5/15/14

Career Update: My kids Know What They Want to Be, I Guess I Do Too?

I was 14-years-old when this picture was taken. 

This Friday is career day at my kid's school. Oscar will be dressing like a baseball player, Owen's going to be James Bond, and Ella will be a science teacher. They are going to be stoked when they see what I bought. Horray overnight shipping. Horray for dreams.

As a kid I dreamt of owning a competitive gymnastics center with my best friend. Then in middle school I wanted to be a teacher like my mom. In high school, I switched. I started to parade down the hallways proclaiming I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when I grew up. The highest, holiest calling of all!

I know I'm not the only one in my generation of young mormon women to transform their career goals into dreams of becoming domestic goddesses. It was being grilled into every lesson and talk we heard. I found a perfect example from 1998 called Turning Hearts to Family by Margaret Nadauld. Brace yourself. She encourages young women to learn to cook, help with the laundry, and develop artistic talents for their future home and family. She had the young sisters imagine where they wanted to be in 10 years and write in their journals. I was in 10th grade at the time. I ate this advice up. Journals were my speciality. I cringe at the stuff I wrote.

The dreams I had as a sophomore to be a stay-at-home mom? They all came true. I'm a poster child for Margaret Nadauld's talk. Sort of. I married the second guy I dated at BYU-Idaho and had 3 kids by our 4th wedding anniversary. I've had jobs here and there, but most of my time has been devoted to my family. Brain washing works! Motherhood is awesome! Feminist housewives yay!

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49 comments:

  1. Hey, I'm saying this as a friend and PLEASE don't be offended, but it seems like you could really benefit from some therapy sessions? Based on this post and posts in the past, you must be going through a lot and I'm a little bit worried about you. I'm a firm believer that everyone could benefit from therapy, but even more so during stuff like this.

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    1. A non-mormon therapist I should add!

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    2. Anonymous, please no offence but you could really benefit by not being an as●●●●●.

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    3. ha ha thanks richard. you're the best.

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  2. Love this. Super jealous of this Mormon trend...still not as strong in the Catholic community. About to embark on my own SAHM journey and PUMPED to make my high school dreams come true!

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  3. Also, I think maybe Anonymous needs therapy. That is all.

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    1. Yes! I do! haha. Also--this really really really really wasn't meant as an insult. Therapy can be a wonderful thing.

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  4. I am a housewife and I love it! I know one day I will have to go back to work but for now I relish in the laundry and the cooking and believe me it is hard in Sweden where a woman not working is very rare but those that have a problem with it can just screw it!

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  5. Am I the only one picking up the sarcasm in this post?

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    1. ha i know. thank you for picking up on it. maybe it's because i'm a beginning writer. a few more classes and my sarcasm will come out loud and clear.

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    2. I heard the sarcasm. I think that's why anonymous above is suggesting therapy. Do you feel like you've missed out? If so, on what? Do you feel duped by the church? I don't know, I really hear the frustration in some of your other posts and I wonder if you feel like you've been sold short on the Mormon dream.

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    3. Same poster as above. I wanted to add that I didn't have my first child until I was 32, and wasted (?) most of my 20s in graduate school, feeling crappy about myself. Now that I have my daughter, I can't wait to have the next one, and wonder why my husband and I took so long to grow up and have a family. I too was heavily swayed by the messages of my peer group, only these messages were the opposite: women must be as educated as possible and be a "success," whatever that means. Having kids was implicitly seen as less of an achievement. Now that I'm a mother, I feel like women in higher education are really being duped too, and are often missing out on one of life's greatest experiences. Like one of my mom's friends said, the one thing you can't change is biology. You can go back to school and have a "career," if that's what you want--you can!--but the one thing you can't change is your age/stamina/fertility. As frustrating as it may be to feel like being a mother is "all" you are (and here I'm putting thoughts in your head; my apologies), I feel like it is far worse to find yourself 34, unmarried, and with a terrible feeling like you may have missed the boat. Anyway, we are ALL subject to the pressures of our community, and we are all muddling through life. As others have said, I appreciate your honesty so much in this increasingly artificial-sounding blogosphere, and I hope that you keep posting!

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    4. your perspective is so helpful. thank you so much for taking the time to write it :)

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    5. Having said all that though, I took a quick look at that Margaret Nadauld talk, and it was truly frightening. : )

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    6. Wow that paragraph from anon above was painful to read.

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  6. hi sharon! love your writing and sense of humor. you're the only mormon blogger who can make me crack up!
    I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but its great to have some awesome role models online.

