Monday, April 2, 2012


As a young adult in college I had the desire to be a wife and mother. To make my house a home, to love my children and support my husband. I often envisioned my little family as poor, but happy. I met Eric, fell in love and got married. I was a wife. And I've struggled more with that role than I thought I would. Turns out cooking dinner, making the bed and cleaning the bathroom don't come that naturally to me. I felt more successful in my day job than I did in the evenings at home. I figured in time, though, I would improve and some day, when I was at home full-time, I could hone my skills. 
We found out we were pregnant at the end of April 2011. I was pretty excited to have my  vision for my life coming to fruition. Of course I felt a lot of anxiety and apprehension, and pregnancy was not exactly what I imagined. And the things I wanted to accomplish at home took the back burner to my job and my tired, pregnant body. I looked forward to the day when I could be at home full-time, learning to cook those meals and caring for my baby. 
When Ella came I was a bit surprised at my learning curve of caring for a baby and keeping up the house. I was, apparently, a slow learner. And as the reality of staying at home dawned on me, I became extremely apprehensive. 
Eric and I were a bit spoiled as a newly married couple. We both worked full-time and had the income to show for it. Eating out, movies and roadtrips became a part of our norm. I enjoy adding new items to my wardrobe (and Eric's, too). The thought of not having those activities in our lives for the next couple of years had me doubting my initial desire to be at home full-time. Especially as I realized my skills would be expected to help make up for the loss of income. Sewing children's clothes and curtains and pillow cases seems like the natural substitute for shopping. But I leave much to be desired when it comes to running a sewing machine. Much. And unfortunately for Eric, he's far more the natural cook. I have to really follow the recipe and even then it ends up tasting pretty mediocre. How am I to compete with the allures of eating out? Etc. etc. etc. 
And so when it came down to me making the actual decision to walk away from a good job and stay at home full-time, I couldn't seem to make a definitive decision. I wavered and wavered and wavered. Finally, it was the morning of when my boss needed a firm decision. For some reason I picked up the new 'Daughters in My Kingdom' book and read this (I've italicized the phrases that spoke to me):
Mary Fielding Smith set an example as a strong, loving mother. Her son Joseph F. Smith, who became the sixth President of the Church, recalled:
“I can remember my mother in the days of Nauvoo. I remember seeing her and her helpless children hustled into a flat boat with such things as she could carry out of the house at the commencement of the bombardment of the city of Nauvoo by the mob. I remember the hardships of the Church there and on the way to Winter Quarters, on the Missouri river, and how she prayed for her children and family on her wearisome journey. … I can remember all the trials incident to our endeavors to move out with the Camp of Israel, coming to these valleys of the mountains without teams sufficient to draw our wagons; and being without the means to get those teams necessary, she yoked up her cows and calves, and tied two wagons together, and we started to come to Utah in this crude and helpless condition, and my mother said—‘The Lord will open the way;’ but how He would open the way no one knew. I was a little boy then, and I drove team and did my share of the work. I remember coming upon her in her secret prayer to God to enable her to accomplish her mission. Do you not think that these things make an impression upon the mind? Do you think I can forget the example of my mother? No; her faith and example will ever be bright in my memory. What do I think! Every breath I breathe, every feeling of my soul rises to God in thankfulness to Him that my mother was a Saint, that she was a woman of God, pure and faithful, and that she would suffer death rather than betray the trust committed to her; that she would suffer poverty and distress in the wilderness and try to hold her family together rather than remain in Babylon. That is the spirit which imbued her and her children.”

 "‘The Lord will open the way;’" 

"enable her to accomplish her mission." 

"she would suffer poverty and distress in the wilderness 
and try to hold her family together 
rather than remain in Babylon."

After reading that, I knew that my decision to stay at home full-time would be blessed by my Heavenly Father. I knew I needed to leave my Babylonian desires behind and put my faith in God that he would help watch over our family. I know that my roles as wife and mother are the core of my mission here and that eventually my talents and skills that have been exercised outside of the home will work together to improve and enhance our family and home.

I know that being at home full-time is not for every woman, either circumstances don't permit it, or she enjoys and finds fulfillment in those associations and opportunities outside the home. I'm not judging anybody - my Mom worked full-time while I was growing up! I just wanted to share my view and experience, cause that's what blogs are for, sharing. Tender.

Now off to fold some more laundry. Curses. 


PBJK Ussery said...

Thanks, Lexi. I needed that. Just know you're not alone. Something I have been focusing on lately is to remind myself that no one has a perfect life. It's not even possible. That helps me to have realistic expectations for myself and my family and to be grateful everyday for the things that I HAVE accomplished and the talents and skills that I DO have. You are an inspiration. I hope you know that.
p.s. Your Ella is a doll!

Sarah said...

There are days when I hate staying home. Hate it. Parenting is so much less black and white than I thought it'd be. I have so many days when I feel like I'm failing, but I have had many more moments where I feel I'm doing something incredible. I'm the world's leading expert on Adam. And I like that.

I don't think you'll ever regret staying at home. You may have days where you hate it, but I'd guess that you'll never look back and think it was a bad decision.

Fresh and Feisty said...

And, I struggle with the opposite. I am the one that has to support the family financially. I worry that I'm not doing the right things. I worry that I should be home with my family. And, I'm tired being pregnant again. But, I agree, things have a way of working out how they should. It's hard to see the big picture sometimes when the little things keep getting in our way. And, ps, I think we are all slow learners when it comes to children. It's how it's supposed to be :)

Pamela said...

Just so you know, some day, getting out of bed is all I accomplish. I know my house is a mess, I know my laundry is in piles and mounds (clean ones, that is) because I despise folding. There are times dinner is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And, it's OK! I had an English professor tell me one time when I was mumbling about not being able to go to the temple after Kyra was born that right then I was keeping up my end of the covenant that I made in the Temple when I went through for myself. That helped my perspective about the times and seasons of what and when we are able to do the things we want.

Now, if you ever want some tips or pointers, or even more "seasoned" mom testimonials, I'll be happy to help. And I don't expect you to follow any of it, but if anything get a good laugh from my follies as I struggle to raise my 4 kids and support Jon in his responsibilities.

And since I have a way with a sewing machine...we can always hang out and I'll hold Ella while you "practice"! :)

Love ya Lexi! You're doing such a great job and yes, the Lord will provide a way for all things to be possible!