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‘Just a Mom’

I was browsing Mormon.org last week and saw my friend on the homepage. I watched her video and smiled and laughed because oh I miss her so, and they portrayed her fun personality just like I remember her in college.

I began to scroll through other “featured Mormon” profiles to see if I recognized anyone else when I spotted Jane Clayson. I watched her video and teared up.

There are so many details of my life I don’t go into in public and one of them is my battle with this. I have never wanted being a mother define me. Long before becoming pregnant I said I didn’t want to be “just a mom.” Since becoming a mother, when I sign up for something that needs a username I try to avoid using the words “mom” or “mama” in the title (aside from blog-related endeavors obviously). It’s silly, but I’ve fought so that’s not what defines me. I love being a mother but I guess that’s not the first thing I want people to think of when they hear my name or see me. I’ve feared ever leaving the workforce because I don’t want to be a “former news anchor.”

Jane Clayson is a former network news anchor and left the business to take care of her children. This was exactly what I needed to hear right now. I sometimes find it hard to picture myself staying at home and being “just a mom” but I’ve realized I’m thinking about this the wrong way. What a blessing it would be to devote my time to raising my children. What an honorable career.

Hopefully this video can strike a chord with someone like it has for me.


aww that made me tear up! because it is so true!!

Our society is so messed up. I don’t know why, but I feel like as women are are constantly made to feel bad about ourselves and our choices.

This is why I try to be a supportive friend to all my girlfriends: students, workers, moms… Everyone needs a little reassurance.

I would love to be a SAHM someday, but hey, that’s not financially possible for everyone. Really, it isn’t. But one thing I know, I’ll love my children and they will know it.

🙂

LookingUp says:

I identify with this so much. I worked my way up to become an award-winning managing editor of a magazine. I worked full time and went to school at night to get my master’s degree. Career-wise, I had made my dreams come true. And I gave it all up to stay at home with my son. It was such a hard, hard decision, and I admit it was made with some tears. But I asked myself when I’m old and gray, what job will I look back on with the greatest pride?

Marilyn says:

I saw that video too. That’s a very personal and beautiful decision.

Personally I think the news industry needs to stop being stiffs and makes work schedules more flexible for awesome women reporters who would also like to take care of thier children. I’m sure the men wouldn’t mind some flexibility either to be with their families.

Sarah says:

This is something I struggle with too. I don’t have any kids yet (hopefully soon!) and I am currently a pharmacy student. Pharmacy School is expensive and I can’t not work when I’m done. I’ll have racked up a ton of money in student loans and will HAVE to work to pay them back. We will be moving close to my family soon which will definitely help. That’s one of the reasons I decided we need to start our family now while I have time to spend with them. It will be a struggle balancing work and family. I’m hoping I will find a job that will give me some flexibility because that is really hard to find in the medical field.

Beautiful post & oh so true!

Nini says:

Dropping by OKDani let me know about your little corner and boy am I glad I dropped in. I’m currently a nursing student (second career…market trader/finance was first). I can see why she thought I might like it. Loved your post today. I’m delaying starting a family till after school but I too struggle with not wanting to lose myself to the title of just being a mom! I look forward to being one but I have this fear like that is the only thing that will define me.
Anyway, glad I visited I’ll be following from now on!

Feliz4life says:

This made me sad. As someone who is “Just a Mom” I have to struggle with this all the time as well. People completely write you off like you have no importance in this world. People are completely wrong, but that doesn’t keep the sting away. As a Christian I believe that being a mother is my first ministry. If I am not doing that right, everything else is vain. I left my career and even though I don’t always get the toys that the media says we “must” have-my God supplies all our needs. There is nothing that can replace the closeness my son and I share. It is a wonderful feeling knowing exactly what he has done all day that can’t be bought. I will never miss a moment because when I am old those are the things I will look back on with happiness.Remember this-when J walks across that stage to receive her awards and diplomas, she won’t thank a news anchor-she will thank her mom.

