Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Breaking Up Responsibilities and other thoughts sparked by my brit lit class . . .

I am taking a contemporary British Lit class this semester-- it is fabulous. Not only is my teacher the definition of Marathon Woman, I really enjoy our class discussions, and the literature is rather enlightening.
Last week I got up on my feminist soap box when we read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, and how we might think we have moved so far from Woolf's time to think women have it great because we can get our bachelor's degrees, but really we have so much more progress to make, especially in church culture, where it is possible to get higher degree or have a career, but it is generally very difficult for it to be accepted. My teacher then pointed out that women typically want to have it all, and all at once. From her experience, she can say that it is quite possible to have it all-- just not all at once. You have to spread it out. She also noted that women who do try to attain educational or career goals will experience a lot of criticism, but, interestingly enough, it is usually from other women-- not men. (Obviously this is in general, not absolute.) She said she was highly criticized, usually until the criticizers got to know her children-- once they could see she was raising truly incredible kids, they dropped the criticism. She got married when she was 19 and had three children by the time she was 21. She continued in school and got her master's degree and her Ph.D. along the way. She also worked as an editor of sorts earning over $300,000 a year (and that was in the '80s). She was widowed when she was about 48, and then she was offered a job at BYU. So, now she teaches here. Seriously, she's amazing.

Okay, believe it or not, that was a side note. So, today, when I got to class, in the pre-class discussion this guy just asked if it was okay for him to be a stay-at-home dad if he knew his wife could earn more than he could and she was okay with it. Everyone generally agreed that this was fine-- as long as it really was okay for both parties. Then he said something about how the only downside was that he would have to do all the laundry, clean, cook, shop, etc. And so I said, "wouldn't you split the responsibilities?" And it basically went quiet. I thought that was odd. I mean, isn't it generally accepted that husband and wife should split household responsibilities? I said how I expected my husband to share in the chore duties-- and he does. He always cleans the bathroom (among other things). And he didn't mind.

I'm not sure what my question is for the point of this post. Basically, if you like, you can just respond to anything I have typed, or you can answer one of these two specific questions:

(1) The Proclamation to the World states that a woman belongs in the home, raising her familiy. Does this mean that the Church discourages stay-at-home dads? Do you think it is more important for the woman specifically to be in the home? Or do you think the key factor is a parent in the home and they just say it should be the woman because that is most typical? (Granted, I know some circumstances don't allow a parent to be in the home-- let's just pretend this hypothetical family does not need to worry about finances-- though do consider this option: the wife can make more at her job than her husband-- should the wife still stay home? We're talking wife is a business executive and the husband is a public school teacher.)

(2) Was I on some other planet when I responded that they could split the responsibilities? Should women be in charge of keeping a house clean, doing the laundry, etc.? Or is it fair to have the man share in the responsibilities?


Nancy said...

Great post, Courtney. I am a huge Virginia Woolf fan and I periodically read `A Room of One's Own' for feminist inspiration.

The responsibilities thing is something that I struggled with a little at the beginning of my marriage. I wanted it to be a clean 50-50 split, but things really didn't work out that way. I have a husband who is very willing to do housework, its just that he doesn't always see the things that need to be done or plan housework in the way that I plan housework. I had just assumed that we would naturally, and without discussing it, each do 50%. But men generally don't understand the unspoken desires of their wives. So now I've learned to ask and involve him in my housework planning and even though it isn't a perfect 50-50 split, and probably won't ever be, I am happy with the way that we share things.

Our first child is due in eight weeks (!) and we plan to share child-caring responsibilities, but I know that it won't work well unless we both communicate our needs very clearly.

I don't think that you were on some other planet about sharing responsibilities. However, many boys do not grow up seeing their fathers do the housework. Consequently, they think its not their job or have a hard time seeing it split between two parties. Girls, on the other hand, are often taught domestic responsibilities by their mothers. I hope to teach my future children, of both sexes, about domestic responsibilities.

As far as who works and who stays at home, I don't think that there should be any hard and fast rules, even when it comes to comparing the potential or actual income of each parent. I think that parents need to decide what is best for their family. I don't think that it is more important for the woman to be at home. I think that it is very important for children to spend a lot of time with both parents - I've never liked the women-are-more-nurturing argument. As a child, my mother lived in a city several hours away, while my dad worked full time and took care of us. I wish I had more time with my mom, but I was very grateful for lots of time with dad. Sorry for the long and rambley comment.

