is dead on. There is a time to be a mom. There is a time to work, to cry, to mourn, to be joyful, etc. and so forth and whatever. But we don't have to do it all at once.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that too many mothers think if they don't pursue a career now they never will. Okay, okay, I agree, perhaps in kage's career choice that may be true. Youth and beauty is essential (right?) in her career --but what about us vigilant moms that plan on getting our Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and start practicing when we're 50? Or becoming lawyers when we're 40?

    And what about moms that don't even want a career?

    Yeah, anything's possible and maybe doing things seperately won't work for some women. Hey, I could even die next year --that would blow the whole Master's degree thing away...

    Anyways, whatever it is that a woman of God wants to accomplish, chances are she'll be able to do it, one year or another. Just make the choice and be happy with the one you make...("you" meaning all women in general" :) )
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 2/13/2006 02:12:00 PM  



  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 2/13/2006 02:33:00 PM  



  • "My morale as a mother is better when I am doing better in the workplace. My morale in the workplace is better when things are going well at home. I am motivated to make both as great as they can be, at all times."

    Kage, I couldn't agree more. I am happiest when I am both working AND parenting. I own my own business (designing infant accessories and apparel and selling to boutiques) and it is a source of great happiness and satisfaction for me. Just as my children are a great source of happiness and satisfaction...in a different and equally compelling way. I need both to feel complete.

    I have good parenting days and bad, good business days and bad. Its a stellar day when both goods go together and awful when both bads go together. But doing both has made my life full and complete and so far, my children aren't suffering for it. I have an ideal setup in that I work out of my home and when I visit my stores, my kids come with me.

    I think that in certain circumstances it is healthy for children to see their mother working in a certain capacity. My children come FIRST and my work comes 4th or 5th. My son loves to watch me cut fabric and play with the pieces left over on the floor. They love to look at the different prints and watch merchandise get stocked in a store. My "job" gives another dimension to our family, another topic to talk about. And so far it is working...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/13/2006 03:09:00 PM  



  • LeAnn,

    I think you bring up some interesting points, but you misinterpret the "revolution" that was mentioned in the previous post.

    First of all, family-friendly workplace policies will not lead us on the road to communism.... although if a statue of Lenin pops up in Times Square, I'll be the first to admit my mistake.

    You do have a point about Europe's standard of living. It is suffering, and there has been a lot written about it lately. However, there is a difference between "standard of living" and "quality of life." (ie) In New York, we would be considered to have a high standard of living (because DH makes a high income), but I would say we (this is very subjective) have a poor quality of life (because we live in a small apartment, because DH works long hours, because I cannot do things that I most enjoy like mnt biking, etc., because the quality of the schools is very spotty, etc., etc.)

    I think that this “revolution” is more about improving quality of life than “standard of living.” As Americans, which do we really need more… a bigger SUV or greater satisfaction and overall balance between our careers and family life? To think that maintaining a high standard of living is our greatest goal and we should sacrifice nothing for it seems pretty materialistic to me. And isn’t that satanic?

    You also mention the “working class woman” and how she will suffer if companies are forced to spend additional money to ensure women have a proper amount of maternity leave, etc. Are you kidding me? She is the one who is most hurt by the current labor structure. She is the one who has to drag herself back to work too soon after having a baby, cannot find quality day care for her kids and has little flexibility in her work schedule. She will be working whether or not this “revolution” occurs, so we owe her the chance to be a good mom to her kids and be a quality worker for her employer.

