Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Q & A -- mothering

Will you share how exactly you are working on kind words amongst siblings. Its a huge problem at my house, too. And I'm desperate.  {from THIS POST}

and also:

I would also love to know what you are doing to squelch the 'mean mouthing' as it is called in our home.It is such a difficult task for me to take on...don't know where to start...we try to model polite, kind speaking and be patient when it doesn't go well, but sometimes we lose our tempers and the nasty voices come out! 

I think every family must deal with this to a certain extent, right?

We do a few things in our family that help, namely telling my girls they will be best friends forever and ever whether they like it or not, so they may as well start now...HA!  But seriously, this is a big deal.  We try to have a "no tolerance" rule for any disrespectful words that somehow pop out of mouths around here.  I think the number one thing that works is the "Fighting Bench" which I talked about over HERE (near the end of the post).  I posted a lot of other things we do in a couple different questions in the Q & A over HERE.

I think one of the most important things is exactly what you said: modeling polite kindness.  It may sometimes feel like it's all going straight in the garbage can, but I believe that eventually it will all rub off and kind, polite children will emerge from our little home "cocoon."  I love the quote that says, "Teach your children everything you know.  If you must, use words."  Kindness begins with us mothers and how we talk.  How we talk to our husbands, how we talk to our children (even when they just spilled a gallon of milk or tattled on their sister for the four millionth time), how we talk about others, and how we talk of God and bring Him into daily life.

I know that you have a lot of constraints on your time, but I wanted to ask someone who has both grown up in a two-parent home and who has been a stay at home mother for some advice, since I didn't have either of those and so can't really ask my own mother. 

I've always wanted to be a mother and stay at home with my children once I had them, and now that I will be getting married and within the next couple of years hopefully starting my own family, I wanted to ask how you felt about leaving a career (not that I know if you had one) and being a mother. Have you ever felt pressure to go back into the workforce? What did you do for work until you started your family? Did you ever feel that your time could have been better spent? What makes motherhood the busiest? What makes it the best? 

The "career" I wanted from the time I was a little girl was to be a Mother.  That was my main goal.  I geared everything toward that.  So although I did have a pretty cool job at a non-profit organization in DC when I had Max, and was even still able to work from home a little bit until I realized I was pregnant with Elle (surprise of all surprises, more on that HERE), I was so very grateful that I could stay at home with those babies of mine.  

Since then I have never once felt any pressure to go back into the workforce.  I have been so very grateful I got to live my dream of my "career": raising children.  And extra grateful that it has worked out this way thanks to Dave's work and the sacrifices we were both willing to make along the way.

Now, remember that is ME.  That doesn't mean that is "right" for everyone (staying home full-time).  There are some women who dream of being executives in large companies.  There are others who dream of starting non-profits to serve others and who have talents in such different ways, and who are able to work those things in with their motherhood.  There are others that have no choice and are the only means (or a very necessary part) of income for their families.

But Motherhood is number one.

We are raising the next generation.  We are entrusted with these sweet spirits from Heaven and how daunting and rewarding that is to be their mother.  

We are all so uniquely different as women and I believe with all my heart that God wants us to thrive in what we love with the talents He has given us.  But I believe every Mom, whether working or not, whether she had stars in her eyes for motherhood when she was young or still had trepidation and worries about motherhood the day that first baby was born (or even well into motherhood), has a God-given talent to love and nurture just by virtue of being a woman.  {I loved the conference talk that sort of touched on this over HERE.}

I believe women can do whatever they want.  We are strong and powerful. (Love THIS MORMON CLIP about us Daughters of God and think it's kind of fun that I'm in it...if you look real close :)  But I think that our best role is to be mothers.  One who raises children to the best of her ability to be contributing members of society.  I think that is the number one job (aside from being a wife because that is the most important).  I believe God gave us families because he loves us so much.  And it is so incredibly rewarding to be part of one that you are navigating and figuring out with that husband at your side.  