Alexandra said...

Ok, (A), Court and Nancy, I loved your posts. Court, I love that you raised this topic. And Nancy, I love love love what you said about communication. Especially since things change in a relationship all the time, so even if you go in with a certain set of expectations, the conditions are changing constantly and if you aren't communicating, it's so easy to be on totally different pages! Lol, "men generally dont understand the unspoken desires of their wives."

(B) I am so fascinated by this topic, in large part because it isn't an easily constructed dichotomy - woman at home, man at work, or vice versa. I believe that it is one of those topics that underscores the significance of personal revelation -- no general rule can be applied to the dynamics of every family, except to say that children need their parents. My patriarchal blessing speaks of my spouse and I having children and that "together [my husband and I will] care for and nurture" them; "together" being the key word. Saying that, I have no idea what that means except that I expect that raising our children will be a joint venture - and not because I must stand for my rights as an emacipated woman, but because I expect that my husband will value my work and, more important, love and want to be with our children, haha.

Also, and I think this is key, I think we miss the point if we talk about division of duties in terms of gender emancipation -- like, my husband saying, "Honey, I sympathize with the institutional and cultural repression of women throughout most of history, how bout I do the laundry?" Lol, instead, I think the particularities that are often focused on - dividing household chores, dividing childcare etc - are particularities that stem from the the main issue: determing and communicating the priorities of a man and a woman united as husband and wife. In other words, if my husband and I see his work and my work as vital to the happiness of our family, then clearly we're going to figure out what that logistically means, not because I'm a woman and he's a man, but because we're both working toward the same goal together, and if that means one of us does particular chores or tends the children a majority of the time - great, because these particular divisions are evidence of what we're working toward together.

So, I would ask this question:

Based on either scripture or prophetic counsel, are there qualities in women as women that determine our responsibilities as mothers (whether we should be home, etc) Going back a step, are there qualities that are inherently "female qualities"? Is there evidence either for or against Nancy's beloved "women-are-more-nurturing" argument? If so, how does that affect our responsibilities as mothers?

Courtney said...

Yes, I laughed out loud, too, a little Nancy when you said "men generally don't understand the unspoken desires of their wives." So true!

I forgot I wanted to write about one other thing concerning this (could I ramble on any more about this?). A few weeks ago I was feeling sad because I got an email about this internship to be a teacher in this charter school in Boston. I thought it would be so cool to do that when I graduated, but, alas, I am tied down to Provo by a little someone named Sam. Not that I am sad about being with Sam-- I just felt limited in what I could do. I've expressed to him how I would love for him to work 3 days a week and for me to work 3 days a week. The problem being that it is harder to progress, career-wise when you are only part-time. After I got the email, I expressed my frustrations to Sam-- that I felt I couldn't expand in my career. And I think he was shocked! He was under the impression that I could-- I could get an internship and he would come with me. (okay, really, the Boston thing isn't very plausible right now.) So, there's just a little tid bit of why I love my husband. :) (And the cheese rolls forth . . . )But really, I am so glad I was born in the late 20th century so that my husband does value my career, brain, education, goals, desires, etc.

I agree with what you both said. For what I think will work for our family (and obviously, this is very open to change) I do plan on staying home with our kids. However, I also plan to have a thriving freelance editing business, meaning Sam will have to accommodate his schedule if need be. I think it is much more important to have a mother who is sane and works than a mother who stays home but hates her life. So, why does the church state the a woman's place is in the home-- no questions asked?

I feel torn about whether women are inherently more nurturing. I think women tend to be more nurturing, but this may be due to cultural influences. And I know men can be incredibly nurturing.

I wonder how this all effects the whole subject concerning men "presiding in the home." Maybe that's an entirely different can of worms.

And one last thing: Nancy, you are so right. Communication is key. My husband and I are still figuring out the balance of housework. Sam rarely thinks to do the things that I am secretly stewing about-- and he would do it in a heartbeat if I just asked. Oh, my silly tendency to stew about things . . .

Nancy, do you know what you are having? Did you already say in another post/comment?

Nancy said...

I am having a girl!