    To me, the “revolution” is all about giving women more choices between career and motherhood. You are absolutely right…women can’t have it all. I know I can’t work a 6-figure salary Wall Street job and be the kind of mother that I would like to be. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to “job share” 20-30 hrs per week with another working mom (or dad) and take 5-6 months off to spend with my newborn. This is a “pipe dream” working scenario in the U.S. today. I’d give up my SUV (that I’ll never own) and pay a little more taxes for the opportunity to have career fulfillment and still be home a significant time for my babies. To women who have to work outside the home, family-friendly work policies will only increase their ability to be a significant part of their children’s lives while allowing them to provide economically for their families as well.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/13/2006 06:33:00 PM  



  • First of all, I wonder why the “don’t expect to have it all” warning is only ever applied to women. It seems like the “all” that is referred to, and that you refer to, LeeAnn (correct me if I’m wrong) is parenthood and a career. And if that is the case, then I don’t understand your statement “Men don't get to do that.” Because yes, the men you are talking about do indeed get to have it all. They can be both a parent and pursue a career (full time and wholeheartedly, at that), all without invoking the contempt that often accompanies a mother’s similar decisions.

    I don’t want to quibble with you over your unsubstantiated claims (show me the citations) and your descriptions of the merits of capitalistic vs socialistic (which you seem to be completely equate with Communism) societies. It’s clear that you’re writing from an ideological position.

    However, I do want to make an argument for the idea that structural constraints in the labor market shape the choices that we can make about how to pursue careers and balance family and work. What I mean by this is that our personal decisions are not made in a vacuum, but are framed by the context and society in which we dwell.

    As a specific example, what I want, and what a lot of women I know want: 1. children who are happy, well-adjusted, and cared for primarily by their parents; 2. a career job, but part time--something where I can keep my skills honed and continue working when my children are young so that I don’t have a huge hole in my resume. Yet, there is no rich and vibrant part-time labor market in the US, at least not in many fields. I so envy all you who are able to work on a part time basis and have it mean something!

    If we could have our ideal life, dh and I would “halve” it all. We would share child rearing, housework, and both work ½ to 2/3 of a job. Our children would be in some limited amount of care outside the home for part of the week, but overall, we would primarily care for them ourselves. But, this doesn’t make sense given the structural constraints of our society. Two half jobs does not add up to a full time job. The benefits structure (insurance, retirement, time off) is different, opportunities are different.

    What you’re probably going to tell me is that it makes no sense financially for a company/country to operate like this. I’m sure there are many macroeconomic arguments to be made along these lines. And I admit that it seems completely unlikely that this could ever really be a feasible option for us. But, this is what I want and it could be possible on a much wider basis with a change in the “rules” of our society.

    Instead, I’m left to cobble together who knows what post-dissertation (which will be my status very soon!!). It’s a distinct possibility that I will leave my field altogether (maybe you think we should construct barriers for women to work outside the home so that it’s easier for me to put aside my career in favor of stay-at-home-motherhood) because there will be no or limited opportunities. But, in the end, it will have been “my choice” to do so. Yes, I’m willing to sacrifice a full time career and potentially any career for my children, but I don’t think that it has to necessarily be that way. To me, it’s not about entitlement, but more about broadening the range of choices that parents can make, without becoming godless Communists :).
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 2/13/2006 07:18:00 PM  



  • Hi LeeAnn,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you (and the others) don’t mind the male intrusion. As you might imagine, Michelle and I have discussed this issue a lot. I often have a hard time getting my head around these issues, so I thought I would respond to your post to help me structure some of my thinking. One thing seems clear: there are a wide variety of opinions on this topic and there are no solutions (at least that I can think of) that will make everyone happy. Here are some of my reactions to your post:

    “Just because we're women does not mean we must have it all. I think a big mistake women in western culture make is to think that we should have a career and motherhood both, without sacrificing some part of one or the other. Men don't get to do that, so why do we think we deserve more "rights"?”

    >> Two comments here: I feel pretty strongly that men AND women should have more opportunities to balance work and family. It seems to me like one of the reasons that women as a group have, to an extent, retreated from the workplace (there was a fascinating article on this topic that featured former Astoria ward member Lara Hall Bennett) is because they noticed a negative effect on their families and fathers weren’t filling the gap by working less. Mothers entered the workforce, fathers failed to meet them halfway by partially disengaging, and mothers retreated back to their families. Obviously that’s a pretty broad generalization, but the long-term employment trends seem to support it.