{As I say on all my mothering posts, I know there are women out there yearning to be mothers who are some of the best nurturers I know.  My heart aches for them to hold their own newborns and I pray that they will have that opportunity some day and that posts like these don't make them sad.  I just feel it is so important for those women who are mothers to remember the sacredness and beauty of the gift we have been given.}

So, I don't know if this really answered your question, but bottom line is that I thank Heavenly Father every day for these sweet children I have in my care and for all that they teach me every day.  And I also thank Him dearly for my husband who puts up with me and loves me through all my faults.  I am soooo happy for you to start on this journey in December!  Congratulations!  You will find that it is a lot of work, but the best, most fun "work" ever.

OTHER MOTHERHOOD STUFF

I'm sure these and other really poignant motherhood troubles and triumphs will be talked about in the Power of Moms retreat coming up this very next weekend in the Phoenix area.  Oh man I love those things so I'm hoping with all my heart to be able to be there myself.  Click HERE for all the information.

Also, speaking of Motherhood, my sister-in-law is doing an awesome motherhood give-away on her blog over HERE.  Go check it out!



31 comments:

  1. I loved this day, I get asked quite a lot now, ' so what are you going to do once your little one is in full time school next year'.. umh, I am going to continue been a mom!! I have not yet decided if I will take on a part time job, but to me, it's important that I am home when they are, to hear about their days! And I feel very blessed that I can do that. very blessed.

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  2. Shawni, I applaud you for being such a good mother, and am super jealous that you were able to stay home with them all this time. I couldn't do that, and now that I think back (my son is 19) I don't think I would've been happy not working.

    I got to stay home for the first 3 months (paid) but that's all I could afford to do. It was SO hard leaving him with a babysitter that first week or so, then I realized that he was fine and well-taken-care-of.

    I think that having me go back to work helped him. He knew from an early age that Mom works so we can pay our bills, have nice things, buy food (!) He was never clingy, was adaptable and happy no matter where he was what was going on around him. When it came time for Pre-K and Kindergarten, i.e. "big-boy school", he was already used to leaving me so it was a fun experience, not scary.

    Also, it instilled in him that every human being should be able to support themselves and their families, not just the Daddies, the Mommie's too. What happens if all of a sudden there is no Daddy? The Mommy also needs to be able to monetarily support the children she chose to bring into this world.

    My only question for you is - and I'm not being mean, just wondering - if you knew all along that you wanted to be a full-time Mom and stay home with your kids, why did you go to college? That must have cost someone a lot of money. You weren't taking classes to help you with a career, since your career of choice was being a Mom. Nothing wrong with that, just that it doesn't require a college degree.

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  3. Maria,

    I'm answering your question from my point of view...

    Personally, I think it is unfortunate that so many people ask mothers who choose to stay home why they have a college degree.

    I am also a stay at home mom and have a college degree and I have never felt that I wasted my or anyone else' money by getting a college degree. It is actually quite the opposite, I think I am a better mother because I have a college degree. I am of the belief that college is not just for preparing you for a career. It prepares for many other aspects of life as well, including being a mother.

    I also believe that the field I chose to get my degree in could provide for my family if for some reason we were in the position where I needed to go outside the home to work, for whatever reason. I don't have a doubt that I could support myself or my family financially if the need arose because I prepared myself by getting a college degree.

    I have one daughter right now and I will raise her to believe that she can do or be whatever she wants to be and if that is a mother who stays home to take care of her children that is fantastic. I will also encourage her to go to college, no matter what path she chooses. I don't want her to grow up believing that if she chooses to stay home with her children at some point in her life, she is not worth investing in for a college degree.

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  4. Amanda - thanks for your response. I think your situation is a bit different from Shawni's - only in that you got your degree thinking maybe you would work in your field one day. You probably had every intention of working outside the home - then decided later that, hey, I'd like to stay home with my kids.

    In Shawni's case, I thought I read where she said she had never had any ambitions or aspirations for anything other than being a wife and mother. And she probably had/has no intention of ever working outside the home, whereas you said you might if the need arose.

    So, that being the case, I'm not slamming Shawni in any way, and it's not about the child being "worth" investing a college degree. I just feel personally that it's a lot of money to spend on something just to become a better person, mother, etc.

    There is a lot to be said for life experience, and that's what really prepares you for those things.

    I think Shawni went to Boston College - correct me if I'm wrong - and tuition, room and board there today costs almost $60,000 per year. Times 4 years, that's a lot to spend when raising kids is your career goal.

