I loved interacting with a lot of people when I was still single, but that changed dramatically when I became a mother. As I took care of business at home, I had fewer and fewer chances for conversation. On one occasion, a friend from high school could not contain her curiosity anymore. She asked me “Are Mormon women required to stay at home? I know many stay-at-home Mormon moms who do not work anymore. Is that a requirement in your Church?” Is it?
The Call For Mothers To Nurture In The Home
The leaders of the Church constantly encourage women to become the best that they can be. This includes getting a good education and gaining skills that can help them become amazing mothers, wives, and contributors to society. However, this encouragement is not meant to lead women to choose a career over marriage and motherhood. In the Family: A Proclamation To The World, Church leaders clearly remind women of their divine calling at home.
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and the protection of their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
Leaders invite mothers to choose home. The world may already be ridiculing this “mommy career,” but there is no denying it is the one of greatest importance. Although we are not required to become stay-at-home Mormon moms, the Lord, through His leaders, has revealed where a mother’s first priority should really be. Consider the words of Pres. Ezra Taft Benson:
“It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.
Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.
How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected!”
The Noble Sacrifices Of Working Mormon Mothers
Even though the leaders of the Church strongly encourage mothers to choose their roles as nurturers and providers, there is no denying that there are circumstances that could prevent a mom from being able to stay at home. Here are words from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:
“I recognize … that there are some women (it has become very many, in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries.”
The Family: A Proclamation to the World also states “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation”
The encouragement to women to make home the first priority does not make working Mormon moms of lesser value. It is awesome to think that these women, who contribute a great deal to society, still take their time to become dedicated and wonderful mothers to their children. I, myself, am a daughter of a working mom and I have seen firsthand the noble sacrifices she made and continues to make for us, her children. She is amazing.
Working Mormon moms who strive to make both ends meet are wonderful. Their sacrifices to leave their children at home, no matter how difficult it is, should not be overlooked. Their ability to still mother, despite their exhaustion, just to provide for the needs of their children should be acknowledged. These working Mormon women should not be judged just because they are away from home.
Stay-at-Home Mormon Moms: The Challenges and Blessings
Being a stay-at-home LDS mom comes with challenges and blessings. Taking care of the family is one exhausting job. There are moments, perhaps, when you cannot help but compare your life to other women who are already so established in their chosen career. However, mothers do find fulfillment in being at home. Jessica, an at-home parent, says “Just seeing my son smiling at me is enough to wipe away all the challenges.“ Elder Neal A. Maxwell said on the topic of motherhood:
“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”
Mormon women are not required to stay at home. But they know that their role is an important one, established by the Lord since the beginning of time, and that is best fulfilled from inside the home.