Today is the last blog hop for the Celebration of the Family. The topic is how the Family Proclamation has affected each of our lives personally. There are so many ways it has affected my life that I'm not quite sure where to start. But the first thing that stuck out to me shortly after it had been read in the General Relief Society Meeting was this:
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.
At the time, I was going through quite the feminist stage, plus I was about 11 so I was disagreeable anyway, but I heard that and thought "What? Men have all those cool things to do and all women get is nurture children? That's not fair!" I know, I was so far off the mark. In later years I spent a lot of time pondering those words. The next sentence is:
In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Equal partners? I thought, how could they be equal if the woman just stays home and changes diapers all day? Then one day it dawned on me: If we're equal, then nurturing children is just as important as presiding, providing, and protecting the whole family. Plus, they help each other. It really stuck in my mind when I was assigned a group project for one of my classes, I don't even remember the class or the project, but I do remember that one we all knew our common goal, we divided the tasks and assigned each person something different to do, then we came together before the presentation and went over what everyone had and offered pointers and what not. It was then that I realized that although some of us had what seemed to me more fun or exciting parts, they were all equally important to the benefit of the group. In a family, the children need to nurtured, protected, provided for and have leadership. If both the husband and wife just nurtured, the children could be left without basic needs like food and shelter, if both provided and nothing else, the children would become detriments to society, ill-mannered and without direction.
I knew that this was what I needed to do when I got the chance. So even through joining the Army and all the other fun stuff I did, I knew that when it came time to have children, I would give it up to be home with them and be the best mom I could be. I found out later on that that was one of the main reasons my husband was so interested in me, because he deeply desired a wife who would be home with our children, and wanted to be home with them. 41 weeks after we got married I was blessed to become a mom. I never knew I could find so much more joy and so much more fulfillment in doing something that the world views as "drudgery" than I ever did in the military, in any other job, even more than school, and I love school (college, that is, high school I could have done without!). I was never the kind of girl or young woman who went to pieces every time I saw a baby. I thought babies were cute, and I didn't mind babysitting, but I had no idea that I could feel so much overwhelming love for someone so small and helpless. I once saw an add in a magazine of a woman giving her baby a bath and the caption read "You never thought that the love of your life would be short and bald." It's so true. When I was pregnant with my third child, I was in the waiting room at the doctors office and another woman saw that I was there with my bigger kids and said "Wow, you must have really easy pregnancies!" I wouldn't go that far. I've never been hospitalized or had gestational diabetes or hypertension or anything, but I have had very large babies (my second was 10 pound, 4 ounces!) All my babies have at least tried to be born posterior, and I've had all those other fun side affects of pregnancy: horrible back aches, fatigue, nausea, swollen ankles, varicose veins, swelling, etc. But if I hadn't been so surprised by that assumption, I would have told this woman "No, I don't have really easy pregnancies, I just have really cute babies!" I enjoy my babies, I love them so much and I am so happy I get to be home with them and spend time with them. Two weeks after my last child was born (it had been a hard delivery and recovery was moving along quite slowly) my husband, who was trying to give me a hard time, asked "So do you think you could do it again?" I said yes. He looked surprised and said "You're nuts!" Then he added "Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He made women the ones who have babies, if I had to do it, we wouldn't have any, because I don't want to go through that kind of pain." Despite my attitude toward it as a youth, I would say yes, Heavenly Father very much knew what He was doing when he assigned the responsibilities to mothers and fathers.
And I'm so happy I listened!