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  5. I used that Mormon Message in my RS lesson a few weeks ago and when I watched it for the first time, I had to rewind it when I thought I saw you! I recognized you right away, I just had to double check~

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  6. 'Will you share how exactly you are working on kind words amongst siblings. Its a huge problem at my house, too. And I'm desperate'.

    Just another perspective: I had a bit of a lightbulb moment the other day and decided that sibling squabbles aren't all bad...

    DS loves to wind his sister up. Always has done, and our method has been to teach her how to stand up for herself. After all, kids are always going to squabble and we're not always going to be right there to sort it out. So, with all the practice she gets she's pretty good at holding her own ground now.

    The other day DS was winding DD up about how he's in top set for everything at school, she's not, etc etc etc. DD just sat there getting on with her own business, calmly pointing out to him that she was predicted to get all As and Bs in her exams and anyway, her career choice means that she's going to earn more money than he will.

    It occurred to me right there that of course nastiness and petty squabbling doesn't end with childhood - business meetings, anyone? And I've now got a kid who's perfectly prepared for any management meeting, all courtesy of mean big brother. Result!

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  7. Maria, like Amanda, I'm so sad that people think having a college degree is not important when you're a mother. We are raising the next generation! I am honestly so puzzled that I get this question quite a lot. I just don't understand why someone would think you should just not get an education if you want to be a mother??

    A college education is not just so you can get a job. Sure, that helps. But there is OH SO MUCH MORE!! A college education is to expand your mind and help you see the world in a bigger view. It's to help you understand the world. How to understand a certain field. Help you understand others you study and work with. It gives life lessons. From my point of view it helps in every single aspect of mothering life.

    I went to Boston University for my freshman year. I was able to get financial aid and was able to put my savings from the 10-20-70 whizbang system my parents made up for us (because they were aware and had their own college degrees which I'm sure helped) to work and used it toward my tuition. I went to BYU for the rest of college and graduated in Social Work. I have never once worked in the Social WOrk field, but I have also never once had a day in my motherhood career that I didn't use the information I gleaned from those college courses, or from my college experience as a whole. I use my knowledge every single day of my mothering career.

    Mothers are not just people to drive carpools and give hugs. WE are nurturing growing minds. We are teaching children about the world they are navigating. We are teaching them life lessons. How grateful I am to have a college education under my belt for this. Sure, there are no "majors" in being a mother, but to me, every single major in the world makes a difference in the mothering realm.

    Please do not think that being a mother does not need education. Yes, people do it every day without, and they do it well. And I applaud them for that. But how lucky are we as mothers if we do have that opportunity to expand our minds just a little more. Motherhood is, in my opinion, the most important job in the world. And an education sure helps to do it more deliberately.

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  8. Shawni, I just love you. And your family, and your blog and your answer here. Thank you.

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  10. Agree. There is never enough education. Doesn't matter if you are SAHM or not. You are the example to your children, you are the teacher. I am actually thinking about going back to school to add one more degree. And have no intensions going back to work. I am stay at home mom of two.

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  11. 240,000 dollars for a college education! Seriously? I feel faint. No way could I have afforded anything like that, and I'm the family breadwinner!

    So there are two sides to it...

    Of course being a parent (female or male) is only partly the cooking and the cleaning and telling then to knock off the squabbling. The most important part is everything that you can bring to the most important relationships of your life and education is a part of that. And I can see that to a well-off American, an expensive education as prelude to life of motherhood would make absolute sense. (And if you'll excuse me for saying so, where else better to meet a husband who can finance the SAHM lifestyle ;-).

    But don't be surprised, or saddened, when the 98% of the world who are not middle class Americans, people who are far more constrained by finance,find that choice puzzling. Because to us, even those of us lucky enough to live in the world's richest countries, that option would be as financially unobtainable as a trip to the moon.

    Off to thank my lucky stars that our cap on uni tuition fees is one-tenth of what Americans have to pay!

