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Naturally

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by Jessawhy

For Mother’s Day yesterday, our bishopric arranged for all the women to participate in a wonderful brunch and musical program during the second hour of church. Snacking on fruits and vegetables, we watched the youth sing, play various instruments, and read poems and short stories. It was delightful, all of us had a break and enjoyed the program.

The last hour was Sunday School, taught by a former bishop who casually remarked that women are naturally more selfless than men. This is the kind of comment that gets thrown around constantly on Mother’s Day.

But do we really believe it? Is it helpful?
In general, I’m not a Mother’s Day hater, although I understand that many women are. I haven’t struggled with infertility, and my children aren’t old enough yet to forget to (or not want to) call. So, for me the only discouraging part of Mother’s Day is the laudatory rhetoric.

However, I try to self-censor based on my known biases toward feminism. But, just for kicks I leaned to my non-feminist friend and asked her what she thought about women naturally being more self-sacrificing than men.
She looked at me a little blankly, so I explained myself.
“By saying that selflessness comes naturally to me, it takes away the actual sacrifice of putting others before myself. If it’s natural, then why is it so hard to do?”
On this point she agreed, and said she would rephrase the comment.
“It’s not that sacrifice comes more naturally for women, it’s just that it’s expected more from women.”

Ah. Women are expected to put themselves last most of the time, and to make men feel good about that, we are told it is part of our natural characteristic. This is the double whammy. First, I must often learn the difficult lessons of self-sacrifice, which I absolutely believe are important to my spiritual and social progression, but are nonetheless painful.  Then, I don’t really get the full measure of value from my sacrifice because I’m led to believe it was natural, or easy for me. This logic isn’t always attributed to mothers, sometimes it’s aimed at all women.

In the midst of out whispered conversation during Sunday School, the discussion moved on to another topic, so I didn’t raise my hand to comment on this issue. But the fact that my friend who admittedly doesn’t see the church through my feminist glasses still agreed and identified with this issue was enough to give me comfort. The sacrifices of women do not go unnoticed to each other, especially on Mother’s Day. If each of us understand how difficult it can be to put others first when we really want to put ourselves first, then we’ll see the sacrifices around us in a more genuine way, male or female.

Lastly, I’d like to suggest that this is a good place to start pushing back against some of the laudatory rhetoric.  In retrospect, I wish I’d politely commented in Sunday School to explain how unhelpful the idea of women being more naturally selfless is to me. Perhaps some people haven’t thought this logic through in the way I’ve explained it. Perhaps others will disagree with me regardless of how I explain myself.  Either way, I can raise awareness of this issue to those around me by stating simply that I’m really not natural selfless. Overcoming the natural woman is as hard as overcoming the natural man.

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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28 Responses

  1. jks says:

    It is difficult to actually name a selfless act that we do, unless it is something that we do in order to be a good parent, good person, etc.
    Each time I take care of my children “selflessly” I am really doing it because what I really want to be is a good mother. I can’t think of a single thing that I do only because I love my children and is best for my children and has nothing to do with me being driven to be a good parent.
    So the real “culprit” is our internal definition of what being a good person means. We are willing to sacrifice our other wants in order to be a good parent, good ______.
    So if our definition of motherhood includes sacrifice and martyrdom, we will step up and do it. If our definition of good mothering doesn’t include it, we won’t.

  2. Caroline says:

    very interesting. I love this topic.

    Personally, I find it difficult to believe that women are naturally more self-sacrificing. Like your friend, I suspect that if women do it more, it’s because they’ve been socially conditioned to do so.

    However, it’s interesting to note that feminist theologians from the 70’s and 80’s postulated that women indeed are naturally self-sacrificing – and that therefore they need to fight against that and learn to stand up for themselves, be strong, and love themselves. Men, on the other hand, are naturally more selfish, the theory goes. Therefore there great task in life is to learn to eliminate pride and learn to self-sacrifice. I don’t know if I buy that – smacks too much of essentialism to me, but it’s an interesting jumping off point.

    Also interesting to note that more modern feminist ethics/theology often focuses on the idea of getting rid of the idea of self-sacrifice as a good thing altogether. Rather they focus on the ideas of mutuality and ‘attending.’ By attending, they mean listening, caring, and loving others, but not so much so that the self is sacrificed.

  3. Jessawhy says:

    jks,
    You make an interesting point. I don’t think about being a good mother in terms of making those sacrifices. My definition of good mother is teaching my children independence and how to live within boundaries. Wiping noses, bottoms, and spilled milk does not fall within my definition of good mothering, so it’s just plain self-sacrificing for me. But, I guess each of us has different ways of looking at our parenting.