Personally, I do not think that there are differences between men and women that extend beyond physiology. Yes, men and women are brought up in different ways, but are we really different? Are we spiritually different?

I don't have the references to hand, but in the church we are taught that our maleness or femaleness was a key (?) part of our pre-mortal selves. But I really don't know what that means. I suspect that in a future life, we will get to know, but that the answer to this question won't be anything like what we expect it to be. I feel that nurturing, domestic responsibilities and the like will not be part of the answer. But I don't really know what will be. Thoughts?

Emma said...

I don't think a clean 50-50 split in housework is as important as splitting work equably. This will probably mean different things to different couples at different times. However, the idea of sharing chores equally is not very radical, and I'm surprised Courtney's statement got the reaction it did. I mean... seriously?

Nancy, I too will be incredibly interested to know about what genders mean from an eternal perspective. I don't think that "femaleness" really relates to caring or nurturing, especially since it's pretty clear that both men and women are responsible for raising and nurturing their families.

The odd thing about gender is that it seems so arbitrary - 50% of humans are male, and 50% are female. You have to be one or the other. And there's such a broad spectrum of differences among members of each gender, and such a large amount of overlap between both genders. And yet, the difference between them must be important; for example, no matter what your attributes as a female, you can't hold the priesthood, and no matter your attributes as a male you can. Maleness - whatever essential characteristics that encompasses - is the essential attribute in that case. (Not saying that's wrong, just that it must be so important - and yet it's hard with our limited understanding to see why!)

It seems that bearing children must be part of the "gender mission" of women - otherwise, why demarcate between genders with physiological differences? - but I can't believe that that's the only facet of it.

Courtney said...

Yes, I think you're right Nancy (and Emma too). I don't imagine it can just come down to women being more sensitive or something. Like nearly everything, it seems, there is so much more to the picture than we are seeing.
I think women do tend to be more nurturing and sensitive, but that is not 100% true, and I think lots of that comes from culture, family influences, etc. But, not all of it comes from that. I think some of our typically male or typically female characteristics are innate, and it is interesting that they tend to fall to one gender or the other (again, I know it often does not happen this way, but generally speaking).
But, those tendencies or characteristics, I think, don't really have to do with our spiritual destinies or importance. There has to be something else-- or like you said Emma-- wouldn't the priesthood be distributed among those characteristic lines? (though admittedly harder to say who gets it and who doesn't.)
And like you said, giving birth is definitely an ordinance in which only women can participate-- I think this is another thing which we don't fully understand how powerful it is (to deliver a child). And 100% decided on gender.

(So, I basically just repeated everything all of you said. Sorry.)

Emma said...

Re: women being nurturing...

I was thinking more about this. Perhaps it's not that women are necessarily innately more nurturing/caring/etc. than men, but that these are characteristics that women have been called to develop? Just like being a worthy and effective priesthood holder does not, I think, come naturally - but it's a trait that men who do hold the priesthood have a responsibility to gain.

Just a thought!

Nancy said...

Emma - interesting thought. Though in the church we are often taught that our greatest callings in life are as parents and spouses. Surely to fulfil these callings, both men and women need to be nurturing. Men need to be worthy to hold their priesthood, but women are held to the same moral standards. Surely when church leaders talk about `worthiness to hold the priesthood' , worthiness equals `temple worthiness'. I'm really interested in this question. Any more thoughts?

Emma said...

Good point, Nancy. I thought more about what you said, and here's my refined thought:

I think you're right, that it is absolutely essential that both men and women nurture their families, and that both are temple-worthy. But even though women are held to the same standards of worthiness in order to receive the blessings of the priesthood, there's a difference in that men have the responsibility of actually wielding priesthood authority. That is, although both genders enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, men have the onus of being the agent or catalyst for these blessings.

Similarly, no matter how wonderful a parent a man might be, he can't actually give birth. Women have the responsibility of being the active agent in that case.

Now, what the full significance - if any - of this difference is, I can't say. Also, it occurs to me that although a man must undergo the proper ordinances and be worthy in order to exercise the his priesthood, most women have the capability of bearing children. I'm gonna have to let that percolate for awhile, along with everyone's comments - you guys have some great insights, and this is such an interesting topic! Important, too.

Emma said...