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  12. Shawni,

    As a current law student whose greatest aspiration in life is to be a SAHM, I applaud you for seeking post-secondary education for yourself. While being a SAHM is what I've always wanted for myself, I recognized early on that I would need to be able to support myself until I became a mother (or met the man of my dreams and got married, for that matter). I think there are so many variables in life that need to be considered before someone would do away with pursuing a post-secondary degree just because they don't see it as useful for their "end goal" (which it is, by the way. I'm a firm believer that you can never have a vast enough knowledge!).

    And, on another note, I recall learning of a study in one of my undergraduate courses that revealed married couples typically marry within their educational group - i.e. a doctor is unlikely to marry a grade 12 graduate. You're just in different social circles and not on the same page educationally...and if two grade 12 graduates marry, the likelihood of the husband being able to financially support a SAHM and kids becomes increasingly less likely.

    Case and point: get an education. Get it in whatever interests you. Fall in love with learning and the pieces of life will fall together...no matter how often it may seem that life is falling apart along your journey. Don't ever sell yourself short because you view an education as expensive and not necessary. Ensure that you're always fulfilling your potential because I don't think there is any greater example to set for your children than being the best that you can be and, as Shawni so brilliantly says, doing HARD things.

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  13. Such an interesting discussion this is!
    I have another perspective to add.
    I got married at 20 years old, and we started our family within the next year and a half. I never attended college, and really never felt like I needed to. I wanted nothing more than to be a singer and a mom. I sang professionally for several years, until our second son was born, then "retired" to stay home with my children. We have made many sacrifices in order for me to stay home (like driving super old, not awesome cars) but it was always worth it to me, and I never really worried about it.
    For 13 years I stayed home, and we lived paycheck to paycheck.
    Then my husband lost his job. Completely out of the blue we had no income.
    And what could I do, sing?
    There was no way for me to REALLY contribute. I could work for minimum wage, but couldn't support us while my husband looked for work. I felt pretty worthless.
    There are so many reasons getting an education is a good idea, even if being a SAHM is the goal.
    Plans don't always pan out, and it's always wise to be prepared, don't you think?

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  14. Shawni, how would you react if one of your kids wanted to date or even get married to someone who`s not LDS? Does your family or your kids have (close) friends who are not LDS?

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  15. Thank you, Rachfishop. When I made my comment that started this discussion, as I said, I wasn't slamming Shawni. I read her blog every day and love it. And to Shawni, who is living in a gorgeous home while building another, who travels extensively, who has 3 cars, whose kids all look like they have iPhones - a person living this lifestyle, and coming from a well-off family - college was just a given, regardless of whether they planned on ever getting a job or not.

    And - sorry Shawni - a kid's piggy bank savings - no matter how cute and sincere, would not finance 5 minutes of a college education nowadays. It's a neat idea to get kids to save, but not nearly enough.

    Also you definitely hit it on the head - college is where to find a husband who can support the SAHM goal, and who will let you have 5 or six kids one right after the other.

    To each his own, but I still think you learn more on a day-to-day basis raising kids than getting a degree in Social Work.

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  16. Side note, Shawni - your Grandmother who just passed (I'm so sorry, by the way)- didn't she start/run the Joy School? Also your parents, not only successfully raising nine (!!!) children - but also wrote books, give seminars, INSTRUCT on how to raise kids - these are two very viable "sources" if you will - on learning the ins and outs of childrearing. FREE to you.

    So, even though you had every right to spend lots of (government) grants and aid money, plus your own and your parents savings on college - no offense, but you had the learning tools right in your own backyard that were as good if not better ways to learn ALL you needed to know about being a SAHM.

    Just sayin...

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  17. Hi everyone, I think this is such an important discussion. I read once (but can't remember the source) that the single greatest indicator of the level of education a child will achieve is the educational level of their mother. When I read that it surprised me- I thought it would have been more balanced between mother and father OR some other indicator all together. That aside, I am a stay at home mom and have a college degree, and although I recognize my education was expensive, I am very grateful for my education every day. My children are still fairly young (my oldest is in 4th grade), but I love more than anything when they come home from school and tell me about what they're learning. Invariably those discussions lead to us looking for something on the map, me leafing through an old textbook to show them a picture I thought they would find interesting, or telling them about a book I read that relates somehow, etc, etc. I love what my education has done for me- opening my eyes to see the world in a different way and broadening my perspective on so many things, and I am SO grateful to get to share and cultivate that love of learning with my children and to make it a part of our home environment.

