By Heather O.
DH and I like to talk about where it is we would like to end up. We won’t be in the D.C. area forever, unfortunately, so where is the ideal place to live? We both have lots of family in Utah, so the conversation inevitably comes back to living in Utah. And since DH’s dream is to be an academic, the question then goes to living in Salt Lake and teaching at the U, or living in Provo, and teaching at the Y. We’ve discussed both possibilities at length.
So I was a talking to a my sister-in-law, who spent some time living in Orem, and what her perceptions of living there were. Now, my sister-in-law is the type of gal who has tons of energy, is a huge go-getter, and her house is the one that all the neighbor kids are at all the time. She’s an immensely positive, upbeat lady, pretty much all the time. She had some good experiences living in Utah valley, but there were some aspects of living there that she admitted were not her favorite. But one thing that she said really struck me. She mentioned that when she talked to the small girls in the neighborhood, and asked them the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was often, “Oh, I just want to be a mom.”
Somehow, that answer makes me feel uncomfortable, and I’m not sure why. I tend to immediately think, “That’s your main aspiration–motherhood?” But here I sit, in th throes of motherhood, where my main aspiration today is to get to the zoo before 1:00. I’m a mom, and I like it. But I certainly didn’t go to college to be a mom, and in some ways, I think that made the transition to motherhood harder for me than some other women who, for example, studied family science at BYU. I felt like I had to learn a lot of things from scratch.
On the other hand, I liked having a job, and I like knowing that I can go back to a job if the opportunity is right.
So how do we balance the messages that we send our daughters? We want them to be mothers, to raise up a righteous generation under the Lord, to prepare for temple marriage and their divine role as mothers, right? But I would be happy if when I asked my daughter (if I ever get one!) what she wants to be when she grows up if she says, “I want to be a doctor!” And I would want to do everything I could to help her accomplish that goal, even though I think it would be a tough one to do as a stay-at-home mom.
I’d love to hear other thoughts about how we educate children on life goals and aspirations. For now, though, the panda bears and lions await!
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