Also, I just wanted to point out that nowhere in the Proclamation on the Family does it say that mothers have a responsibility to stay home with their children. The text is:

Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

Some people may interpret this as a calling to stay at home, but by no stretch of the imagination do I think that the Proclamation implies that this is always the case.

There was a great Women's Conference talk a few years ago by a General Authority who discussed his wife's decision to work outside the home. He went out of his way to say that his family's choice was NOT based on financial need. Rather, his wife felt that her development as an individual and as a mother would be more enhanced by continuing her career than by staying at home. It was a good talk, I'll try to find it.

Nancy said...

Emma - Good point - I'd love to get the reference for that talk.

Courtney said...

Emma-- thanks for pointing that out (about the Proclamation).

One thing I have wondered is what you brought up (I think). Every woman can have children, but not every man can hold the priesthood. But looking at it the other way, every man, if he is worthy, can hold the priesthood. But, not all women can have children (fertility, marriage, etc). But, like women who are infertile, some men who have lived have not even had the opportunity to hold the priesthood-- even if they were worthy.

I guess the thing is that, in the end (eternities), every man will have the opportunity to hold the priesthood and every woman will be able to have a child. But, that doesn't address the worthiness vs. just nature aspect of it. I guess it would be odd (and awfully telling that the church was true?) if you had to be worthy to have child. Maybe it would have stunted the world's population growth. I don't know how that could have worked. It's very interesting to think about.

hmmm . . . did that even make sense?

Audrey said...

I am very behind, so I’m going to try and catch up really quick without going on and on forever.

Before I was just going to say that I was getting the impression that everyone was discounting the quality of being nurturing. That the true mission of women must include so much more than just being nurturing, where I think nurturing is one of the most remarkable things a person can do – really. It was seeming like nurturing was equated with domesticity, when they are worlds apart. I consider myself a nurturing person, but I am barely domestic, much less so than my husband. He is a much better cleaner, cook, etc. Nurturing applies to everything. I think the main job of the best leaders is to nurture qualities of greatness in the people they lead. What could be better than taking a tiny, natural-man, needs driven baby and helping them become a principled, loving, faithful adult, I mean isn’t that what the gospel does? So anyway, I just really want to stand up for the quality of being nurturing. I think this is one of the most important, divine qualities of the eternities, not just some small stereotypical part of womanhood here on earth.

Also, I don’t think I could ever be convinced that women are not inherently more nurturing than men. Of course, there are women that are less and men that are very; but overall, both my daily life and my studies in psychology have shown me that this is a quality inherent in women more so than in men. And I believe this is due to nature rather than societal nurture. I think mainstream society, mainstream culture, teaches women to be anything but nurturing, and most parents I know try to teach all their children, both male and female, to be sensitive and nurturing.

Don’t get me wrong though, I think men can and must also be nurturing. As you all have said, they also need to nurture and teach their children, it is just primarily the quality and responsibility of women.

I’m not sure if I think that the church teaches that women must stay home with their children, but personally I am so grateful that my mom did. And as a soon to be parent, I can’t imagine anyone else (besides Patrick) raising my children. My sister-in-law (who has left the church) has a 6-month-old and works full time. Her mother-in-law watches Maxx (I know, two x’s, go figure, anyway…) while Lorielle works. Though Lorielle was never planning on being a stay-at-home mom, now that she has Maxx she has started to really want to stay home with him. She wants to teach him and raise him and be there for his first everything. But her husband postponed his education and now is behind. He doesn’t make enough money for her to stay home, and it is causing some minor problems in their marriage. And the whole situation is a little interesting to me – it seems that there are a lot of grandma-age women raising their grandchildren while the mothers work. So why is it that staying home is stifling, or “not-enough” for a 20s and 30s age woman, but not for a 50s and 60s age woman?

Anyway, that is sort of a tangent. But though I don’t think there is any hard and fast rules about women staying home either, to me there seems to be something innately true about a mother staying home and raising her children and husband working full time and providing for the family. I remember one of Courtney’s posts linked to a post where a woman discussed how she wanted a career and her husband wanted to stay home and raise their kids. They lived with that situation for a while, and though everything seemed to be working fine, their marriage started to fall apart. When they switched – she stayed home and he worked – their marriage improved. This may be an extreme example, but something rang true to me.

