We are taught in the LDS church that education is very important, both for men and for women. We are also taught that our primary responsibility as women is to our home and family life. I feel we are bombarded with mixed messages from many different sources that tell us that women should be able to have it all and have it all right now…a fulfilling and ambitious career, a PhD, and a family. As we know, the reality of it is that there is not enough time in our lives to have everything we think we should have right now. Something will suffer. One of the many balls we juggle will eventually fall.
However, I do not share the world view of the housewife as a woman tied to screaming children with a load of laundry in one arm and a mop in the other (although some days that is definitely not far from the truth). The women I know who choose to stay home to raise their children are much more than that. They are largely educated women who choose to spend their time using that education to enrich their homes and create an atmosphere conducive to learning in their own children. What is more noble than that?
“The meaning of education is often assumed to be somehow related to “going to school” or learning as an external experience, related only to acquiring knowledge or skills helpful toward work productivity in society. All too often, when a woman makes the conscious effort to become “educated,” she perceives her alternatives as the following: (1) to seek fulfillment outside her home, (2) to sacrifice her education in order to raise a family, or (3) to try to balance career and family in some “superwoman” fashion. But I submit that the education of a woman is much broader, comprehensive, and perhaps more personal. Let us begin by considering the term “education.” Education is seen here, in its most idealistic sense, as an unveiling of the natural thirst of the mind and soul, and subsequently their replenishment, refreshment, and expansion. Considered in its broadest sense, education may occur at school, at home, with family, at church, or even with an enlightening thought in a moment of solitude. Education is more than learning. It is a complex interactive teaching and learning process.” — Elaine Shaw
I consider myself a stay-at-home mom, even though I work part time as a nurse doing a few night shifts a month. I am lucky to be able to use the education I received to contribute to the family income while not having to find childcare for my kids. I realize how lucky I am. I have also come to realize while my job can be challenging, it is not nearly as mentally and emotionally challenging/rewarding as raising children. I think it is easy to lose sight of that as women and to feel that what we are doing is unimportant or menial.
I also have come to realize that being a stay-at-home mom in no way means that we must stop progressing and learning. What a wonderful world we live in where we have so much information at our fingertips! We can learn about anything we want to in our spare time. The moms I know are well-read, well-balanced, and happy. Isn’t that the goal?