Do what feels best for you...look out for you first...go and fulfill all your dreams at whatever cost... don't let anything or anyone get in your way of reaching your full potential...you're young, have fun; responsibility can come later in life...in order to be important, you must make your mark in this world in a BIG way...loyalty means little if you aren't happy...beauty comes in a size 2 and DD...self-worth comes from having a successful career...peace is obtained on vacation in paradise or at the spa...a woman can and should do all that a man does...
I have a mom who never listened to the world's message on how to be happy.
She never puts herself first. She has always supported her husband in his endeavors and made it possible for him to provide for our family, even at great sacrifice. She can't manage to let her mind rest for one minute when it comes to making sure everyone around her is content and comfortable. Although she makes it a priority to take care of herself, her wardrobe and personal care is never outrageous. She is modest. Her life is full of small and simple acts of kindness that have a great impact. Her vacations consisted of small ratty towns while sitting on bleachers, cheering at my softball tournaments or my brothers' baseball tournaments and our annual trip to visit her mom here in Utah. Her career is being a mother. And now a grandmother.
I am so grateful I was raised by such a woman. I think how different I would be if she had followed those other messages and the influence it would have had on me.
And now I have two beautiful daughters who watch my every move. The way I act, dress, talk, and live directly affects my children. I am so aware that the way I live my life will impact them. They will see through any hypocrisy, dishonesty or double standard I set. I must teach by doing.
Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done. No matter how I am doing, I always feel like I need to do better. I always feel a weight of responsibility on my shoulders for these three precious children who were given to us. I feel a constant sense of urgency to improve myself so that I can more effectively teach them. I am deliberately doing things in so many areas of my life with them in mind--all in hope that someday it will matter.
Proverbs 31:10-30 has helped me know what will make me happy as a woman and a mom:
"Who can find a virtous woman? for her price is far above rubies...the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life...she girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms...she stretched out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy...Strength and honour are her clothing...she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness...Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her...Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
If every woman lived this way, imagine the world we would live in.
I can call my mother "blessed". Her life is a witness to me that happiness comes in virtue and in having our strength be in the Lord.
A couple years back I wrote in a personal journal my thoughts on being a mom. I finished with this sentence:
"My part in this world is ever so small, but to my children, it is everything."
Because I am a Mormon, I know my worth as a woman and mother is great. Women partner with God as we do His work in raising children and making this world better. This is where women will find strength and power. Sooner or later, we will bridge this dichotomy and happiness will be abundant in the lives of women throughout the world.