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  7. Ha! A lesson in "be careful what you wish for," even when you're too young to know anything about anything. Would love to hear more of your thoughts - sarcastic or otherwise - on this topic!

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  8. I think you should open that gymnastics center. It's never too late!! :)

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  9. I understand where you're coming from. I too hold the position of the highest, holiest calling of all. All my parents ever wanted for me was to go to BYU and marry a good Mormon boy. I did it! My husband is amazing. I love him so much. My kids are amazing and I really am happy as a stay-at-home mom. But I wish my parents had encouraged me to look outside of that box when I was in high school and college. Perhaps they thought it was too dangerous for me to have career aspirations. I don't know. My mom even discouraged me from going on a mission when I turned 21, afraid I might miss the opportunity to meet my husband. Looking back it makes me laugh. My husband really is amazing and incredibly supportive. Once our 4th (and youngest) child gets a little bit older he wants me to go to grad school and possibly a career because sometimes I get so upset with myself that I didn't have that prior to having kids. I don't know if I really will do it because 4 kids is a lot of kids and I want to be there for them. I just wish I had a short career prior to it. I can't put blame on my parents, but I wish they had encouarged it more. I'm going to encourage both my sons and daughters to go out there and follow their dreams and get that job they dream of. If my girls choose to work part-time while their kids are young, I will support it. I get it.

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    1. I really enjoyed your comment and I think this happens a lot in the LDS culture. I just want to point out that there are lots of different types of Mormon parents. I came from an LDS family where my parents told me that they wouldn't pay for my wedding unless I was at least 25 :) They were half-joking but they really encouraged my siblings and I to go and gain some life experience during and after BYU, which I did through several study abroad programs and internships, and jobs. They also encouraged exploring other universities besides BYU, which I appreciated.

      Anyways, my point is that I know a lot of parents in the LDS culture that are similar to mine and I hate it that I never hear about those types of Mormons. There needs to be more of them. I'm not saying that my parents are perfect (they most certainly aren't), but Mormons like that do exist.

      I wish you the best in pursuing your graduate degree/career!

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    2. ANON 1 and ANON 2 : i really enjoyed reading your comments. :)

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  10. That's my goal job too, but mostly cause I really like being at home -- haha. And having all the time I want to take my kids on adventures each afternoon. Before I was ever married, I always thought the ideal job would be to be a gear tester. Outdoors. Going here and there. All the while just enjoying my time doing whatever. And while I may be underestimating the task of taking kids hiking and rock climbing and kayaking, it sounds a whole lot like the gear tester job, only I have to buy my own gear and i don't have to write reviews. And I have to change diapers. But you know, give a little take a little. Either way, I am blissfully, ignorantly, looking forward to it.

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    1. ha. yeah -- i agree. i really like being home too. mostly. :)

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  11. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom too, and I sure hope I get to have that gig in the near future. I have an 8 month old and juggling teaching and a family is much tougher than I ever gave any moms credit for. I know staying at home is tougher than just my meager maternity leave, but I also don't want to miss out on all the little moments.

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  12. I love opening a blog and finding some honesty.

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  13. Haha, loved this post!! I am an active member of the LDS church. I have had a slightly different experience from you in some ways (maybe I just wasn't paying attention in all of those lessons.. haha). My dad really encouraged me to be an engineer or scientist, and I am one now. I really hate this part about the LDS culture. I am loving the change that is currently happening, and I have hopes that it will only get better!!
    Thanks for the honesty, sarcasm, and the laugh. I LOVE your blog!
    xoxoxo
    Debbie

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    1. love your comment. i love that you heard the same lessons, but shrugged them off and thought for yourself :) yes--i'm excited for the current change too :)

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  14. I live in Salt Lake City Utah and these mormon women make me look bad lol I am 22 why am I not married and pregnant right now? Oh and I also have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. At this point, obtaining a sugar daddy is not out of the question, I mean it must be sweet?

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  15. How would you react if I told you there’s a job where you have to work 24/7? Well, there’s already someone who holds this position.mothers day poems

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  16. Sharon, this post is why I love your blog. I am not Mormon, but grew up in Denver with tons of Mormon classmates (and even a Mormon boyfriend! Scandal!). I was quite wary of the push to get married and pop out kids ASAP after high school. It's not a bad path, but it was emphasized so strongly. I can't handle a lot of Mormon blogs that are too into the 'perfect SAHM' thing. I appreciate your honesty, and always pick up on your sarcasm! You have a beautiful family and are a great mom, and I think you're doing a good job raising your kids with some sense of the real world, beyond the happy Mormon bubble. I have no doubt you'll be a mom that encourages Ella to pursue her dreams... Whatever they are! And the nice thing about starting your family at a young age is that you still have plenty of time for a career as they get older.

