Saturday, September 25, 2010

Living the Principles of the Family Proclamation As a Working Mom

Today's guest blogger is my Aunt Lin...
She's an author, a teacher, and she blogs daily at Letters From Lin.

Take it away, Lin!

“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.” (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Family
Proclamation.” Salt Lake City: 1990.)

But what if you have never married, had children or are divorced or
widowed? As a young child, I played house with my dolls-cuddled and loved
them. I just assumed that one day I would grow up, be married and become a
stay at home mom. My own mother however had to work because she was
widowed when I was only five years old. I didn’t think I would need to find
employment when I had a family neither did she. But… “life is what happens
while you are making other plans.”

I realized the importance of gaining job skills and education to help me find
employment to support myself just in case I became an old maid and didn’t find a
husband to fulfill my childhood dream of a family. I pursued graduate work and
taught part time at BYU, then finally found “the one,” and married in the Salt Lake
LDS Temple at the ripe old age of 24.

After my marriage, I found myself working fulltime as my husband was still
in graduate school. When our first child was born, I realized how much I wanted
to stay home and raise our son, not miss any of his development as a fulltime
mother; but that was not to be. Finances necessitated my continued employment
and finding a babysitter to be “me” was difficult. Feelings of guilt were frequent as
I left my child at daycare or with sitters.

This was before the Proclamation on the family although LDS prophets
were still giving the same advice to women…”to come home from the workplace
and be a fulltime mother… not seek after the riches of the world. . President
Kimball also advised… No career approaches in importance that of wife,
homemaker, [and] mother” (Fireside address, San Antonio, Texas, 3 Dec. 1977).
I was never able to be home fulltime despite the birth of two more sons as my
husband continued his graduate work with studying for a PhD degree. Staying
home was an illusive goal. Working part time was easier for me as a mom than
fulltime, but that didn’t last long as I soon faced new challenges.

At age 35 with three dependent sons, I found my temple marriage of 10 years disintegrating
because of the unfaithfulness of my husband. Despite my best efforts, endless
prayers, and intensive marriage counseling, my husband’s behavior didn’t
change. Saving my marriage and eternal family was not possible. To stay in my
marriage was to risk my sons following their father’s path away from gospel
principles. Divorce was not something I entered into lightly or without consulting
with my Bishop plus attending the temple prayerfully.

As a single parent, I became an elementary teacher. It was a good
occupation for me to have time with my growing children and yet work fulltime.

We had summers and holidays off together. It was challenging to be parenting
alone but kind home teachers and a sweet bishop helped sustain me and offered
priesthood blessings, which were a great help. Personal prayer and rereading my
patriarchal blessing reminded me of opportunities promised me that would be
fulfilled in this life or the next.

Later I remarried and thought, "Ah, now I can be home full-time,” but my new
husband had difficulty finding work and returned to graduate school. So now I
was supporting my children and a new spouse. As another son was born to our
blended family, I finally quit my job. We tried to survive without my salary on a
student loan until my husband found full-time work.

The ideal is for a young mother to try to stay home with her children and raise them, but it’s not always
possible despite your best intentions, prayers, and hopes.  Church leaders have counseled those working mothers or single sisters who have to work to support their own or family’s needs heaven’s help.

Lastly, my advice to those of you who are single is to pray often, because our
Heavenly Father, who knows you best of all, knows your talents and
strengths as well as your weaknesses. He has placed you here on the
earth at this time to develop and refine these characteristics. I promise you
He will help you. He is aware of your needs, and by and by those promised
blessings of companionship will come to you. (James E. Faust, “Welcoming Every Single One,” Liahona, Aug 2007, 2–6)

I know that my Heavenly Father understands the struggles I’ve
had as a working mother all my life. Great blessings of peace and
comfort have come as I was able to forgive my divorced husband, go
forward with my life, and raise my children in the Church.

Understanding that each person has their free agency and life is full of
challenges has brought understanding and wisdom to me as I look
back now. We are here to learn and strengthen ourselves by the things
that we experience. The gospel is full of guidance for our lives, if we
will follow it, and a loving Heavenly Father is always there to
strengthen and counsel with us as we pray and seek his Spirit in our

Thank you, Lin!

Be sure to hop on over to Chocolate On My Cranium for more on the Family Proclamation today!

Here is another look at this week's prizes.  I'll announce the winners tomorrow:

Our Family Is Something To Crow About Metal on Wood Plaque

Our Family Is Something to Crow About
by For All Seasons

1103  - Vinyl Lettering -  Family Name    Be true to who you are and the family name you bear.  Gordon B. Hinckley

Vinyl Lettering Customized with Your Family name
and "Be true to who you are..." quote.
by Design Divas

CTR Wood Block Letters
 by Craft 28 Junkie

Eternity Dictionary Page Banner

Eternity Banner
by Bazinga Crafts

Theme blocks with Paper Lettering

"Be Strong and of Good Courage" Blocks
by Under My Umbrella

2010 Primary Theme - 5x7 Print

Primary Theme "I Know My Savior Lives"
by Jot & Tittle


  1. Wonderful person to highlight...she's an inspiration.

  2. Beautiful. I just read "Mormon Women" - it was full of similar insights.

  3. You are always very inspiring Lin !Cheers to you !

  4. I imagine the counsel to stay home for women who truly cannot is as heart-wrenching as the counsel to have a family for a woman who cannot. Fortunately, we have leaders who don't direct us based on exceptions, or else we would never receive direction!!! And unfortunately in this day and age, particularly in my generation, the world's ideas about what it means to be a successful woman and the constant societal flaunting of women who have been the first to . . . . . has distracted a lot of women from loving and embracing the TIMING of motherhood and the TIMING of a career. HOWEVER, it's best to love and not judge, no matter what you think you see or hear. And for those working moms who are doing everything possible to just SURVIVE from day to day, it's a lot easier to lend a helping hand of support than cling to a soap box that they themselves LONG for and feel guilty about NOT living every day of their lives. Thanks for helping me think about this today. And for teaching me some more compassion.

  5. I figure everything has a season right? So some of us will have to work with young ones and maybe someday we won't have to work. My mom finally got to be a stay at home mom when I was in high school.

  6. Well, I'm the author and can say that I am now retired and a stay at home grandmother! lol...

  7. I have loved this Family Proclamation celebration!

  8. I am a working mom and would like to be a SAHM but I know I will be some day, for now I do my best working to build the kingdom of God (I work for the church) see my blog at

  9. I echo Mommy #1's comment! That's what I would have said if I was eloquent:)

  10. I've also been thinking about this lately. I love my job, but would be happier if I were at home more often. It is what it is. Thanks for writing this.

  11. This is such a good post. I can just imagine you at home with your boys. Thank you for your insight.

  12. Thanks for sharing all this wisdom with us...Mommy #1, well-said!