    Caroline,
    I had no idea that feminists espoused this idea of being naturally more selfless than men. Hmmm, that does change how I see things. I like the idea of attending, but it really doesn’t seem to encompass all of what we do to take care of our families. I don’t see how I can be a mother and not put the needs of my children above my own: I feed them first, clothe them first, pick them up when they’re crying instead of reading a book, etc. Perhaps that’s included within the love category, but it’s really not love if I sometimes don’t want to do it, but really have to.

  4. Starfoxy says:

    When I think of how women are *naturally* nurturing or spiritual, or self-sacrificing I remember in Alma where he’s preaching to a crowd and the poor people approach him and then realizes that the poor people will actually listen to him unlike the rich. Their poverty, compelled them to be humble. I think it is the same thing with women, we are compelled by the world around us to be what we are.
    Great post.

  5. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    I do understand the struggle that we women go through – in all phases of our lives. I’ve lived life on 3 continents. I’ve been married 45 years. I became LDS in Australia in 1964. I had my premie daughter there. I was almost ‘kicked out’ of my family because I became LDS.
    I was ‘kicked out’ of EVERY group, EVERY ‘clic’ in EVERY ward I’ve ever lived in because I was ‘orthodox’ LDS…really living the principles and doctrines of Christ…rather than participating in gossip, or ANY other worldly view through any other glasses.
    …”seeing the church through feminist glasses” to me is just another “specticle” other than those of being a disciple of our Savior. Always viewing..EVERYTHING…through Eternal perspective where we ALL are ONE. WITH God(s) and ONE with men and women…making our own eternal progression the most important pursuit instead of nit-picking thousands of daily life issues It’s hard enough to progress “sticking” to eternal issues.
    You are SO- right that we are not naturally selfless. Overcoming IS hard.
    Keeping the right glasses on with the FOCUS on Christ IS the issue ..in every issue. How do we measure up, NOT to man, women or ANY other standard. He is the WAY, the TRUTH, THE LIFE for us ALL.

  6. Kim B. says:

    Jessawhy, this post is so well worded, I have come back four times to reread and attempted to comment that many times. As usual, I am not able to express my feelings as clearly.

    I find this concept of woman just naturally being better at spiritual things quite offensive on behalf of both women and men. I had a similar discussion regarding polygamy once with the other person arguing that polygamy works because women are better at sharing than men.

    This thinking is very damaging to a woman’s psyche. I see so many women trying to live to these standards because they think this is what women do and when they fall short they believe something must be wrong with them. Oftentimes, this leads to anger and martryish actions. I just do not think it does anyone any good to create caricatures. Most women I know struggle on a daily basis. Most women I know struggle to remember when they are wiping noses, cleaning up throw up, changing diapers, and folding the 10th batch of laundry that what they are doing is important work.

    Thank you for this post.

  7. Minerva says:

    “I had no idea that feminists espoused this idea of being naturally more selfless than men.”

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time around non-Mormon feminists, and this seems to be a very wide-spread idea. It’s been interesting to note how a lot of what my non-Mormon feminist friends say would make my Mormon feminist friends cringe. I think it’s living with patriarchy as such an overt reality as we Mormons do that makes us very sensitive to being put on a pedastel.

  8. suzann says:

    A year ago the women in my ward received a tiny box containing 2 pieces of Sees candy. Yum, I did not share.

    After church I spoke with a woman who observed most of the women giving their candy away to begging children. “OH NO,” I said, “those children are being taught that Mothers do not deserve anything of their own, even on Mothers Day.” Worse still, those children will believe they can take anything and everything from Mothers. And, the sons will grow up believing their own wives should give up on their own desires. This friend of mine simply believed a good mother would give away her goodies, yet she never considered the underlying lesson she was teaching her sons and daughters.

    Also, I must add here, between the two of us, my husband is the one who is more thoughtful, kind, and giving. He does not like to hear that women are innately more spiritual, more thoughtful, more everything. He thinks this kind of chatter makes men appear as idiots – incapable to Christ like behavior.

