Ah, I’m being lazy tonight and just copying the letter I wrote to the Tribune today. I am amazed at the controversy among LDS women over Julie Beck’s talk in General Conference.
After reading Peggy Stack’s article in the Saturday Religion section I feel that Julie Beck’s conference talk was gravely misunderstood. I was THRILLED to hear Sister Beck speak so beautifully about homemaking. Like it or not, household chores take several hours of any woman’s day and we may as well lend dignity to them. As women, society tells us a thousand times a day that motherhood and homemaking have no value. Even in the church our role-models are women who have written books, run companies or work in a public setting. I thank Sister Beck for saying that the pursuit of excellence in mothering is a worthy and laudable life calling.
When Sister Beck advised that couples “not postpone having children,” my understanding was that couples should not indefinitely put off childbearing for careers, vacations and play. Recent church counsel has stressed education and financial responsibility. This counsel certainly applies to the decision to have children. LDS couples should get an education, make a plan and save some money before plunging into the world of diapers; but they don’t need to earn their doctorates, land the dream job, travel the world and learn to kite-surf before buying a crib.
I have six busy children and I have also held full-time and part-time jobs and owned my own business. My kids hate it when I work! And I hate being stretched so thin that I don’t do my best at anything. I also find that I am a not a very good neighbor, friend and volunteer when I am working extra jobs.
Sister Beck did not condemn working mothers but simply advised every mother to choose carefully how she spends her time. Many stay-at-home moms have been swallowed up in PTA, charity work and Little League. As mothers, we should set raising good children as our top priority. In this world that belittles everything sacred, including mothering, it’s nice to have Julie Beck shout from the rooftops that my children are worth my time, worth my life.
Most sincerely, Michelle Lehnardt