Thursday, September 11, 2008

Defining Myself

Recently I have found myself thinking heavily upon my role as a wife and mother, both of which roles I truly have come to love, love, love.

As a couple, the husband and I have assumed the traditional roles of husband as breadwinner and wife as homemaker. I have no feminist issues with being a homemaker, rather I have embraced this role wholeheartedly. What I have found however, is that I sometimes desire to be recognized in this role, and it is a role that largely goes unrecognized.

First and foremost, the title of homemaker must be defined. In my world, a homemaker is one who sets the tone in the home, the one who makes the home a pleasing place to be. Not one who makes bread beautifully, cleans immaculately, crafts superbly, or pleases constantly.

I adhere to the standards set forth in The Family: A Proclamation to the World wherein is stated,

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

To me, this outlines the job the husband and I are to do together. This is the easy job- tag-teaming and having someone to bounce ideas off of.

I have had a more difficult time coming to understand what exactly my role as mother and wife is. I feel like I have almost, finally, come to know just what I should worry about as a mother and wife and what I should let fall by the way- and not feel guilty for allowing them to fall by the way. Again, in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it states:

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. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.

After pondering on this statement, and after a little personal inspiration- maybe even revelation, I take a new meaning and gain a new understanding than ever before. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. It doesn't say Mothers are primarily responsible for the upkeep of the home, the cleaning of the toilets, the washing of the laundry, the emptying of the dishwasher, the mopping of the floors. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of the children! How liberating is that? I love the new (always there) meaning I have found in the Proclamation. That is wonderful! As long as I am nurturing my children, I am doing my job.

Now, knowing that my primary role is in nurturing these sweet children and his is in the providing for the necessities and presiding in the home- this leaves the upkeep of the home to both of us. And in our case, this is something we both agree on. What a wonderful husband! I am not excusing myself from the main upkeep of the home, but I am allowing myself to invite the husband in and to realize that this is his responsibility, too. Together, the housework is our responsibility. Even still, I have felt guilty that he has had to help. Why? It is because of those traditional roles that we placed upon ourselves.

I am grateful for a husband who works hard to provide for our needs- and who does an awesome job at that. And who supports me in my role. He is truly the biggest champion of mothers and hugest ally in parenting.

So, what am I going to do with this new found knowledge? I am going to nurture my children more. I am going to read to them more. I am going to play games with them more. I am going to talk to them more. I am going to allow them to help with the housework more. I am going to play barbies and babies with them more. I am going to build forts with them more. I am going to show them the nurturing love and power of a woman and by that rite, a mother. I am not going to feel guilty if the dishes are left in the sink, or the laundry is on the couch waiting to be folded. I am not going to feel the guilt because of a floor screaming to be vacuumed.

I love this talk by Elder Ballard in the April General Conference where he talks to women about being daughters of God. He quotes Anna Quindlen who said:

The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

I love that! I am going to be that woman who treasures the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. My children are my second greatest treasure, my husband the first. I love these people. I don't want to rush past these times. I want to savor them. I want to remember the details, the scents, the sights.


Shannon said...


Ruth P said...

Wow....Thanks. I needed that.

Mike & Beckie said...

I should have skipped today's entry, like I was warned. But all in all I am glad I read it anyways.

I wish I could be a stay home Mother to my son. But at the moment it is important for me to work.

I really needed this reminder that I should cherish those times I do share with him and my spouse.

Thank you for posting this - it is amazing what we can learn from each other as parents/adutls.

Randibee said...

Thanks for that-it makes me feel better, especially since I just got done playing in the bath with a toddler, while the rest of the house is a mess.

Mechelle said...

Thank you for expressing your thoughts and feelings on this subject of great importance. It really does clarify, for me as well, the how's and why's. There's never enough time to get everything done and spend the right kind of time with our children. It's like the sister said in church three Sundays ago: there is a season for everything in our lives. This season now is for nurturing our children and the clean spotless house will come later when our children are older.

Thank you for your encouraging words.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Mothers are amazing. whether they work away from the home, or work in the home, they do more than most men can do in a week. We all cherish the time we have with our Moms.

Mothers should definitely not feel guilt for not having a perfect home, or even the time they cannot spend with their children. All parents should take advantage of the time they DO have with their kids.

God bless Mothers. And know the important work you only can do regardless of your situation.

Chris said...

submitted last comment before i was done.

i was just going to say, my wife IS the best mom in the world. simply AMAZING!!!

(my own Mom is right up there with her though).

Kellie Buckner said...

Thank you.

carolyn said...

I needed to be remined again that I truely do love being a Mom with all the ups and downs. Thanks!