  9. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

    Starfoxy,
    I’ve never thought of the subjugation of women as a parallel for Alma’s preaching to the poor. That’s a great comparison. It makes me feel a little better about some of the inequalities I see in the church. It also reminds me that it is far more valuable to be humble than indignant 🙂

    Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I agree that we need to be one as a body of Christ. I’m also not defending my feminist lens, just saying that I have it, much like any other cultural perspective that each of us have (with or without acknowledging it). I do hope to work towards the kind of devotion to the church and gospel that you describe, but it isn’t as clear cut for everyone as it seems to be for you. So, please understand that all of us are at different places in our spiritual journeys and we should make sure we respect each other. Also, I’m glad that the idea of not being naturally selfless resonated with you. That’s something that I think we can all work on pushing back against when we hear it at church.

    Kim B.
    Thanks for the kind words about the post. I’m starting to think that everyone is bored with my Sunday summary posts and that I should pick a day other than Monday to post.

    In your comment you mentioned this argument, “polygamy works because women are better at sharing than men.”
    Wow, that’s one I’ve never heard before, but it sure does fit right in with the rhetoric we’re talking about. That scares me just a little.

    I like your point about struggling to remember what we’re doing is important work. Honestly, half of it really is (the child rearing part) and half really isn’t (the housekeeping part). I don’t care if the floor is clean, and if I spend time cleaning it, it will get messy again in 5 seconds, and I will have missed a half hour of blogging. Regardless of it’s importance, it is still work that needs to be done. And we do it.

    Suzann,
    I’m like you, I never share my Mother’s Day candy, and I typically make my children share their treats with me. So, perhaps I’m teaching them to hoard candy.
    Oh dear.
    While I agree with you that we’re teaching children by the way we give them what they beg for, I don’t think it’s a problem to share our treats with our children IF, it’s what we really want to do. If it’s just to shut them up, or because we feel guilty enjoying it by ourselves, then that’s a different story.
    Some women don’t care much for chocolate and don’t mind giving it away. I don’t fault them for that choice, it’s theirs to make.

  10. G says:

    great post jessawhy!
    it’s interesting, well, ironic to me, because I think I have found myself becoming quite a good mother since becoming a much more selfish wench than the sweet spirit I once was.

    I agree with what your friend said; we are more expected (and socialized from childhood) to sacrifice more.

  11. Angie says:

    Your post inspired two thoughts in me, so I want to write them down before I forget them… then I’ll read the rest of the comments:

    1) If women are more naturally selfless, maybe that has a biological basis. For example, men and women may both be equally loathe to endure the physical side of bearing children – but women will still be the ones to physically experience the process. And perhaps this biological process of selflessness (sacrificing our bodies for another human being) alters us spiritually and emotionally, so that self-sacrifice becomes more “natural.” I don’t know – what do you think?

    2) “I don’t really get the full measure of value from my sacrifice because I’m led to believe it was natural, or easy for me.” Does “natural” mean “easy”? I would dispute that they are automatically equivalent. Also, what exactly is the “full measure of value”? Does this mean recognition, or personal growth, or reward? It sounds like you’re saying that the sacrifices we make are worth it to us because of the “full measure of value” that we receive. Perhaps the sacrifice/self-lessness stand on its own. The sacrifice is of worth, simply because it is.

  12. Angie says:

    “It’s been interesting to note how a lot of what my non-Mormon feminist friends say would make my Mormon feminist friends cringe.”

    That is SO INTERESTING!!!! What exactly do they say? I would love to hear more about this.

  13. Ziff says:

    Great post, Jessawhy.

    I just have to second my favorite part of one of your comments:

    I don’t care if the floor is clean, and if I spend time cleaning it, it will get messy again in 5 seconds, and I will have missed a half hour of blogging.

    LOL! I feel exactly the same way. The one that really gets me is making beds, since after all they’re just going to be slept in again tonight and get all messed up. And I don’t want to miss my blogging time either.

    I’ve also heard the “women are naturally more [whatever] than men” lots of times, and it rubs me the wrong way too. I’m just guessing, but I wonder if sometimes what men in the Church would like to say is “We appreciate how much women sacrifice to raise children,” but they just put it as “you’re naturally self-sacrificing” out of habit. Anyway, I kind of hope that’s the case, although I realize it’s certainly not always the case or necessarily even ever the case.

    Angie, I think you make a good point about biological differences in how much women and men invest in children upfront. Given that a child represents so much more of an irreplaceable investment for a woman, it wouldn’t be surprising if women were more likely to sacrifice more for them. Men, on the other hand (although not consciously) can more easily father more children, so they may be likely to invest less. If I remember right, when I read Ann Crittenden’s “Price of Motherhood” for the FMH book club a while back, she said that money in the hands of women is more likely to be used to benefit children than is money in the hands of men.