I guess I just I just wish that today’s culture didn’t paint the “stay at home mom” as a stifled, unambitious, craft-loving woman. Patrick tells me that he’s jealous that I will be home with the kids during the days, but he believes it’s his job to provide, and looks forward to all the nights and weekends he will have with them. I am so grateful that I will be able to stay home with my kids. So so grateful, really. Sure, I’m nervous about getting bored or feeling stifled. I’m sure there are a lot of mind-numbing times as a “stay-at-home” mom, but I’m also sure that there are a lot of mind-numbing times in a full-time career. I think in both situations (working, staying home) it takes a lot of effort to make sure you are learning and using your mind and your talents. I think a lot of stay-at-home moms get in a rut where they aren’t doing anything to better themselves, and then they blame it on the fact that they aren’t pursuing a career. But full-time work can be the same. It takes a lot of effort to better yourself and progress in your career. A lot of men fall into a rut in their careers.

One final thing, and this is kind of a sidenote – I almost hate the term “stay-at-home mom”. I don’t think there has to be anything stay-home-y about it. Obviously you are not leaving to go to an office all day, and sure, you probably do spend a lot of time at home. But I think that term has such negative connotations. The home seems to become this jail or something, like the mom and her kids are having nothing to do with the outside world. I think that the best thing a mom can do is be out and about – serving, learning, etc. and bring her children along with her. They will learn so much from the experiences. I don’t think raising kids has to be a lot about staying home having the kids play with “Discovery Toys” and watching “Baby Einstein”. I don't know if this came out as I meant it to... oh well.

Those are my way-too-long and boring thoughts. I'm sorry to backtrack, life has just been a little crazy and I didn't have a chance to post when I wanted to, a few days ago. I think these new questions about priesthood/childbirth are fascinating - I'll have to think about them more.

Courtney said...

Okay, I have like .4 seconds because Sam has to do homework, and somehow that takes priority over blogging. :) Anyway, Audrey, I really agree with what you said. One of my goals as a mom will be to teach my children as much as I can, which will mean doing active things, not just sitting around watching my kids play with toys. I hope that will bring more meaning and purpose to my role as a mother, because I do imagine I will feel a little stifled, as you put it. But, I really agree that those same feelings can come from a career. What you said really rang true to me, which I appreciate, because I forget sometimes and become angry and too feministic, etc. So . . . anyway. Thanks Aud, I really liked what you said.

Alexandra said...

Aud, thanks for your post. I apologize if it seemed like I was dismissing the significance of being nurturing, for me the question is more an issue of how we understand the roles of mothers and fathers without glibly repeating "women are more nurturing," as though that somehow answered all the questions that arise with getting married and having children. I guess the answer to these questions is the point I departed from in the first place, that it is different for each family.

I still wonder what qualities I possess - or as Emma pointed out, I ought to develop - as a woman that inform my calling as a mother. As quoted from the Proclamation, being nurturing is one of those qualities -- and I'm glad you defended it as a divine quality. And, what you wrote was perfect: it was a rejection of a stereotypical reading of being nuturing and so a revival of its significance. Sorry if it seemed like I was perpetuating that stereotype, and thanks again for your post!

Monica said...

Even though this comes extremely late, I really want to comment on this post because it is something that is presently so close to my heart. I am already overdue with my first child and these questions constantly fill my mind as I prepare for motherhood.

Something that I wanted to reiterate from the original post was the teacher's comment that women have a tendency to want everything at once - I know that this is true for me, and coming to understand that I have time to accomplish the things that I want to do and that everything has its season is something that has been very trying for me. In particular, it has been hard for me to realize that I have ample time to pursue my career goals, but there is only so much time when I can have children, something I would rather do sooner than later.

I think part of this trial for me has been my desire to want things for myself, all at once, when the gospel isn't centered around that principle. Both the priesthood and the raising and nuturing of children are based on serving others, and give us an opportunity to become more like our Father in Heaven, by giving us the opportunity to serve in capacities that we would not be able to otherwise.

I think too often women like us, being raised in the times that we have been, with so many opportunities open to us, don't really understand the joy and eternal nature of having and raising children until we have them ourselves. Even now, the birth of my baby boy is such an abstract idea to me - despite the fact that he is quite the little kickboxer and reminds me of his presence day in and day out.