    >> Michelle and I frequently fantasize about a scenario in which each of us could work part-time and share equally in the care of our children. Due to current social and political realities, that is likely to remain a fantasy.

    ”In the entry "Birth and the Workplace" some of you mentioned how the United States is behind the rest of the world in providing motherhood-friendly jobs.”

    >> It seems clear to me that most of the rest of the world has simply taken a more progressive approach to social policy, specifically family leave policy. In other words, they provide not just more motherhood-friendly jobs, but more parenthood-friendly jobs.

    “I wonder, have you lived in Europe and compared the difference in standard of living? I have. Sure, they get more paid vacation, maternity benefits, etc, but they also have 10-15% unemployment (compared to less than 5% in the US currently) and a much lower GDP than in the US.”

    >> There are two significant flaws with this line of reasoning. First, this paragraph seems to imply that the difference between the economic output of the US and Europe can be attributed entirely to differences in social policy. That’s quite a stretch. The reality is that social policies are only part of a much bigger economic picture and represent only one of many differences between the US and Europe that contribute to the difference in GDP and unemployment.

    >> The second weakness in this argument is the assumption that GDP and unemployment are the only measures of “standard of living.” Are you sure you don’t want to at least include crime rate? Have you looked at gun deaths in US vs. Europe?

    “Greater indolence or leisure time leads to lower productivity overall.”

    >> I agree, but I don’t see what that has to do with the question of family leave policy. When I’m taking care of my kids, I don’t feel at all indolent or leisurely. Do you?

    >> Since you brought up economics, it seems like a good time to bring up the public good / free rider issue. Companies derive tangible economic benefit from things like law enforcement, roads, national defense, clean air, and the court system. Because it’s impossible to assign a specific cost to these public goods, society avoids free riders by taxing all beneficiaries equally. I would contend that well-adjusted children and stable families fall into the category of a public good. This would suggest that the government has some appropriate role in ensuring that parents are compensated for the tangible economic benefit they provide to society. Naturally, that compensation should come (at least partially) from the companies who are deriving benefit from the public good.

    “It's amazing that even after the failure of almost every Communist country in existence some people in the US yearn for that very structure to be implemented here.”

    >> Sorry, but no matter how hard I try, I simply can’t bring myself to see the question of family leave policy as an either/or choice between Communism and capitalism (or whatever you consider to be the black-and-white alternative to Communism).

    “Government control or even interference in the economy is shown over and over again to be harmful to economic growth.”

    >> This is another VERY broad stroke. As Michelle pointed out, these statements are much more ideological than practical.

    “Besides, forced charity is not true charity -- 'forced' means lack of free agency, which is rather satanic, I believe.”

    >> I’m almost afraid to ask, but does this mean that you consider taxes, welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security all as satanic?

    ”But for "working mothers of the world" to unite and demand that daddy government force all organizations to provide for us so we do not have to make the least sacrifice sounds a little short-sighted to me.”

    >> Wow, you’re not only putting words in peoples’ mouths here, your putting motives in their hearts. Do you really believe that anyone who’s posted to this blog is unwilling to “make the least sacrifice?” To me, your argument would be better served by more logic and less bombast.

    “Many mothers would love to afford to stay home to raise their children but cannot because of a more competitive job market in which a woman might be hired (sometimes to avoid a potential gender-biased lawsuit) instead of her own husband.”

    >> I would add that there are also a great number of single mothers who would love to be able to support their families by working only two jobs. Instead, they are forced to work three because they experience wage discrimination.

    “I’m saying that there are repercussions or trade-offs with every choice we make.”

    >> I definitely agree that policy (this is still a policy discussion, right?) is about trade-offs. As a society, we have to decide how to weigh the negative effect on the married couple against the benefits to the single mom. In my mind, the equity argument (as a society, I’d like us not to discriminate based solely on gender) tips the scales in favor of the single mom.

    ”A mother does not need to do both to be a worthy individual.”

    >> Does a father?