    Anyway, even if there is some biological basis for women to be more willing to sacrifice for their children, I still am not a fan of the “you’re naturally more [whatever]” discussion for exactly the reasons you cite. It seems dismissive of the sacrifices that women actually do make to say that they’re just “natural.”

  14. Minerva says:

    Angie,

    It’s basically that a lot of my non-Mormon feminist friends say a lot of stuff like “women ARE [insert something good]er than men.” Very essentialist stuff in a lot of ways, and a lot of Mormon feminists I know really hate essentialist statements. When I was studying international affairs, people would go on and on about how horrible men are in a lot of industrializing countries…they drink away all the money, they give their unsuspecting wives HIV, and that in contrast women are self-sacrificing and saintly (I actually have a very hard time disagreeing with these generalizations having spent some time in an industrializing country, but I understand such ideas are very…fraught…with class and race implications). I hear a lot that women are just plain less selfish, that they are more naturally nurturing, that they are more fit to rule/make decisions because they aren’t testosterone poisoned and more community-minded. I think that a lot of Mormon feminists are very careful not to be anti-man (just anti-patriarchy), whereas my other friends don’t worry too much about denigrating masculine qualities.

  15. CSS says:

    Often, I think men overcompensate during Mother’s Day for the lack of female focused discussions or decision making power in the church by saying such things as: “Women are more ____ than men.” Regardless of the intention, benevolent sexism still has consequences.

    Throughout time, women are often typecast into unrealistic stereotypes: the saint or the whore, for example. While the saint is nicer, it still is sexist. Subjugation and putting people on pedestals essentially accomplish the same goals by making all women unrealistic. In a sense, I can’t relate to either. That is often the way I feel about the scriptures. I’m confronted with women who are either/or’s. There are no long stories about a women who was good and then sinned and then left the church and then repented and then became a prophet and then made a mistake again and then did good, etc. Now THAT is something I can relate a little more to.

    I tried to explain this phenomenon to some friends who just really didn’t get why I was upset about “Mother’s Day” comments by telling them an old family story. As kids my aunt and uncle ran into the kitchen and both grabbed oranges. My uncle took the nice big juicy round one and my aunt was left with the brown small lopsided dry one. She complained to my Grandpa and said, “It’s not fair. He got the good one.” My grandfather replied, “What would you have done?” She said, “I would have taken the little one and given him the big one because it’s more Christ like.” “Well” My Grandfather retorted, “You got what you wanted so what are you complaining about.” Yes motherhood is a sacrifice and yes many of us choose to do it, but we want credit. It’s not easy, it’s not always natural, its false advertising to all those without kids to say so and offensive to neglect all our agency, choice, and daily struggles by pulling out the “natural characteristics of women” card.

    Also, if the idea that women are just “naturally” better is promulgated, guess who ends up with more of the childcare responsibility? I’ve actually heard fathers in the hall at church say stuff like: “I’m just not as good with the kids.” Or “I can only watch them for a couple of hours with out going crazy.” etc. It makes me want to scream out what my mom said to my dad in a fit of rage during one of their arguments about changing diapers, “It’s not like we just naturally LOVE the scent of crap. We just learn how to do it and do it. Now it’s your turn to figure it out.”

  16. If it’s natural, then why is it so hard to do?”

    That is a great comment.

  17. Kelly Ann says:

    “There are no long stories about a women who was good and then sinned and then left the church and then repented and then became a prophet and then made a mistake again and then did good, etc. Now THAT is something I can relate a little more to.”

    I definitely wish there were more stories about women in the scriptures. If there are lost books, I want more of them to be about women.

    But even in terms of our modern story telling (testimonies), we still don’t really get these experiences in church or conferences. Is it perhaps because we are encouraged not to share our sins … so to get this we have to go online.

  18. Alisa says:

    CSS, great analogy with the oranges. If we’re going to sacrifice, at least acknowledge our choice.