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  17. "How would you react if I told you there’s a job where you have to work 24/7? Well, there’s already someone who holds this position."

    Oh not this again. So annoying. This is why some people roll their eyes when SAHM complain.

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  18. Forget therapy. Get an agent. ( coming from someone who has had therapy)
    xo

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  19. Forget therapy. Get an agent. ( coming from someone who has had therapy)
    xo

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  20. i'm not mormon, but follow a lot of mormon blogs - your refreshing honesty and humor is adored by me! do what makes you happy and keep this blog going, i love reading! xx

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  21. Thanks to this great man of spirit called BABA VOODOO which I don't know how to thank him for the good work he has Don for me and family which I want to share my testimony with to you all so I was married to Hassan Moel and my name is Julie deshields for six years now he left me with two kids with know reason which I don't know what to do.so one day i was in my friends place when I exposed my pain to her about my depression which I have be looking for who to help me out of it then my friend called me closer to her self telling me on how she got this great man of spirit who helped her found her way to get her husband back then I ask of his contact she quickly go and get her computer and gave me his Email ID and his number so,that is how I contacted him for a help. And now am so happy with my family and with a happy home if you are in such pain kindly Via Email BABAVOODOOSPELLTEMPLE1@HOTMAIL.COM or call +2348103508204 have faith in him and he will help you
    Julie Deshields.

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    1. sharon you should check this out seems totally legit

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  22. Through your sarcasm, I sense regret from your past as a Mormon young women (as if you really wish you could do that part of your childhood over again)....and if you could change that part of your life, it would make you a happier, successful person. The Mormon culture puts a lot of pressure on young women about what,when,how,& where they are supposed to be in their lives, and that that makes every young Mormon women happier and content....but when reality hits, I think it is hard for many Mormon women to cope and settle into that role...which leads many of the Mormon women on anti-depressants. I am glad to hear that this part of the Mormon culture is changing. I wouldn't take anything too seriously in any organization. We are constantly evolving/changing...some things are for the better/some for the worst.

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  23. Your writing cracks me up! I'm glad you wrote this, bc i am fascinated by the cool, fwd thinking Mormon women that are all over the blogosphere. I am not Mormon - or any religion - but I do seem to read a lot of mormon blogs. The ones I like are ones that I only discovered were lds bc I was reading them thinking, "Why do they have so many kids so young? Wait, BYU?!?! Ooooh...." Then I softened, thinking, "Maybe Mormons aren't as weird as we think!" Then I ran across nie nie's blog. "Whoa. Yeeeep, some are still completely nuts."

    Anyway, for what it's worth, everyone wastes their youth in some way or another, so don't be too hard on yourself. :)

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  24. Thank you for your honesty! I loved reading your post and picked up your sarcasm right away. I think many religions/cultures pose enormous pressure on young women, and sometimes we have to find our own ways, wether within religion, or not. I was raised catholic in Argentina, where the vast majority is catholic, and I know I will give my son and daughter the possibility to choose, and decide for themselves wether they want to be religious or not. But more importantly, I will try to respect their personal choices
    xoxo
    Tina

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  25. "Same poster as above. I wanted to add that I didn't have my first child until I was 32, and wasted (?) most of my 20s in graduate school, feeling crappy about myself."

    -Margaret Nadauld

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  26. I always LOATHED the those lessons in church because I wanted to be the perfect mormon SAHM but I also wanted more than that! I am lucky my parents told me I could not get married until I had graduated from college and had a job with benefits. It has been 7 years since graduation, 6 since I've been married and 10 months since the arrival of the first kid. All in all, boy am I glad I listened to my parents rather than my well-meaning YW leaders.

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  27. I see your coming book shaping up page by page, story by story...Great piece Sharon! Of course your husband can still help by adding a couple of his own masterpieces into the book because you two together have such a unique style :)

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  28. I love to stop by and read your blog from time to time. Although I have almost nothing in common with you, I am 26 years old, from the Midwest and have no children of my own yet, not even a husband. But I love reading the stories about you and your family. I am not, nor was I brought up religious but I am also struggling with a lot of the same issues. Trying to figure out who I want to be. I love that you are so honest about everything. Its helpful to more people than you know. And I just want to let you know that you are a terrific Mother, I like to try to remember the fun things you do with your kids.

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