Cindy says:

I’m someone who never thought “just mommy” was not enough, though there are lots of things I can do besides pop out babies. I’m happy to be just a mama. Pride isn’t something you get to have a lot of, but it’s a small price to pay. It really is worth it. This made me think of my Just Mommy post. You probably haven’t seen it. I won’t link it from here, but basically, I think it’s not fair that we’ve been taught to think of motherhood as a trivial thing, as if having children was just like having pets–just another thing about your lifestyle, rather than a vocation and a calling. These are little people! Mommy is an exalted title! Wear it with pride!

Cindy says:

Oh, and her house? Much cleaner than mine. 😉

Erin says:

I identify with this post so much! i left my career as an attorney to be a SAHM, and while i am so grateful that i get to spend the time with my son and financially this is even possible for our family, i worry about the whole identity thing. i worry about getting back into the workforce eventually. i struggle with what to say when people ask “what do you do?” I’m grateful for and content with my choice, and I love my son SO MUCH, but there’s definitely a piece of me that misses the working world and all the perks that come with it.

Verena says:

I watched this video before. ( I had found a friend of mine there, too!!!) When I first had my son I was thinking, oh no now I have to stay home all the time. When I had my second child I started to work part-time. Then after a while I had to stop working, because my Mom got very sick (I took care of her) and then later I had my third child. I have no time anymore.:) I´m helping my kids with their homework, driving them to school and friends, etc. I´m thankful for the opportunity that I have to stay home with my kids. Not every woman can afford to stay home with their kids. (My Mom had to work all of her life.)I am able to help my kids to become good people and to get the chance to go to university one day.

This is a great Post! And it is a good way to think about how important Mothers are!

Verena xoxo

Cindy, feel free to link away! 🙂 and I’m sure she probably cleaned up for the cameras 😉

Monkey Sews says:

To work or not to work is always a tough decision. I must say that I feel a little cheated that I worked during the early years. I owned a business and my husband (now ex) wasn’t open to me staying home. I spent as much time with the boys as possible. I did the soccer mom thing, helped at school when I could, read tons of books, and put them before doing dishes. Sometimes I didn’t get much sleep since after they went to bed I played catch up. I think everyone needs to make their own decision. There is no “right” answer. I had a great nanny who took great care of the kids as well as me! She always made sure that I saw them walk for the first time (even if they did it earlier in the day and she didn’t tell me) My kids all are growing into good people with good values. That was my ultimate goal.
Some people are better parents because they aren’t always there and value the time they have with the kids.
Whatever the decision, remember it’s not set in stone. If you decide to stay home and then realize that you hate it, you can go back to work. Every parent is different, every child is different.

Jessica says:

I struggled with my decision to become a stay at home mom for the the LONGEST time. In the end, I decided that this was the path I wanted right now, even though it wasn’t my planned path. I have come to accept that I am more than just a mom. I’ve learned that my opinion of myself is what is paramount in all of this. Even if members of my society refuse to see me as anything more, I must continue to see myself as more. It’s tough, both decisions (to work or not to work) are tough, but so long as we (as women) can live with our decisions that’s what matters most. (OK, I’ll be getting off my soapbox now. Ahem.)

Tiff says:

This is very timely for me as my husband just accepted a new position at work that will give him insurance and thus allow me to stay home when my maternity leave is up next month. I’ve been contemplating going back part-time, but feel sick when I think about leaving my baby.

I’ve been conflicted about not returning to work as I will need to redefine myself and move from one stage of my life to another. I figure it will give me the opportunity to do other things I haven’t been able to do because of work once I get this parenting thing down, like get involved in my community, make new mom friends, learn new skills, and eventually I’ll most likely get another master’s degree.

It reminds me of when I was getting ready to come home from a mission and I was distraught that I would have to stop doing the most important work I could imagine to return home to focus on myself. I read the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that says, “To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

It is something I have to remember. There is a time for living with parents, a time for going to college, a time to go on a mission, a time to get married, a time to have a career, a time to raise children, a time to be a grandparent, etc.

It is difficult to let go of different stages of our lives, but sometimes you have to close one door so that you can open up another. If I chose to stay in one stage of my life forever I would miss out on the other wonderful things life has to offer.

Tiff says:

This is very timely for me as my husband just accepted a new position at work that will give him insurance and thus allow me to stay home when my maternity leave is up next month. I’ve been contemplating going back part-time, but feel sick when I think about leaving my baby.