    >> Thanks again for indulging the intrusion. Say hi to George.
    posted by Blogger Andy at 2/13/2006 08:32:00 PM  



  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger cg5 at 2/14/2006 06:09:00 AM  



  • Michelle & Andy,
    Thankyou for your comments. I agree with all your posts! My dream has always been in a fantasy world that my husband and I could split everything down the middle, that we both could have the freedom to find career success and fullfillment while also enjoying our beautiful children and sharing the the home tasks. I have always wished for this, but since it's no where near practical for us we of course are in the traditional familial structure. But I have always been someone who loves multitasking...I think I WOULD be a happier mother if I had a happy successful part time career going at the same time. I have recently taken a few tiny steps to move towards that. And I think it would be a very good thing.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 2/14/2006 06:44:00 AM  



  • I have worked with my dh in his law office (solo practitioner) and then in the large law firm where he currently is a partner. Both experiences have taught me that the key to having a "family-friendly" employer is to be a valuable employee. If your skills are exceptional and you have shown that you are an asset to the company, you can bargain to get what you want including:
    1. part-time hours - One woman worked from 6am to noon because her husband worked afternoons.
    2. work from home - the firm purchased a laptop and linked it to the office computer network and provided a private phone line for another woman who recently had a baby and wasn't going to return to work.
    3. paid childcare - Another mother that had her 3rd child and decided that the cost of daycare wasn't worth her time away is having her childcare paid by the attorney that she worked with - out of his own pocket.
    4. paid benefits for part-time work - My husband and I did this for a valuable employee and we continued to pay her benefits while she took a 6 month maternity leave of absence.
    5. set your own hours - My husband's secretary has been with him for 22 years (she started when she was 16 as part of a career training class in high school). She is now married and has 2 children. Whenever she has requested a change in her schedule, time off for babies, surgeries, illness, family obligations, etc. it has been granted. Her skills and her loyalty make her irreplaceable. We know it, the firm knows it, and SHE KNOWS IT.
    posted by Blogger kathi at 2/14/2006 09:08:00 AM  



  • Well, at least I struck a chord with what I said here, even if some of you have responded with condescension, misinterpretation, presumption and have even called in a DH to help defend your views. I'm not sure if it's worth it to respond. But I may change my mind if I think it won't cause anyone to get too riled up.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/14/2006 01:21:00 PM  



  • Just to clear my name, I didn't "call in dh". He saw the post and was all too happy to respond on his own, with his opinions. He is out of town this week, so we had very little discussion about it.
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 2/14/2006 02:17:00 PM  



  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Andy at 2/14/2006 02:59:00 PM  



  • Hey LeeAnn,

    If you get a chance, I'd love to see your response. As I said, these are important questions and I appreciate the chance to try and structure my thinking. I promise not to get too riled up. :)

    If you'd rather respond privately, feel free to shoot me an email: andydotfrostatgmaildotcom. I'd love to hear what you and George are up to anyway. Say hi to him and the baby.
    posted by Blogger Andy at 2/14/2006 03:36:00 PM  



  • Kathi--those kind of accomadations are great and it is blessing they can be offered.

    Teachers, and other civil servents, I would guess, are never offered such accomadations, no matter how fabulous they are, because the government (at many levels) cannot be as flexible as private employers. Is it any wonder that your children seem to have brand new inexperienced and overwhelmed 21 year old teachers every year? Most people who go into the profession don't last 3 years because there are no such accomadations. A few districts do try such novel approaches as maternity leave (paid or unpaid, it is hard to get more than 3 weeks), job-sharing, part-time work, tenure credit for night classes taught, etc. Most cannot and others will not.

    I am sure to be in the minority, but I think the socail benefits and higher taxes in Europe and Canada are more than worth it and more importantly, a more Christ-like society than the "free market" we pretend to have.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 2/14/2006 06:31:00 PM  



  • LeeAnn,
    I must say I'm a little more than baffled by the critisism you have taken. My broad stroke take on the entire tempest you seem to have stirred is quite simple - what has been spoken on this subject from the mouth of a prophet of God?

