Monday, March 7, 2011

Cookie Cutters

I've been finding myself having the same conversation over and over again. After a bit of polite "how do you dos", the topic of career comes up. When I say that I'm a full time mother, I often receive the same incredulous look and questions of why I would choose that. One particular conversation I'll never forget. I was speaking with a man I highly respected and looked to as a mentor of kinds. I was a little blindsided when I was bludgeoned with "Why on earth would you surround yourself with such cookie cutter women?!" This individual was speaking of Mormon Housewives. 


Now I wasn't offended. Not really. Probably because for a while there I thought of them as cookie cutters too. When I was attending BYU, I worked at a Italian Restaurant as a server. I hated when young mothers would come in with their kids during my lunch shift. First of all, they always made a horrendous mess, and they were really really bad tippers. (Note to ALL parents. No matter what, leave at least a 20% tip if you have young kids. You are paying for the service and the clean up.) After a while of working there, the moms all started to look the same. The same sloppy pony tail, jeans with t-shirts and flip flips. Huge purses bursting at the seams with coloring books, sippy cups and discarded jackets. The same bloodshot eyes barely seeing me as they asked for 4 cups of water with lids and straws, one diet coke, one salad and one cheese pizza. I really never gave them much of an afterthought. I had my mind on my date that night. And the businessmen at the next table had all ordered beers and were calling for refills anyway. 


I now see myself fully developed into this woman. I don't want to have the sloppy ponytail, but I didn't get a moment to shower. I hate that I never wear my cute clothes, but my kids' hands are always so sticky and I'm spending my days cleaning, on the floor playing or at the park anyway. I try to brighten my eyes with makeup, but there is only so much you can do on 4 hours of sleep. I've learned to rock my huge diaper bag.


I that guess to the masses we may seem cookie cutter. We have kids and we stay home with them. There is a lifestyle that surrounds that. But the longer I'm a Mormon Housewife, the prouder I am to be such. We are not cookie cutters. We are not boring or lazy (HA!) and we have not settled. 


We weren't always mothers. That's just what we have chosen to be. With all our degrees and experience, we choose amongst all other options to be mothers and wives. And it amazes me to be part of this generation. A generation of the most educated and experienced mothers yet. We have different needs than the generations before us. We need more adult interaction, most of us need time away. Most of us spent years developing ourselves as women outside of being mothers and wives. That part of us must continue to thrive. That's probably why we make up such a huge population of this blogosphere. 


Blogging is an extraordinary development for us mommies. We have a place in the world and our words are heard, even if most of our time is spent in our homes. We have made the world aware of our presence and the voice we have in regards to everything from families, politics, to what products are actually worth our money. So many defend our choice to raise children as a career with confidence, humor, candor and grace. 


Last summer I was in Spokane with my family. Two of my sisters and I took our babies to the park. As we played on the grass two college age girls ran past. They smiled, but I saw one give the other a look that said "lame". I looked at the two women sitting next to me, laughing and playing with their children. As a group we did look the same. We were all wearing capris with t-shirts and tennis shoes and hats (we had walked to the park on a very hot day). We looked about as stereotypical, stay-at-home-mom as it gets. But knowing them, I could hardly see them that way. All of us sisters graduated from college and traveled the world before starting our families. Emily has traveled to more countries than I can count and had a successful job at a university that she still advises on. Abby lived with a Namibian tribe in Africa. My sister Molly, who just gave birth to her first baby, taught school in China. I had my share of career and travel myself. 

One of my favorite quotes is one by Edith F. Hunter. "Educated women in the home? What an odd thing to deplore! What better place to have us "end up"... what more important job is there than sharing the values we are learning to cherish with the next generation of adults? What more strategic place could there be for the educated woman?"


I love my religion and my family. I love being a Mormon Housewife. First because I think it is a wonderful and fulfilling thing to do with my life. And second because I am honored to share the title with so many amazing women.

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20 comments:

Leslie said...

Amazing post, Natalie! Thank you so much for writing it. I am in the same boat, completely and utterly proud and satisfied to be a mother. An educated, cultured mother to three wonderful, smart kids. Shout it from the rooftops, girl! :)

Holly said...

Thank you Natalie. This is just what I needed to read tonight before I head off to bed, knowing fully that I will only get a few hours of sleep before my baby needs me. I often forget who that woman was before I had children. Sometimes I long for those days of career, adult conversation, wearing heels, eating out at nice restaurants, traveling, and feeling like what I did every day was "important." But then I realize that the woman I was then was not complete. My kids have helped me to me understand what it means to be selfless. They have taught me more about love than I ever knew before. Is there anything more "important" I could be doing each day than being with them? I don't think so. And I'm blessed to be able to make the choice to stay home with them. Thank you for lifting my spirits tonight and reminding me how lucky I am to be a Mormon housewife!