Now, that does not mean that I believe that we should all drop everything we are doing the moment we become mothers. I don't think that trying to reconcile our career goals and family goals into the same package is nearly as important as remembering that the most important and eternal thing in our lives are/will be our husbands and children. As long as that remains our clear first priority in both thought and action, then we are on the right path.

That said, it is important to remember that each of us has talents that Heavenly Father wants us to use for the building up of the kingdom and the enrichment of the lives of those around us. For instance, my patriarchal blessing states that I will have a vocation or profession that will bring blessings into my life and to my family. We are bright, intellectual, ambitious women and I believe that we have a responsibility to use our talents to the best of our ability both in and out of the home. As Emma said, the Proclamation does not say that women have to stay at home, but we do have to learn to develop the qualities that will best enable us to be the best mothers that we can, but we shouldn't give up or bury our other talents to accomplish that. The more that we are personally enriched, the better mothers we can be. We just need to remember that we have time to do the things that will make our lives fulfilling - that we don't need to have everything at once (at least, I need to remember that).

This is of course, coming from someone who's working in a field were it has traditionally been pretty rare for even men to have children, and if they do have children, it is usually one or two. Of course, there are anomalies, and the younger generation is changing this, but largely I feel the priority is still being a scholar, and not so much being a parent.

Along somewhat similar lines, I went to a conference while getting a master's degree last year that was entitled "Women in Academia." Something that really struck me was a comment and story by one of the panelists, a lawyer, who said that having children is an issue that women have to face as they pursue a career in academia. She said that while no choice is necessarily better than any other, a woman who wants children has to decide what type of mother she wants to be, whether she wants to be there when her children are little, or not, etc. She herself chose to be primarily at home with her young son. She worked only a couple of days a week, and devoted the rest of her time to her family. She related an experience where she decided to participate in an academic conference, something she had not done since the birth of her son. After she arrived, however, she received news that her son was sick with a fever. During the night her son's fever spiked and she immediately flew home to take care of him. She said that she knew that his father and grandparents were there to take care of him and that they were very capable, but in her mind that did not alleviate her need as a mother to be there with him at that moment to care for him. She said that was the type of mother she was.

President Hinckley said:
You have nothing in this world more precious than your children. When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out. It will not be the money you have made. It will not be the cars you have owned. It will not be the large house in which you live. The searing question that will cross your mind again and again will be, How well have my children done?

This applies to men and women alike. I think that as long as we remember our eternal priorities and seek the counsel of our Heavenly Father in all we do, then we will be able to have the family situation that is best for us and our families, whatever that entails.

I'm so grateful for my husband. He is very much the traditionalist in terms of family life, but he loves me and he supports me in whatever I choose to do and when we make our decisions based on prayer and the guidance of the Spirit, we always agree, even when the final decision is difficult for one of us or the other to initially accept. As long as we remember that we are in a partnership with our Heavenly Father, and we look to him for guidance, we can't go wrong. Lately, I feel that the sacrifice has been entirely my husband's as he's followed me to a place he hates so that I can pursue my education, yet I know that my opportunities to sacrifice will increase exponentially as I bring our little one into the world.

Sorry that this is just rambling on and on - if anyone needs to hear this stuff it is probably me! One last thought - a quote from one LDS mother as quoted in Jeffrey R. Holland's talk "Because She is a Mother" (a really great talk if anyone's interested):
Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.

Courtney said...

Monica, that was an awesome comment. It reminded me of this post I read on a blog once. It was kind of a tongue-in-cheek post about a fake sacrament meeting addressed to men. It was like, "we know it is hard for you to find purpose in your careers even though you know they are temporary. We know you find it hard to understand why your wives are allowed to be mothers, an eternal profession, and you are encouraged to provide the temporal needs for your family. You need eternal perspective to make your daily activities seem worthwhile." etc. It was kind of funny-- like women can experience in church when talking about the priesthood and other things. Anyway, I thought about that literally-- how blessed we are as women to have our key role, as mothers, to be an eternal profession. Obviously dads are parents too, but mothers tend to play a larger role in their children's lives. Anyway. I hope that made sense. It just made me think of that. I'll post a link if I can find it again.