  19. Moniker Challenged says:

    The rhetoric smacks of familiarity. Women are naturally good at (and desire to) sacrifice, and bear and rear children. Kinda like Africans are simple and like to be told what to do and spend their lives in manual labor. If the whites believe in black inferiority, and the blacks believe in white superiority, the system perpetuates and nobody’s brain hurts. I’m not saying that men in the church are consciously making the decision to make an inferior “other” out of women. However, I don’t think many of them want to take on tradition feminine tasks (heck- I don’t either), but may feel a little guilty about not sharing in this work. (I am reminded of visiting with an old school chum whose husband stayed at home with the baby for 1 school year while she taught and he applied to med school. He expressed profound relief that his stint in childcare was over and he’d never have to do it again, because it sucked. But apparently it was fine for his wife to spend the rest of her life doing it). So, how to assuage the guilt? Tell yourself that women love doing it, and its their niche in life. Get women to believe it, and they’ll do it because it’s their only option. They’ll live that way, teach their children that way, and then die. It’s only when you question the system that the brain pain begins and men and women have engage in complex negotiating to forge their identities and keep their households running smoothly. Are we in need of a domestic cotton gin?

  20. Kiskilili says:

    Good points! Sadly, I think this rhetoric is damaging to both men and women: men are told they’re spiritual losers and women are told they’re godly and then led to feel enormous guilt for not measuring up to this supposed “norm”–but who can, when the “norm” is to be on the level of God?

    Also, I’m not convinced self-sacrifice should even be our ideal. I don’t think you’re in a position to have real relationships with people when you basically lack a self (having handed it over to someone else).

  21. a says:

    I find those sorts of comments (women are inherently more kind, more spiritual, etc.) patronizing. In, what I assume, is an attempt (conscious or not) to balance gender inequalities, it seems to be the effort of choice. Of course, coming from the patriarchy, it just reinforces the hierarchy – not to mention that with a comment like that (especially if it transitions from comment to quasi-doctrine), who we are is being ascribed – we’re not self-determined.

  22. D'Arcy says:

    I actually think that being too selfless, to sacrificing, and too kind is a bad thing. I know that goes against many tenets of Christianity, and maybe I’ll always be a bit more selfis and more self serving. Will that make me happier? I kind of feel like it does.

  23. Jessawhy says:

    Sorry I’ve been so late to comment. This thread has already pretty much lived it’s life, but I’d like to respond to those who took the time to comment.

    G,
    Good for you, becoming a better mother by being selfish. There is a balance between caring for our children and caring for ourselves that is often difficult to find. I find mine by going to the gym (almost) every day. The kids are in childcare, and I take care of myself for a while.

    Angie,
    1) Your ideas are thought-provoking. I don’t feel more selfless because I bore children, but I can see some people may. My husband is much more selfless and nurturing than I am. But, I do have to do it all day, everyday, and he just takes the lead on evenings and weekends.

    2)I don’t think that natural necessarily means easy (certainly not in every discussion), but in the context of this topic, they seem to be related. If I am naturally graceful, it’s probably easier for me to dance than someone who is naturally oafish. As for the “full measure of value,” I do think that I mean getting credit of some kind in the discourse of sacrifice. There is some merit for this in scripture, we read all about the sacrifices of people and prophets, with the idea that recognizing and learning from these sacrifices is important. Perhaps there is an element of pride, but I’d like to think that’s not my primary concern with bringing this issue to light. I agree with Ziff who said that women just want to hear, “We appreciate how much women sacrifice to raise children,” rather than “Women are naturally selfless.” For me, it diminishes the real hard work of mothering.

    Ziff,
    Great comment (I don’t like to make beds, either). I hope you’re right that men say “Women are naturally selfless” out of habit. I’ve been attributing it to reasons more like CSS explains in her comments. But, saying it’s habit gives men the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps many of them think it’s a compliment.

    I’m also interested in the idea that women would give more money to children than men. I’ll have to think about that more . . .

    Minerva,
    I’m actually really pleased to hear that your Mormon feminist friends are not as anti-man as your feminist friends. (it reminds me of a scene from Legally Blonde where the lesbian girl tries to rename the semester to the ovester).

  24. Jessawhy says:

    CSS,
    I liked this line, “benevolent sexism still has consequences.” I should have made that my title.
    Your orange story really hit home with me, I even shared it at a party this weekend.
    Thanks for articulating better than I can, the problems with the way women are treated in benevolent patriarchy.

    Stephen M,
    Thanks for stopping by.

    Kelly Ann,
    We certainly are not encouraged to share our sins, or even our questions or doubts. Perhaps I’m not coming from a faith-promoting place, but I want to see real life discussed at church. Only then will we engage members and not watch more than half the ward staring into space just waiting for the three hours to tick by.