I’ve been conflicted about not returning to work as I will need to redefine myself and move from one stage of my life to another. I figure it will give me the opportunity to do other things I haven’t been able to do because of work once I get this parenting thing down, like get involved in my community, make new mom friends, learn new skills, and eventually I’ll most likely get another master’s degree.

It reminds me of when I was getting ready to come home from a mission and I was distraught that I would have to stop doing the most important work I could imagine to return home to focus on myself. I read the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that says, “To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

It is something I have to remember. There is a time for living with parents, a time for going to college, a time to go on a mission, a time to get married, a time to have a career, a time to raise children, a time to be a grandparent, etc.

It is difficult to let go of different stages of our lives, but sometimes you have to close one door so that you can open up another. If I chose to stay in one stage of my life forever I would miss out on the other wonderful things life has to offer.

lisa says:

I love your blog but this post finally moved me to comment. After attending a prestigious college and working my way up in the entertainment industry to a great job with a great salary, I’m staying home now with my new son. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made. But I think it was so difficult only because I put so much emphasis on career and achievement for so many years. Having my son, I now realize that even though I miss having leisurely lunches and feeling empowered by work success, seeing him smile at me and grow is just as fulfilling, just in a different way. It’s certainly a luxury to be able to stay at home but I hope one day there won’t be such a negative connotation to being “just a mom”. It so hard to go from being defined by your career to having no identity because many people don’t consider “stay at home mom” an acceptable definition.

Steff says:

I’ve been having an issue with this the past few months, even though I don’t have kids yet! As I’ve said before, I was raised Mormon and my family is pretty large, and I have ALWAYS wanted a big family. At least 6 kids, but more if we can afford it. i love the idea of a big family.

Over the past few months though, I’ve realized that I don’t want to be a stay at home mom for that long! I LOVE the idea of being able to stay home with my children, home school them, and raise them the way I think is right. But I also KNOW that I would go crazy. Dealing with my 2 dogs on the days I have off is enough to drive me crazy, let alone 6+ kids!

I’ve talked to my partner about it a lot, and lo and behold, he would LOVE to be a stay at home dad, like your husband. I love the idea of that! I would be a nurse, making enough money for both of us, and I would love that.

Nedra says:

Please read my whole post before commenting, I’m not just trying to ruffle feathers, I promise!

PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE:

I’m going to have to be the lone dissenter here for the sake of being devil’s advocate (mind you, this is not my opinion, but instead a mishmash of things I’ve heard; I’m also curious to see how you respond). Feliz4Life’s comment, “when your daughter is getting all of those awards and diplomas…” well why on earth would you encourage her to get diplomas, etc when you aren’t even using your own? Or if you think motherhood is the most noble career there is?? Raising kids is a job, but not the only job there is. After the squishy phase, they go to school. What on earth are you doing at home all day when they’re in school? And please don’t say cooking and cleaning! A household with working people stays clean typically, so why is you being at home being productive? You love your kids, but at some point you CANNOT be up in their faces all the time. That is why we have crazy helicopter parents now and why the current generation can’t do anything for themselves…they’re spolied silly by the parents who have to feed their own need to be close to their kids.

Now for my own opinion:
I have three children, so I understand I’m a working woman (an airline pilot and former chemical engineer), and I’m lucky to have a supportive hubby and family and we (hubs and I) are raising our kids to do exactly what they want to do! Being a SAHM crossed my mind, but I didn’t think it was fair to my kids or myself because I was that person who needed adult interaction and I didn’t want my kids to be around mom who was grouchy because she needed said interaction. I respect any mom who can do the SAHM thing, it’s a hard job. Really, being a mom PERIOD is a hard thing to do and I wish we didn’t judge each other so much.

I’m sorry to vent, Jen. My apologies.

