This is one of my religious Mormon-centric posts so feel free to skip if not interested in that topic.
I’ve been mulling over in my brain a gospel topic the last few days . Mothers Day (or what I call Female Guilt Day) always makes me feel a little sad. People can give me all kinds of reasons why that shouldn’t be but all that does is make me keep my sadness to myself. It doesn’t make it go away.
I know all the easy answers, the promises of a family for the righteous. I get all of that but it doesn’t mean a day celebrating the big part of being a woman I don’t have doesn’t sting a little bit.
I was particularly thinking about my new job and how grateful I am for the chance to do something I really love. There are no words for how much that means to me. A smile worthy of smilingldsgirl covers my face whenever I think about it. I am so excited!
It also occurred to me this week that taking such a position would probably be difficult if I had a family or was married. The position pays less than I was making and is at least for now part-time. However, it is an opening to start a new life, a new career! That’s the exciting part!
Plus, I still get to work from home and my finances are such that I can afford to take a pay cut. I also might not get insurance through my employer. We are still researching that. I feel so fortunate that I am at a spot in my life to take such a job. 🙂
Here’s the thing I could use some guidance on-
I try to be positive and not be a negative Nelly when it comes to my single status in a family church. It comes and goes but in general I think I am happier than most other singles I know. Nevertheless, for some reason it feels more justified in talking about the downsides of being single rather than the upsides. I can’t completely put it into words but I feel like I am not supposed to be ‘so’ happy in the single life, only moderately happy.
Let me try to explain-
It’s quotes like these that confuse me.
“And I would also caution you single sisters not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own…”
So, we are supposed to be independent and self-reliant but not ‘so’ independent and self reliant. We have to live a good life but not to the point where we feel we can ‘do just as well on your own’. What does that mean? Should I feel continually like I am not quite doing ‘just as well’ on my own? Just as well as who? Married people? Just as well at what? Living?
He goes on:
“Certainly we want our single sisters to maximize their individual potential, to be well educated, and to do well at their present employment. You have much to contribute to society, to your community, and to your neighborhood.”
“We earnestly pray that our single sisters will desire honorable marriage in the temple to a worthy man and rear a righteous family, even though this may mean the sacrificing of degrees and careers. Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother”
So if I read him right we can do many great things and that is encouraged, but at the same time we must be always hoping and waiting to give all those things up for marriage and family. It seems to me that somebody isn’t going to ‘maximize their full potential’ if they are constantly keeping an escape hatch available for their ‘true and higher calling’?
I know so many single Mormon women who feel unfulfilled because of that escape hatch. It’s like you end up doing a lot of mediocre things because the big thing you really want or feel a need to do you can’t. The thing that will make you the happiest you can’t do so you settle for medium-level happiness.
That doesn’t seem right. God wants us to be happy no strings attached. It doesn’t say ‘the plan of happiness except for single people who are merely content’
What is so wrong with devoting yourself completely to the role that God has given you to play at the moment you are playing it? In my experience it is only in such obedient moments that I am open to the promptings to change and grow, maybe even meet someone. Is that too independent, or too self reliant? I don’t think so.
It seems to me I am always happiest in life when I dive right into an experience with no back up plan or escape hatch. In fact, enjoying my single lifestyle can feel unfeminine and the opposite of the ooey goey woman I hear about on Mothers Day.
It can also seem like I am saying the single life is better than being married but I’m not. It’s just different. (And I do not think the single life is inherently selfish either. I hate when people say things like that)
I know such feelings are ridiculous. I should be happy when happy things happen but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at times conflicted with how happy I should feel.
What worries me is I don’t want to live a life in second place. The silver medalist, to my married friends who get the gold, and that’s kind of what the quote says. After all, we as singles can contribute to our employment, community, society and neighborhoods but… the higher calling is motherhood. That’s what we believe. And I think that is why Mother’s Day can be a little sad for me. It’s the day of the year where that Gold medal is thrown in our faces and we realize we have the silver.
But, I just can’t live my life that way. I believe that God has a plan for all of us and while we may not be fated to be with a particular person, I believe He does know when that event will happen. He needs me right now to work in his single vineyard and that is not a second place position.
Does that mean I am not open to a different vineyard? Of course not. Nothing would thrill me more than to find that Great Love but I am not going to settle for sloppy seconds waiting for it.
So, instead I will be happy for the good things in my life and not worry whether I am ‘too independent’ or ‘too self-reliant’ any more. God knows my heart and He has told me many times before when I need to straighten up and refocus my priorities.
I was a good missionary because I gave it all to that calling. I was able to get on that plane and have no regrets, and I don’t see why this phase of my life with my new job is any different? I’m going to give it my all and have a blast along the way. I am so excited!
I’m going to allow myself to feel 100% happiness while doing it. The truth is I am self-reliant and independent but I am also obedient and have a missionary heart. The Lord knows me, and He is guiding my path. He certainly helped me get this job so I might as well have a ball while doing it.
Anyway, forgive these ramblings. It was just something I needed to work out and I think I did as I typed. Hopefully my musings are helpful to someone out there.
Happy Mothers Day to all you amazing moms and to my own Mother.