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Motherhood: An Essay

Several months ago there was an online article that made it's way through the blogging community regarding the fascination non-Mormon women have with what they dub 'Mormon Mommy Blogs.'

As the article spread like wildfire through the very niche it talked about, Mormon Mommy bloggers around the world chuckled in unison.

"[To] use a word that makes me cringe, these blogs are weirdly "uplifting." To read Mormon lifestyle blogs is to peer into a strange and fascinating world where the most fraught issues of modern living -- marriage and child rearing -- appear completely unproblematic. ...This seems practically subversive to someone like me, weaned on an endless media parade of fretful stories about "work-life balance" and soaring divorce rates and the perils of marrying too young/too old/too whatever. [But], Mormon bloggers  make marriage and motherhood seem, well, fun. Easy. Joyful."

Although I'm sure that every LDS mother appreciates leaving an impression of non-problematic, easy mothering... I'm pretty confident that none of us can actually say that's what happens.

A childhood friend of mine recently wrote:

“A woman in my situation, that situation being a mother of four children, ranging from ages six years old to newborn, cannot simply dash to the store wearing her pajamas, with four snotty nosed kids in tow, grab a handful of [much needed items,] and dash back home again. There are details to be attended to in order to avoid The Checkout of Shame.

Firstly, whatever you do, DON’T take the four kids to the store with you. Especially the newborn. No need to send everyone into a panic that you and your husband are single-handedly repopulating the planet. ...

[But] if you simply can’t avoid taking your entourage to the store, at least try to convince people you’re the nanny, fun aunt, or helpful friend. It probably won’t work, but it’s worth a shot.

If you do take the kids,make sure they are dressed to the nines, hair combed and styled, and have clean hands and faces. Be absolutely certain they will not misbehave in the store, therefore drawing unwanted attention to you as you peruse through the [store].

[And be sure to] carry tissues with you... If you have to bring the kids and people are clever enough to see the family resemblance, at least people will assume you are Supermom, that you have it all put together.”

My friend is a Mormon Mommy Blogger. A decidedly joyful one... but maybe not a carefree one.

Elder Holland said in a recent devotional:
“One young mother wrote to me recently that she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” She worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be able to be equal to the task, the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.”

One of the greatest injustices we as women do to ourselves is to think that we must seem perfect at all times. Each and every one of us is acutely aware of exactly how IMperfect we are, but none of us is willing to show those imperfections to the outside world. This lack of honesty with one another creates a massive, all consuming void into which many women find themselves trapped.

One popular blogger has monopolized on this 'perfection' phenomenon. She writes:
Hey everyone!!! Just a head's up: I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER! life is bliss! How did I get so lucky???? I seriously love my life and have non-stop fun all the time! Maybe we had a teensy... bit of trouble for a sec last week but things are perfect and I have the best life ever and my heart just hurts for people who have problems since I can't imagine what that's even like.”
Clearly there is a lot of elbow-room for a healthy approach to motherhood. One that does not include women bending over backwards in search of that false perfection.

Read the rest of this essay on my blog (part 2, part 3).


Cannwin spends her time searching for her inner Shakespeare in the hopes that one day she will be able to dethrone the king and take her place as the greatest writer of all time. She currently resides in South Dakota with her husband and four children. You can explore more of her world at The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin and The Literary Soundtrack.

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