Sharon says:

My baby is now 15 years old. I wish that I could’ve afforded to be a SAHM. But, my husband and I are both teachers living in the Northeast and I had to work. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching. I love my students and I enjoy watching students go through the process of learning. But, the years go by so fast and our babies grow so fast. In a blink of an eye, they’re grown and gone. We only have them for such a short period of time and we don’t get any “do overs”. With that being said, if the circumstances would have allowed it, I would be a SAHM in a heartbeat.

amylynne says:

I’m reminded of the scripture about losing our lives to find ourselves. My eternal relationships and roles are wife and mother. Our society has downplayed both of theses so much, but in truth they really are the two most important things I will do here on earth. How people choose to balance that is their own business of course, but no one should ever feel guilty about staying at home. I feel incredibly blessed that we can afford to have me stay at home with my two boys despite my degree that I spent all that time earning. I hope it shows my children not only that education is important but that ultimately, as important as it is, that they were even more important. Sure I’m grouchy because I need adult interaction- but learning to overcome that is part of losing myself to find my greater purpose. I hope that some day it becomes more natural to spend my day serving my family rather than worrying about me, me, me, all the time. 🙂

amylynne says:

To clarify however- I dont judge others for not staying at home!! While I know this is what is best for me personally and for my family- I don’t profess to know what is best for everyone! I would like to think that it’s a great choice for everyone no matter their circumstances, but I can only speak from my own experience of course! Being a mom IS a wonderful and rewarding thing- no matter how you choose to do it! 🙂

Geigerin says:

Nedra, I’m totally impressed by your resume, and I imagine you find your work very fulfilling. My mom did the opposite of many moms and worked during my early years. She started staying home when I was 11 and starting to get into trouble at school. Having her home and more involved at that age helped me tremendously. I turned things around and became an honor student and eventually graduated college with honors. I credit my mother’s sacrifice with my long-term success in academics.

However, I think my mother needed that outlet, and once she quit her job, she suffered from depression, significant weight gain, and alcoholism. When I went to college and eventually moved overseas, she had panic attacks. She found her passion in a new one of work (and is very successful), and has recovered from many of her struggles.

Now that I’m the mother of a 1-year-old, I’m constantly questioning whether staying home was the right choice for us. I struggled with PPD for 6 months, and although I’m involved in many mommy groups, I’m still not getting real adult interaction. We always seem to talk about boobs, kids & diapers.

Recently, I’ve become involved in local politics. Volunteering for organizations I support has been extremely fulfilling, and I get to bring my kiddo along. I’m training to lead a breastfeeding support group, and although that’s more boob talk, I am passionate about the outreach programs. So, I don’t have an answer except to say that for me, it seems important to have a passion outside of child-rearing, paid or not. 🙂

Kimberly says:

Great post. I do not have children, however in thinking about having kids (a lot of thinking lately!) this very topic has been a struggle in my brain. As much as I love my job, I know it is going to eat away at me to work while my child is in daycare. I also love being able to tell people about my job, and how I help others!

I do not know that I’ll have the financial option to stay home, however if I did, not sure if 100% of me would want to. I’m quite torn… can you tell? 😉

I think MOM is an incredible title to have and to OWN. I’d be proud to have it and I’d never but JUST A in front of it.

I guess I don’t think much about the various titles we have. Who needs to add more labels to life?

When I’m a mom, and not working outside the home I will let people know I’m a mom and that will be that. Why belittle it with a “just a”?

Kira =] says:

I’ve seen her video on there before and the most touching was not being “just a”. So true. An older gentleman neighbor asked if I worked out of the home. Notice his choice of words- he knows whether I’m at home or out of the home- its still work!

emilyc3313 says:

Thank you for sharing that video! In a time where I feel like I need to excel in my career, it helped remind me that I have a more important job waiting for me at home. Being a mother to my son!

Keya says:

This video was so inspiring. Thank you for posting it. The whole career/motherhood thing is a struggle that I have. I would love to be a stay at home mother, but it’s not finacially possible right now, and sometimes I think to myself can I really give up my career after I spent all those years in school. But I love my kids so much I would love to stay home with them. Luckily I work part time right now so I’m able to stay home with my kids 4 days a week. Great video, I would love to watch some more.

Carlee says:

Jane Clayson also wrote a book called I am a Mother. I highly recommend it if you liked her video.

Mrs. K says:

Great video. It’s got me thinking about my own future. Each person has to do what works best for them at a given time in their life. I’ll keep that in mind when the time comes. There’s no right or wrong answer–just what works best for the family at the time.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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