    How many recent talks have been given from the "bretheren" specifically referencing the sacred role of womanhood/motherhood? Is there a higher "career"? Is it not enough? You want more than what you have already been given and what the Lord has in store for each of you if you can but follow His will?

    The First Presidency issued a Proclomation On the Family only a few years back. Is it not specific enough in it's definitions and priorities?

    As to Michelle and Andy - This is clearly not the forum to begin to address your "wants." I am stumped over the sense of entitlement just because you think "someone" should provide it. Have you ever been an employer? Do you understand the pressures of a P&L, investors, shareholders, spouses investment of money, time (both of yours), emotions, etc... This horrible western society that you so freely critize happens to have been formed on the premise that there is "no free lunch."

    Maybe rather than first experimenting with being an employer of others, why not try it out first on yourself? Create your own dream job by applying the skills you have and building an income. It's called entreprenuerism (read capitalism) and it's quite liberating. I've been in your shoes and "wanted" what no one else seemed willing to provide just because I wanted it. Now, I'm the horribly mean employer who can't afford to provide maternity leave because I'm too busy paying for insurance and retirement plans, not to mention trying to pay off start-up debt, funding my own retirement (so I'm not a drain on society), as well as taking care of the current and future needs of a growing family. Most importantly, I'm providing a reasonable income so that my wife and I can follow the council of the Lord and have her at home, full-time, caring for the childeren. We share a great deal of the family responsibilities. My work day does not end at 5:30.

    The blurring of the lines between the role of the sexes simply is another tool of the advesary to tear at the roots of the family. Men are not "wired" like women. Even without the prophetic insights on this subject, science has time and again reinforced this issue. No one is better "programmed" for the rearing and nurturing than a mother. Simply having society change some set of "rules" is not going to change the basics:
    1. The Lord has spoken
    2. Men and women have seperate but complimentary roles in the raising of childeren
    3. No one is entitled to anything. Are we not "less than the dust of the earth?"

    "whatever it is that a woman of God wants to accomplish, chances are she'll be able to do it, one year or another. Just make the choice and be happy with the one you make..." Well said Cheryl!
    posted by Blogger Carlos at 2/15/2006 09:35:00 PM  



  • "Carlos,"

    Please don't twist around church doctrine to tell me what kind of mother I should be.

    Actually, my patriarchal blessing specifically says that I will serve others through a career outside the home...so as a current SAHM...I am not following God's will for me....thank goodness for personal revelation.

    I have no idea where you were going with your attack on Michelle and Andy....except that you are a frustrated small businessman. I have an MBA, could I be of any assistance?
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/16/2006 06:07:00 AM  



  • Carlos, I don't think that michelle and andy feel "entitled," I think they look at these benefits as further payment on a job well done, and assistance in their homes so that they can CONTINUE to do a job well done. I don't feel entitled to have a free car, but that is one way that my husband's employer chooses to assist our family.

    The Proclamation on the Family, just like any prophetic talk, piece of scripture or other church publication is a wonderful reference and guideline on how to live a happy and fulfilled life, but what REALLY sets our religion apart is the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the ability to receive Personal Revelation, and I believe that trumps everything else...and what we do with the church's guidance and our revelation combined is what we will be judged on.

    I second Jen in the patriarchal blessing bit, it is clear to me that I am not meant to only SAH with my kids. AND both my husband and I would sacrifice our careers if necessary, anyday for a child in need.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/16/2006 06:46:00 AM  



  • Thanks, Carlos -- finally one person out there who can see my point!

    I imagine some of you are offended by my original post, but much of that comes from not agreeing with the ideology behind it, which is that motherhood is the greatest thing a woman could do and "society" does not owe us financial assistance, if we choose to balance motherhood and career. That's it.

    And some of you got awfully defensive when I tried to compliment those of you managing to balance both!