    I guess I just wanted to comment to say that I agree that a college education is expensive. It is. And being a stay at home mom doesn't require a degree, but as a stay at home mom, I am deeply grateful for the beauty that it adds to my own and my family's life every day.

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  18. I'm quite surprised by the discussion going on in the comments questioning the value of a woman gaining further education. Perhaps its because I live in Australia where we aren't riddled with outrageous student fees for our tertiary education that this is just not an issue here. I am a stay at home mum to 3 (soon to be 4) sons and I am grateful every day for my university degree. . As I think I've heard Shawni mention on her blog "life is long" and there will be times and seasons where our education will come into play in different ways. Education, in whatever form it comes, is never, ever a waste. Brigham Young said "you educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation." There are many studies to back this up, that show a direct correlation between the level of education of the mother and various outcomes for her children. I do however think that due to financial constraints a tertiary education seems to be less of an option for everyone in the United States, than it is in other parts of the world. Perhaps that should be what you are questioning. But don't ever judge a woman for taking advantage of the full extent of whatever educational opportunities are available to her. As women we should be championing this for every woman around the world regardless of what she chooses to do with it.

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  19. I don't think the discussion is about the value of a woman gaining an education, as opposed to a man.

    My point was, and is - that either a man or a woman who knows that their lifelong goal is to be a stay-at-home parent, does not have to get a college education. If that person, male or female, knows in their heart that they will get married and raise kids from age 20 through late 40s or more, then getting that degree is just for personal enrichment - which is fine, except that can be gained in lots of other ways.

    And yes, after the kids are grown, maybe they will have practical use for the degree - if they can find someone to hire a 50 year old. Good luck with that. The 20 year old college graduates can't even find a job - so what company would hire someone with a degree from 25 years ago who has never worked outside the home?

    It may make the person feel like they could maybe support their families, but in reality, not so much.

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  20. I sense so much bitterness in these "questions" asked here..

    We should try to be happy over other person's happiness - it might take some training but it's not that hard.

    The experience of college is priceless.

    The possibility of staying at home with your kids is a blessing.

    Also, a good man always selects a worthy woman and vice versa.

    Luck is like karma - good things happen to good people!

    :)

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  21. I have never ever commented on a blog of someone I do not know personally (I do know your brother-in-law Jeff from years ago in college - he was in my ward and we worked together at Novell). And I usually don't even read the comment section of blogs, but for some reason I did last night and feel compelled to share some thoughts or feelings.

    First of all I wanted to thank you Shawni. I was talking to my husband last night about how I could never be a big name blogger. So many people analyzing my every move, my decisions, my income level, my home, my family, my choices, my education would have me all tied up in knots at every minute of the day. It is so easy to question/pick at/criticize someone else's life with the anonymity that the internet provides. You are a brave to be so vulnerable to let people into all aspects of your life. You are doing great things by being an example of what you believe, how you strive to live by those beliefs, and how you so graciously acknowledge your faults in reconciling the discrepancy between the two. Because as with the fallibility of humans we all are somewhere caught up between the discrepancies of what we live and what we believe. You are a tremendous example for good for so many.

    Secondly, I wanted to say that I will never regret my decision to get an education and be a stay-at-home mom. I have an undergraduate and graduate degrees. My education has made me better in so many indescribable ways. It has helped me to critically think on issues, provided me with incalculable amounts of knowledge, provided me with ways to formulate opinions, and helped me to express to others my convictions. I understand this may not to the norm world-wide to receive such education (I have lived in third world country to 18 months of my life), but there are those who even despite being denied formal education strive on their own to be educated, receive knowledge, gain greater understanding or whatever else you may choose to call it. In other words there are humans of every background striving to gain the most knowledge they can from the sources available to them. Academia is not the only place to receive knowledge to better oneself. It can take place in all areas of our lives no mater how big or how small. Because for me education/learning/knowledge or whatever other term it may be labeled is a way of life. To quote John Dewey a researcher and some say a founder for the current American education system said “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” So whether education comes in the form a college degree or not there is the gift to instill in all humans to gain greater knowledge in all forms and be life long learners