    Moniker challenged,
    I wanted to shout, “Amen!” at the end of your comment, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. Making patriarchal men into villains is an easy target on a Mormon feminist blog, but in reality there are so many variations on the typical scenario you describe.
    For example, one of our beautiful bloggers is a full-time working mom while her husband stays home with their babies. Other women I know are ecstatic to be mothers, and I see them many times a week, during the good, bad, and the ugly. They still enjoy being mothers and really want to do nothing else. And while no one really loves mind-numbing housework, a few people take satisfaction from keeping a tidy home.
    Thus, I’ll jump on your bandwagon as long as it’s understood that it’s not universal, there are exceptions to the rule, and those exceptions give me hope for the future.

    Kiskilili,
    You’re right about the damaging rhetoric. In the same Sunday School class and even during the Mother’s Day sacrament meeting talks, the topic of mothers being like Christ came up more than once. Surely that’s a high pedestal.
    As for real relationships with selfless people, I agree, we can’t have that. It’s important to teach our children the balance of serving and holding on to ourselves.

    a,
    Certainly comments coming from well-respected former bishops carry more weight than from your average Sunday School teacher, but I hadn’t thought of it as quasi-doctrine. But, isn’t so much of what’s discussed at church thought of in that way? That’s a little discouraging, actually.

    D’Arcy,
    I don’t know who should be more or less selfless or how it will affect a person’s happiness. That’s pretty much an individual decision.
    However, even our discussions of selflessness at church seem shrouded in a kind of selfishness. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about for a while (maybe it will turn into a post). Everything we discuss or work towards as Mormons is for our personal salvation, in a blatantly self-centered kind of way. It’s not as much about our relationship with God, as it is climbing the ladder to heaven.

  25. Ziff says:

    My husband is much more selfless and nurturing than I am. But, I do have to do it all day, everyday, and he just takes the lead on evenings and weekends.

    I don’t recall the source, but I remember reading that this is a common phenomenon: even when fathers do participate actively in childcare, they tend to take the most fun/interesting/entertaining parts, leaving mothers to handle more of the drudgery and maintenance aspects. My wife is a SAHM, so I’m in the same position as your husband–taking the lead in child care only in the evenings and on weekends, and not even always then–and I think I probably fit the pattern of doing the more entertaining stuff with them.

  26. Wendy says:

    When my husband was called to be a member of the bishopric, I was surprised at how many comments (made to the both of us) were focused on my sacrifices (watching our kids by myself during Sacrament meeting, having him around less) and not about his sacrifices. He’s the one with the calling, the on who has to get up early and attend many more hours of meetings than anyone would really ever want to. He’s the one with the increased burden of stress and concern for the ward, not to mention dealing with organizational logistics. I didn’t feel like the comments were patronizing, nor did I feel like others saw my husband’s calling as a “promotion.” I don’t think his sacrifices were really even being considered. We women are expected to sacrifice a lot, throughout our lives. These expectations come from the larger culture and from the smaller Mormon mores and expectations. Similarly, men deal with the wage-earning expectations of our general culture in addition to the large demands on their time from church callings. I have often commented that the men in the church should just wear shirts that say “STAFF,” because that’s how they are treated sometimes. I recognize that my sacrifices as a mother are greater than my husband’s sacrifices as a father when you just log the hours. And don’t worry, I’m sacrificing plenty to magnify my calling as well, and I know that I will be expected to serve in even more time-consuming callings in my life. But at least I get to retire a little from my full-time “womanly” sacrifices as my children age. In the meantime, my husband’s sacrifices for church callings will, in all likelihood, increase as he ages. My point is not to say that women sacrifice the same as men or that it all evens out. My point is that no one ever feels like their sacrifices are recognized enough. Likewise, no one wants their sacrifices to be lessened further because they come more easily (as in the case of women) or because they are just expected or are an honour (as in the case of men). We are all children of God trying to fulfill the roles that are ours (some chosen, some assigned). I have often thought that after life, I will finally understand and see all that my husband sacrificed for me and our family and how hard it was for him to be himself in this life; just as he will finally see all that I have done for our family and how I worked to learn to be able to sacrifice. Until that kind of clarity, I’m at greater peace thinking better intentions of all.

  27. Moniker Challenged says:

    “Let the record show” (gratuitous Cosby reference) that I only intended to note one potential element of the issue, not distill it into one man=jerk, woman=downtrodden goddess truism. There are plenty of exceptions to be had by all! (thus the aforementioned brain pain)

  1. June 21, 2010

    […] Jessawhy, commenting on her own post “Naturally” at the Exponent: I don’t care if the floor is clean, and if I spend time cleaning it, it will get messy again in 5 seconds, and I will have missed a half hour of blogging. […]

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