    If having alternate ideas is offensive, then I apologize for bringing them up here.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/16/2006 08:33:00 AM  



  • My favorite posts on the blogernacle are those that declare "the prophets of god have spoken" without once ever quoting or analyzing what exactly has been said by those prophets. Typically, these posts do no more than attempt to foreclose all discussion of a topic by declaring, without substantiation, that any dispute on the matter has been foreclosed by revelation. Of course, it matters not what the words of the prophets say exactly, only that we should all somehow know that prophets exist merely to confirm the conservative views of the most outspoken 50s era apostles. Most importantly, we should all know by instinct that the prophets of god have repudiated any feminist view of the world. Don't discuss what has actually been written and signed by the apostles and prophets, only know that the issue is closed. Period. End of discussion.

    Knowing most of the commentors on this post personally, I know they do not take the words of the prophets lightly. Indeed, I would bet my right arm that Jen, Michelle and Andy have spent more hours pondering the words of the family proclamation (words that were carefully chosen by the prophets to convey specific meanings that may or may not be obvious upon first glance) than Carlos has spent minutes with those same words. Indeed, I searched in vain in the proclamation for prophetic counsel for mothers to stay "at home, full-time, caring for the children" (words used by Carlos to supposedly describe the final word of the prophets on motherhood and how to raise children).

    I guess I'll just have to take my chances in hell with people who are trying to determine through discussions like these how to live their lives in conformity with "what has been spoken on this subject from the mouth of a prophet of God" rather than bask in the heavenly light of those who seem to know prophetic counsel instinctively.
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 2/16/2006 09:49:00 AM  



  • Todd, you silly, Carlos did not say anywhere in his comment that a woman has to stay at home, or that the prophets say a woman must only stay at home, nor did I argue for such. But as he explained, the messages we receive from the first presidency tell us what our priority is, as stated in the Proclamation to the Family:

    "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."

    They then advise us to be prayerful on the matter and adjust according to our circumstances.

    I don't see where Carlos or I have said a woman should not have a career. Again, some people are a little too easily riled up over a woman's place in society, defending their choices when there is no need to do so.

    I wish you the best in resolving your issues.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/16/2006 10:24:00 AM  



  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 2/16/2006 10:56:00 AM  



  • LeeAnn,

    I believe you are the silly one, or at least the one who hasn't carefully read and considered Carlos' post.

    Carlos DID say that a woman needs to stay at home "full-time" in order to follow the "council of the Lord." And he didn't back that up with any analysis from the words of the prophets. After saying that the "prophets have spoken," he states (and I quote verbatim):

    "Most importantly, I'm providing a reasonable income so that my wife and I can follow the council of the Lord and have her at home, full-time, caring for the childeren."

    He didn't qualify his statement by saying this course of conduct is what he concluded was best for his family after prayerfully considering his circumstances (as you rightfully suggest that we all should do). He simply said that a prophet had spoken and that his wife needed to stay at home "full-time" in order to obey the Lord's counsel. If that is not saying that the "counsel of the Lord" is for the wife to stay "at home, full-time, caring for the children", then I don't know what is.

    I appreciate that you actually quoted the words of the proclamation to give Carlos' statements some grounding. I don't believe his post would have been as condescendingly forceful about what "the prophets have spoken" if he had been equally conscientious.

    And I agree that YOU have not said that a woman must stay home all the time in order to follow the prophets. I believe your original post was a mix of moral and religious sentiment with a good dose of political ideology. There is nothing wrong with that, though I would ultimately disagree with your conclusions (and I fall pretty squarely on the Republican side of the equation - in case you were wondering).

    Oh, and I will just ignore your final jab that my comment, as well as others' comments, was merely the result of some deep seated "issues" that I need to resolve (is that anything more than playground name-calling by the way?). People responded both to your post and to Carlos' comment not because they have "issues," but because you and Carlos made particular claims in your post that many people disagree with. You can either back up your claims, or explain how we have misinterpreted them, but there is no need resort to the sort of name-calling tone conveyed in your last two sentences.