    To illustrate this with a silly example, just last night a dinner we were discussing things my eight year old learned from a science television program. He asked me if I knew what I a “flying buttress” was, thinking he was ready to stump me and be the expert on the subject. I did know what it was a proceeded to tell him. My husband who has a Phd in his field of work was surprised and asked me how I knew that. I told him from my humanities class in college. He laughed and said how he just learned what a flying buttress was from the same science television show that they had watched together. Albeit a silly example it just shows me how much knowledge there is that can be gleaned from the world in general. I wish that I could more eloquently express my feelings but because of limited time it is impossible . Listed below is an amazing article that articulates “Why a Women’s Education is Not Wasted in the Home” by Jenet Jacob Erickson. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865587127/A-womans-education-is-not-wasted-in-the-home.html?pg=all

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  22. Rebecca, I agree with everything you said. It's just that I don't think that having your husband and kids impressed by some trivial knowledge you remember from college is worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs for education through the graduate level.

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  23. Maria,

    While I can appreciate your position on this topic, I just thought it would be worthwhile to consider how a SAHM's job reaches outside of the realm of directly parenting her children. I grew up with a SAHM who held a BSc (which, by the way, she put to great use outside of the home for nearly a decade before she had her first child). Not only did her academic pursuits set a great example for her children, it allowed her to be hugely involved in many other aspects of our lives beyond the home. She always sat on the PTA and on boards for the various sports and extracurriculars we were involved in. She was (and still is) a fantastic volunteer in the community, serving in positions that require a higher level of thinking and communication than she probably would possess if it weren't for her post-secondary education.

    To apply my theory to something that we're obviously both familiar with, consider this blog. I strongly believe that nothing shapes a person's ability to write and communicate effectively more than a post-secondary degree (particularly, one in humanities). I think that degrees allow people to heighten their awareness of the world around them and how they interact with it. So, while you may dismiss Shawni's education as unnecessary for her chosen career path, look beyond your view that it's not necessary for parenting, and take solace in the fact that, even if you don't think she needed to go to university to become a mother, her blog which clearly has a large and vast readership, has likely benefitted an unimaginable amount because she furthered her education.

    Being a full-time mother in the 21st century involves so much more than taking care of your children's basic needs. While a degree is definitely not a requirement to be a SAHM, it is undoubtedly an asset in this day and age.

    P.s. this was a FANTASTIC discussion and, after reading this blog for nearly a year and never commenting, I'm so glad I stopped biting my tongue and finally did :)

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  24. Maria I am sorry that you missed my point entirely. And this is precisely why I have never left a comment on a blog like this before is it seems that it never changes anyone's mind about anything. It sounds like your mind is made up, that it is completely worthless or unnecessary -maybe a more appropriate word- for me to have my degrees and stay at home with my children. To me, I feel oh so entirely differently about the money, time, and grueling effort it took to earn those degrees and the learning that I continue to pursue for myself even now. I would not trade the knowledge that I gain in this life whether formally (academic degrees) or informally (through reading, attending free seminars, gleaning knowledge through others) for anything at all. I count it as one of the most worthy things that I can ever do and that my role as a mother is to pass on to my children a love of learning in any form. To each his or her own view; whether mine, yours, or Shawni's.

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  25. Maria, I was going to leave this discussion alone, but was just blown away by an amazing interview and documentary about a young woman named Malala that I watched this evening. I assume most people are aware of what this young woman has suffered and been through as she has fought for her right to receive an education. If you don't, please look into her story further, it is a reminder for all of us to never, ever take for granted the right that every human being should have to receive an education. Some wonderful quotes from Malala "I need to be fully empowered...and to make myself powerful I only need one thing, that is education, so I will get education, " and addressing the UN "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen...can change the world. Education first."

