By Heather O.
When I listen (which isn’t all that often–mostly I’m too busy talking, or eating Oreos), I hear stuff about Mormon women. Some of it is good stuff. Some of it is bad stuff. Almost all of it makes me uncomfortable.
I hear about how amazing Mormon women are, how accomplished we are, what fantastic things we can (or should ) do.
Then there’s the other stuff. Mormon women are oppressed. We are brainwashed, or we are miserable. We put on a happy face because we have to, but we are all secretly dying inside because of the pain that our religion has caused us.
I don’t know that I can buy into all of it.
Most Mormon women I know are pretty, well, normal. They have good days and bad days. They have days when they deserve domestic diva goddess awards, and days when you wonder what color the floor is under all the stuff. They love their families, and they love their religion, but man, sometimes the Bishop does lame things that makes them roll their eyes, and sometimes they are so pushed to the limit by their children that they want to chuck them all out the window.
My son plays T-ball with a bunch of neighborhood kids, and I listen to their Catholic moms talk about their religion, and their lives, and most of them are pretty much like Mormon women. They love their religion and their kids, but man, did you hear what Father so-and-so did? Boy that got me steamed. And if that kid sasses me one more time, I might just have to ground him for a month.
We are a peculiar people. I get that. And yeah, I have some different views of God than my Catholic neighbors do. But the struggles I face as a religious mother are not all that different than the struggles they face: protecting our kids from evil influences, like drugs, alcohol, and people who would want to hurt them, trying to teach them about having a relationship with Christ in a world that would tell them otherwise, and trying to feed them food that won’t make them poster children for the childhood obesity epidemic.
I’m uncomfortable with rhetoric that makes Mormon women martyrs. We are not martyrs. We are women, sacrificing the way that women and mothers have sacrificed since the beginning of time. But I’m equally uncomfortable with the rhetoric that all mormon women are bitter because of the pressures brought to bear on us by our religion. I am not bitter. Yes, I struggle wtih certain things in my life and my religion, but I think it is folly to suggest that my experience is unique because I am Mormon. Last week I listened to a woman agonize over her treatment from her Catholic community when she divorced her abusive husband, the pain she felt at being shunned and being told point blank from her religious leader that the choices she made put her at odds with her God, and that she was therefore no longer welcome. But despite her pain, she continues to be Catholic. Because she believes it. And because she knows that despite her divorce, God still loves her.
Is it wrong to suggest that Mormon women are just normal women? Sometimes I feel like it is. But I feel like on the spectrum between SuperMom and bitter, oppressed, demanding the priesthood or I’ll go picket Temple Square apostate, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
I am a Mormon woman. I like being Mormon, although certain things about the gospel perplex me, annoy me, and make me question stuff. I like going to church, even though sometimes people say really ghastly things about other people, TO other people, and, occasionally, to me. I like teaching my kids about Jesus, and I like having a relationship with God. I read scriptures with my family, and we try to pray together as a family before my son gets on his bus, except on the days when he can’t find his shoes and his socks don’t match and his friend is banging on the door, waiting for him to come on out already.
See? Pretty normal.