    (oops, I guess I didn't ignore your last comment after all).
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 2/16/2006 10:58:00 AM  



  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Andy at 2/16/2006 04:02:00 PM  



  • Okay, silly Todd, if you read into what Carlos said you can make that connection. Anyway, I've heard many GAs say that yes, the IDEAL is for a woman to be in the home. We look to the ideal, then do according to personal revelation. But Carlos is still on target! I'm personally thankful to have a husband who works to allow me this privilege.

    Here's an excerpt from a General Conference talk by President Benson, and no, it's not from the 1950s:

    "Since the beginning, a woman’s first and most important role has been ushering into mortality spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.

    "Since the beginning, her role has been to teach her children eternal gospel principles. She is to provide for her children a haven of security and love—regardless of how modest her circumstances might be.

    "In the beginning, Adam was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow—not Eve. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother’s place is in the home! (bold added by me)

    "I recognize there are voices in our midst which would attempt to convince you that these truths are not applicable to our present-day conditions. If you listen and heed, you will be lured away from your principal obligations.

    "Beguiling voices in the world cry out for “alternative life-styles” for women. They maintain that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood.

    "These individuals spread their discontent by the propaganda that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than homemaking. Some even have been bold to suggest that the Church move away from the “Mormon woman stereotype” of homemaking and rearing children. They also say it is wise to limit your family so you can have more time for personal goals and self-fulfillment."



    I don't mean to name call or offend anyone, I'm just surprised at the apparent animosity toward the idea of a woman being a full-time homemaker and mother.

    Thanks for reading,

    Silly LeeAnn
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/16/2006 04:53:00 PM  



  • LeeAnn,

    We all have our favorite GAs. If Elder Benson was yours, that's great. But surely you understand that in the spectrum of thought expressed by the various General Authorities, a borderline political statement made by ETB in 1981 at a General Relief Society meeting (before he was called as the prophet) simply cannot carry the public weight you assign to it in 2006. ETB in his GA days was famously known for making outrageous statements that many of the other members of the 12 and the prophet himself did not agree with (read the most recent David O. McKay biography for many examples). I love and respect President Benson, but I think we can safely take his political statements (at least those made when he was not yet the prophet) with a grain of salt.

    Privately, we all cherry pick when choosing which statements of the church authorities we like best. And for private doctrine, that is actually a good thing. We believe in personal revelation, and if a statement made by ETB in 1981 strikes you as the correct principle to live in your life, then by all means follow your conscience. That is the right thing to do.

    But in public discourse - in setting general standards for all members to discuss and follow - the safest route is to rely on the most authoritative and recent proclomations on the subject at hand. Fortunately, we have The Proclamation on The Family, recently signed by the Prophet, all of the First Presidency, and all of the Quorum of the Twelve. The statements made in that document were chosen carefully, and I suggest that anything going beyond what is said therein cannot safely be relied on for public doctrine. If the Proclamation leaves open the possibility of a family living a particular lifestyle, then none of us have the right to cherry pick statements made by a single GAs to foreclose that possibility.

    Private doctrines are of a different character, and I applaud you and George for following the spirit in your life. There is no doubt that you will be blessed for it. I am sure there is a reason you are so impressed by statements like those you quote, and I would never argue with your choice to stay at home with your children.

    I simply have no animosity whatsoever for mothers who choose to stay in the home. None. I admire them greatly. My own mother stayed at home and took care of the kids, and I am grateful for her sacrifices.
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 2/16/2006 05:51:00 PM  



  • Hey Todd, you'd make a great lawyer, ha ha! Anyway, you're right, ETB was not the prophet when he said that, although I think recent Gen Conf talks would emphasize the same ideal but softened up so as not to offend anyone because many women are in non-ideal circumstances.

    I believe YOU are not against stay-at-home-mothers, but there are still women in the church who get very defensive over this. I don't think they need to be defensive or care what others think when they have confirmation from the Spirit that they are doing what is right.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/17/2006 08:19:00 AM  



  • "I believe YOU are not against stay-at-home-mothers, but there are still women in the church who get very defensive over this. I don't think they need to be defensive or care what others think when they have confirmation from the Spirit that they are doing what is right."

