What the family proclamation doesn’t say about stay-at-home mothers

You’ve probably seen that The Family: A Proclamation to the World has received a lot of air time in the nearly 20 years it’s been around. In fact, many throughout the church consider it scripture.

I was reading it for the umpteenth time the other day, and I noticed two things:

  • It doesn’t say that mothers should stay at home
  • It doesn’t say that women should do all the housework

There are some parts where one could extrapolate the assumptions that women should stay home. For example:

“. . . fathers . . . are responsible to provide the necessities of life . . . for their families.”

One could assume that because fathers are singled out here that mothers must not have that responsibility. It’s just that, however: an assumption. Here’s another example of an extrapolation point:

“Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

One could assume here that this implies a mother must stay home, especially when combined with the previous sentence. Again, however, this is only implicit and not explicit. Nowhere in the proclamation does it actually say that women must stay at home. Even the responsibility of nurturing the children doesn’t require the parent to be at home 24 hours a day.

Consider the next sentence in the proclamation:

“In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

So, if fathers have an obligation to help mothers as equal partners in nurturing children, and they decide (as cultural tradition dictates) to work out of the home, how can they nurture their children? If fathers can nurture their children without having to be home 24 hours per day, certainly mothers can, too.

On my second point, there is just nothing anywhere that can be reasonably extrapolated to support the idea that women must do all the housework. There isn’t much else to say about that.

Gratitude and Patience

A day late, I know. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. But today I am reflecting on what I am thankful for, and trying to remember this (actually currently on a minute by minute basis). Recently my prayers have included asking for help in being patient with my children. Oh it is SO easy to be patient with babies, and toddlers. Not quite as much with growing children with strong personalities and minds of their own (can we say a 7 year old boy with an abundance of energy and 2 sisters he delights in teasing??).

I remember though, that I am so grateful for these beautiful wonderful children and one day, yes, one day, this overly energetic son and my budding pre-teen daughter (cringe), independent 3 year old and baby coming and any more who will come to us, will be all grown up and I won’t have my babies to cuddle and children to protect and nurture. That will be their job with their children. So learning to enjoy and revel in this time is vitally important. So yes, I am learning patience. At least I hope so.

Love One Another, As I Have Loved You

My personal quest has been, recently, to study and understand the principle of charity better. Even more so, to understand the true nature of love, as the Saviour would have us love. So, I have been studying the scriptures, thinking about it, thinking about the nature of Jesus Christ, reading other publications, such as The Peacegiver: How Christ heals our hearts and homes and The Anatomy of Peace (which I am currently in the middle of reading).

Just yesterday I had an epiphany.

I asked myself the following question, or rather, the following question came to my mind; Why do I love Jesus Christ? (or anyone I love, for that matter). Why do I feel humble when thinking of Him, why do I get an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love when I think about Him? Is it because of anything I have done? Is it because I feel I deserve or should be loved by Him? No.

And why do I have a desire to be better and to do what He wants me to do? Why do I strive (with limited success) to be like Him? Why do I want to be like Him?

It is because He loves me. And I don’t just think this, it is something I know and feel and am aware of on a basic level. His love for me is apparent when I feel the spirit, when I think of His life, how He lived and behaved towards people He came in contact with. This is independent of His teachings to obey the commandments. His love for me is unconditional. Remember, this is independent of His teachings to be obedient and follow the commandments. Loving me does not mean He expects less of me or will let me off the hook.

So all these things I feel and want to be are inspired by His love for me. Not for anything in myself or that I have created. This is the love that He wants us to have for others. For our husbands and wives, our parents, our children, our friends, our other family members, our acquaintances, those we have conflict with, those who are not like us, those who offend us, those who hurt us, those we have no reason to like, those who do things that annoy us. Everyone. He wants us to actually have this love so that they feel this love and are saved by it.

I understand what this love is. It isn’t the doing, it is the state of heart and mind, of truly loving, so that in our demeanor, attitude and behaviour towards others, we radiate this love. This is why people flocked to Him, why children surrounded Him. They knew His love was genuine and constant, they basked in it and wanted it. When He came to the Americas, this is why the multitude didn’t want Him to leave. This is the Spirit which cannot help but be present in the face of such love. It is a love that grows and needs no effort, because it is. It is something that is possible to attain through a lifetime of learning and growth. He has this love for all. We can at least, have this love for those around us.

This is a love I can develop over time, independent of my expectations of others, that I can come to with His help. But this is the true concept of the love of Jesus Christ.

Cub Scouts

My eight year old son just started cub scouts this fall.?Ǭ† He’s pretty stoked and has fun going.

As a parent, I’m not impressed with what our ward offers as far as the cub scout program goes.?Ǭ† For example, this week, their activity was “Putting away the chairs in the gym from general conference”.?Ǭ† Now, if that was ever the lamest cop-out of an activity, I don’t know what is!?Ǭ† I believe they passed it off as a “Service Activity”.

?Ǭ†This got my wife and I talking.?Ǭ† My nephews are also in cub scouts.?Ǭ† They aren’t members of the church, so they go to a community group.?Ǭ† I believe they have 50+ kids going to this community cub scout group.?Ǭ† There are quite a few parent volunteers who help out.?Ǭ† They are always working on badges, skills, getting ready for camps, fund-raisers, etc… all the things I remember doing when I was eight years old and in cub scouts.

Is the difference that we’ve made cub scouts a part of the church??Ǭ† Is it because it’s a calling that it only gets done half-ass?

?Ǭ†We’re considering the idea of taking our son out of the ward sponsored cub scout program and put him in the community one.

I feel bad for our local leadership.?Ǭ† I’m going to assume that they are trying to make the church experience the best it can be.?Ǭ† But from my perspective, it is seriously lacking.?Ǭ† When you have a program being so poorly run, how do you turn that around??Ǭ† How do you create an environment where people actually want to come to church and socialize and participate??Ǭ† How do you combat the apathy??Ǭ† Or perhaps we should strip out all of the unessential programs and leave it to community groups to do what they do best?

Stay-at-Home Mums

I was having a discussion earlier this week with someone else who works at the university. Somehow the discussion turned to our children and she asked if we put them in childcare.

Has our society arrived at the point where it is assumed that mothers work away from home? Is it rare now to see stay-at-home mums?

Breastfeeding in public

I cam across an article in Babytalk magazine?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùyes, the same one that has much of the United States in an uproar, or so the media would have us believe?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand i found a couple of items interesting. I thought I’d post them here.

A [USA] survey . . . published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 57 percent of those polled said that women should not have a right to breastfeed in public.

Only 10 percent of mothers who work full-time [still breastfeed] their baby at 6 months, according to a 2005 CDC report.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association’s survey found that only 47 percent of [employers] favored longer maternity leaves, and only 43 percent supported giving women a private room to pump in at work.

A mom should breastfeed her baby for at least the first year of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.. . . In 2004 . . . about 70 percent of U.S. mothers reported that they had tried breastfeeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s up from 55 percent in 1993. . . . At 6 months, only 36 percent were still nursing. At 12 months, the number dips to 17 percent

Oh, and thanks to fMh for posting the link.