    From what I understand from your comments, your concern is not whether or not women should receive an education, your concern is that the expense of tertiary study is superfluous and unnecessary if you don't plan on using that qualification in paid employment. I guess it comes down to whether you see the purpose of further study is to solely qualify you for paid employment or whether there is a greater role to it that extends beyond that. I personally agree with Malala, education is empowering, it changes lives and has the power to change the world. I chose to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to me for many reasons, one of them was out of a deep sense of gratitude and responsibility that there are many who would and have fought tremendously hard for that right, because of how important they considered it to be. And now I teach my children of that same importance. I expect them to try their best at school and to take advantage of every educational opportunity available to them as they seek out their own individual dreams because I believe that education will be one of the greatest tools in their chest in their own attempts to change the world.

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  26. Thanks, Sarah. I think you got my point more so than the other commenters. Superfluous is the word I would use.

    As one of the commenters, Rachfishop said - ...don't be surprised, or saddened, when the 98% of the world who are not living the lifestyle of Shawni and her family, people who are far more constrained by finance,find the choice to go to college for "personal empowerment" puzzling.

    To someone whose idea of a "little" trip to NYC involves a Broadway play and 4 tickets to several days of the US Open - spending money on college is just another "day in the life". I am not slamming Shawni (although I will be accused of doing so by her followers) - she can't be blamed for her upbringing. And I know she is thankful for her situation. But there are so many people that find her situation merely an unattainable fairy tale.

    To others, probably most others, going to college is not an option - unless there is a decent job waiting for them at the end so they can pay their student loans.

    Not all women are ok with asking their husbands to assume that debt and all other household bills and expenses so they can stay home with lots of babies!

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  27. This may have a bearing on this discussion - taken verbatim from the LDS 2006 Mission President's Handbook:

    “While you are serving as mission president, the Church reimburses the necessary living expenses for you, your wife, and your dependent children. Dependent children are defined as those who are under age 26, have not been married, and are not employed full-time. Living expenses include food, clothing, household supplies, family activities, dry cleaning, personal long-distance calls to family, and modest gifts (for example, Christmas, birthdays, or anniversary).” (80)

    Additional reimbursable or paid expenses are also listed including (but not limited to) medical expenses; support for children serving full-time missions; dance lessons (and the like) for elementary and secondary school-aged children as well as their school tuition, fees and books; undergraduate college tuition; a gardener; a housekeeper; internet and other utilities; babysitters; transportation expenses including the use of a car and all fuel and maintenance expenses; and personal health and life insurance premiums.

    The handbook instructs,

    “The amount of any funds reimbursed to you should be kept strictly confidential and should not be discussed with missionaries, other mission presidents, friends, or family members.” (80)

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  28. Education is vital. For everyone. No matter what their plans or intentions for their life are. Education expands the capacity of any person. It opens doors of opportunity. And the facts are, that no one can predict where their life will take them, so preparation (education) will allow them to make the most of whatever situations are thrown at them through life. My husband's dream was to work in corporate America. In finance. He got his undergrad in Business finance and his MBA. Through life's twists and turns and different doors opening up to us than we had expected, he ended up starting his own landscaping company. And that has worked out great for us. Are his degrees necessary for his work? No. Does his education enhance every aspect of his business? Yes. Does he regret getting his degrees, NO. We have no idea what will be around the next bend. Education is so important. I, like Shawni, always wanted to stay at home with my children. When I started college at 18 years old was I married? No. So do I just sit at home and wait to get married, have children, and for my dream to begin? NO! I went to college. I worked hard to learn and grow as a person. I got to rub shoulders with others who were also working hard at accomplishing their dreams. This also helped develop me as a person. I got my degree. I got married shortly before graduating. Did I know how long it would take me to have children? No. Did I know if I would ever be blessed with children? No. (I was, but I had no way of knowing that for sure!)Did I know if 1,5,or 10 years down the road something would change and I would either want or need to work part or full time? No. Education does nothing more than prepare, expand capacity, and open opportunity. There is nothing superfluous about education. Call huge houses, expensive furniture, massive amounts of clothing, brand name shoes and purses, boats, etc, etc, etc, etc superfluous, but NOT education. And while we're at it, lets not judge at all. Nobody is in the same situation. Nobody grew up in the same situation. Nobody has the same heart and is following their heart. Lets support. Lets encourage. Lets work to be the best WE can be, and follow our own hearts and encourage everyone around us (and online!) to do the same.

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