Zac said...
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Elliott Mom said...

Thank you so much, Natalie!! I sometimes wish that I had been able to "do more" with the post-college, career portion of my life. But reading this post reminded me that those experiences make me a stronger mom, better able to teach my daughters what wonderful potential they have. Thanks for making my day!

Jessie said...

Great post mama!

Mrs. Jones said...

We are so different, but I do love your blog, and that is a beautiful quote. I may never get the chance to stay home when we do have children, but I think that quote does sum up my feelings about some of the wonderful SAHMs I know!

Whatever Dee-Dee wants said...

I couldn't have loved this post more!
I love being a mom and it is something I CHOSE to be, It is something I am very proud of. Being a mom is the hardest and most fulfilling job I have ever had and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Big Toe Mom said...

R. O. C. K. ON Mom!!!

(me too, and I was always,ALWAYS, afraid to say what I really wanted to be when I grew up. A Mom!) Not anymore.

The Osborne's said...

Amen! There is no more important career than raising future leaders. Our children determine what the future of our world will be and we control that future one child at a time. The more education, experience and refinement you have the better opportunities you provide for your children. I earned my MBA and had a career for 8 years before having children and yes, it feels good to receive praise of others but that's not what life is about. There is no more unselfish or worthy purpose in life than to give of yourself for the betterment of your children. And truly no greater satisfaction can come than seeing your little ones' smiles and accomplishments. Besides- have you ever met a more talented person than a mormon housewife?

lisa said...

Great post Natalie. I whole-heartedly agree.

Hannah said...

Thanks Natalie! We will soon have four children ages 3 and younger (set of twins in there). We've been in Utah but will soon be moving to a place that isn't as kid friendly or SAHM friendly...I think I needed to read this and will probably be reading it again many times! I have never been happier or more fulfilled in all of my life (and more tired):)

Jenn said...

It is so amazing to me how much my perspective on EVERYTHING has changed since becoming a mother. I love seeing women who are pregnant for the first time and know what an amazing adventure they have in store for themselves. After becoming a mother the world changes. I am a better person because of my daughter. I appreciate my mom so much! I don't sweat the small things that would have been large issues before, I enjoy the simplicity of life. Your post could not have been more spot on. I am not mormon, but I have to agree with everything you wrote about being a sahm!

Becky said...

What an amazing post. I was so impressed with how you were able to put so many of my feelings into words. I went to college, but I can't imagine being anywhere else but with my beautiful girls. Yes, I totally rock a pony tail...unless by some miracle I get an extra 15 minutes somewhere in my day to pull out my flat iron to straighten my unruly mom hair. Thank you so much for writing this post. I have always loved reading your blog, but this has made me love it so much more. Thank you!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ said...

I so had to comment on this. I get the same thing all the time! Little do people know that I too have traveled the "world" I have been to over 13 different countries and have lived in 15 different states. I cant stand when people trivialize what I do or who I am because I am a stay at home mom. They almost always assume that I am uneducated. The best quote I have ever heard was from another mother in a kids club...she said "For those that work when they die their legacy is to be replaced by another worker...when a stay at home mom passes on her legacy is in the memmories her kids have of all the play dates, tea parties and of always being there!" I loved that. Not the working moms dont have the same thing...but I CHOSE to be home with my kids...no other options were half as appealing!

Canadiachik said...

I don't comment as often as I'd like, but this post really blew me away, Natalie! I love your blunt honesty and you express your heart so well. Totally made me teary because it speaks so true to me!

Robert & Jasmin dey said...

I also love being a Mormon Housewife.I'm proud of it and am so happy to see other women who feel the same way I do.Thanks for the great post!

sonja said...

looks like you're not alone. it's a popular choice and with good reason :D

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/08/p.new.stay.at.home.mom/index.html?hpt=Sbin#

i hope this link works and takes you to a cnn.com article posted today.

Mrs. Simpson said...

Work it sister. I got a mouth full from my Grandma last year about how I'm wasting my college education. Um, HELLO my degree was in education. That is never wasted. It really bothered me that she, and many others I'm sure, think it's a waste to stay home with our children. It did take me a couple of years after having my first child to realize what a special blessing it is for me to be there for them and I am one lucky duck to be in a position where I can stay home. Thanks for posting that, it feels nice to sit with others in the boat.

PS. The Broncos just released their schedule for the fall. You must go to one bronco nation game. I think we're coming up for the Oct. 22nd game. I'll be the one trying to make a fool of myself to get on TV.

Calli said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Thank you. I think we have the best kept secret. How wonderful that we GET to be Mormon housewives. The world just doesn't realize what they are missing. Also I truly believe that our children will be grateful for the sacrifices that we make for them.

jenny said...

Well said natalie :) Perfect! I love this post!

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