    Well, that's one thing on which we can all definitely agree. Truth is, I don't even think a woman needs confirmation of the spirit to stay at home with her children. If that is the choice a woman freely makes, then that choice is to be respected. And to the extent that women in the church feel pressure to not stay at home with their children, that is not a good thing. But I really think this is common ground for everyone who has posted so far. I don't think that Jen, Michelle or Andy would disagree with you in that regard at all - even though they are a bunch of communists. : )
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 2/17/2006 08:49:00 AM  



  • Has anyone read Ann Crittenden's _The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued_?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805066195/sr=8-1/qid=1140217367/ref=sr_1_1/103-8219474-8068640?%5Fencoding=UTF8

    I have a copy and have been meaning to read it for a while, but haven't yet. From what I understand, she discusses the economic/policy issues surrounding this topic: that mothers are actually penalized for their very necessary and economically valuable work within the structure of the current system.

    I haven't read it, don't know exactly what it proposes, but thought it might be interesting if someone did. And this conversation is completely out of my league so I'm going to say anything else!
    posted by Blogger sunny at 2/17/2006 03:19:00 PM  



  • So I'm NOT going to say anything else. =)
    posted by Blogger sunny at 2/17/2006 03:21:00 PM  



  • I think that as women we can accomplish anything and everything. Just not all at once. There is a time and a season for everything. If we try to to it all at the same time then we won't excel at anything. If we focus on one roll at a time we will enjoy each phase of life more, be it career or motherhood or whatever else we want to accomplish.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 2/20/2006 09:21:00 PM  



  • I looked at the Amazon page about the Ann Crittendon book and there's a tiny bit of debate going on there. What I see about the book, although I have not read it, is that she makes these landmark discoveries that... yes, motherhood is underpaid and underappreciated, "Surprise surprise" (said in a Gomer Pyle voice)! I'm not sure what her solutions are, although the ones mentioned tended to hint that we must set up more government programs to pay for motherhood. Again, since I'm a rabid anti-communist, I have very little faith in having government "provide" or legislate in social areas.

    If any of you are silly enough to want to follow a debate on the evils of socialism vs. capitalism, etc, go to this blog:
    http://essaysinidleness2006.blogspot.com/
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/21/2006 08:56:00 AM  



  • I know I joined the discussion late and that you have all moved on, but I kept thinking about this subject last night and I wanted to add something else. First I think that we should be working toward dads being able to stay home more and have better work life balance. Over the last 20 years, relative salary and standard of living have not increased but working hours have. Also I am grateful everyday that I don't have to work. I find that I can use all of my talents, knowledge, education, and skills in my home with my family and I can grow and develop on a daily bassis by being home with my children. I wouldn't want it any other way. The workplace can live with out me, but no one can raise my children like I can and have the responsibility too.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 2/21/2006 01:50:00 PM  



  • Who knew that GMA would be reading this blog and have their own weigh in on the mommy wars. Their guest, Laura Hirshman is radical and opinionated she goes as far as to say that women are harming society by staying home. Here is a blurb from her article." good life for humans includes the classical standard of using one’s capacities for speech and reason in a prudent way, the liberal requirement of having enough autonomy to direct one’s own life, and the utilitarian test of doing more good than harm in the world. Measured against these time-tested standards, the expensively educated upper-class moms will be leading lesser lives. At feminism’s dawning, two theorists compared gender ideology to a caste system. To borrow their insight, these daughters of the upper classes will be bearing most of the burden of the work always associated with the lowest caste: sweeping and cleaning bodily waste. Not two weeks after the Yalie flap, the Times ran a story of moms who were toilet training in infancy by vigilantly watching their babies for signs of excretion 24-7. They have voluntarily become untouchables." UGH! How can a feminist be so condescending to her fellow sisters? I want a revolution.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 2/22/2006 07:28:00 PM  



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