Sometimes it is easy to feel that I was born in the wrong time period. I feel that my personality was made for reading books, wandering fields, wearing pretty dresses, and playing the piano. I would have made an excellent Bennett sister.

But I keep thinking about a conversation I had with some of my girlfriends a few weeks ago. One friend wants to be a doctor, the other two of us have dreams of getting our PHD's. We talked about how we want all of these things, but that we also want a family. How do you balance kids and education? My friend Katie had a good point. She said something like, "To me, we live in the first time period ever on this earth where women have the same opportunities as men. I can't pretend that I wasn't born during this time for nothing."

I was inspired by that, and still am. I want kids. A whole house full. But I also can't help but think that I can do anything I want to do - kids or not.

Do any of you struggle with the same thoughts? It is so frustrating/liberating.


Ana* said...

I absolutely do. Sometimes I feel as if I would have to choose between one thing or the other; or that if I try to do both, I might fail at being a good mother or a good intellectual because both things take so much time and effort. The thought can be liberating and frustrating just like you said.

Annie said...

Ouch! I have got absolutely the same thoughts! Every day! I have lots of posts about this, too.

Why can't we do everything at the same time?

I have always imagined myself as a working woman. Now, I am married and there is nothing I want more than children. I would love to cook them every day, no nannies and so on ... And it is impossible to do it all if you have a real job. So, I have a solution! I love writing and I would love to become one, too. It would solve all the problems as I could work at home.

A lot of thinking to do though! :)

Mallory Camille said...

I've struggled with these thoughts for a long time until I realized that it is possible to do both. There is so much time! It might not work out in the exact time period I plan but it will happen. And the remarkable thing that I've noticed since having my first child is that I'm even more inspired to pursue my passions, because she inspires me every day to better myself. I may not have time to get a P.H.D. in the next few years, but I'm still advancing and educating myself the best I can.
Of course, my little family is my biggest focus but it doesn't mean my other passions and dreams have to die out, not in the least.
I think it's a very personal matter for women. We all make different choices based on our personal limits and family situations but you shouldn't worry about having to make huge choices between your family and education. They can both progress beautifully and simultaneously.

Brittany said...

Yessir. My own conflict began a couple of years ago when I read The Feminine Mystique. And it's still going! I'm in a Women's Lit/Studies class right now, and it's literally changing my life. We talk about what it means to be a woman and the issues of femininity in the world and femininity in the church.

It's interesting to have such conflicting dreams--I hate that they are conflicting, actually. I'm like you; I have such big ideas for myself. But I am so aware of the joy/necessity/fulfillment of a family. Deep down, it's what I want most--people to share my big ideas and plans with.

For a while, I just kept telling myself that I would do both. I would do both and it would be fine. But the realist in me knows that doing both how I want to do them means that I can't have both at the same time.

So basically, what I'm saying with all of this is that I don't know yet. But, like your friend, I am really thankful I was born now. Because my inner feminist (who is getting louder by the day) wouldn't have been able to take the lack of choice. It's not that reading and sewing and child-teaching are bad (in fact I can't wait to do that all), but I just need to be able to choose, you know? Mainly, I just take comfort in the fact that my God wants me to be happy and full. He'll lead me to and allow me to do the things that are right for me.

Clearly this is my passion. Women. Sorry for the exposition!

Mallory Camille said...

I have to say I've never been happier with the decision I made to be a full time mom. It is the most fulfilling job I could have imagined. The joy I feel is incomparable.

Krystal. said...

I agree with you, sometimes I feel like I belong in a different time period. I love the 1940's...

Christa said...

I think every wonman struggles with this...because we're the one who are effected the most when we start families. When I found out I was pregnant I remember feeling so depressed. I wasn't ready for kids, I had so much I still wanted to do...I didn't think it would be possible with Autumn. How would I be able to work? Build a clientel? Continute my education? But it all works out. We are so blessed to be able to be mothers, we are also blessed to be alive in this time where we have so many wonderful opportunities. Having children doesn't stop you from doing the things you want to do...it just slows your process a little. I still stress about what I'm going to do when I have another one, but I know it will work out!

Kristin said...

Absolutely agree with you! I hate that the world is so full of meaningless busyness, but at the same time, if I were a "Bennett Sister", I'm sure there would also be a very unfulfilled part of myself.- Well said.

Jessica said...

You know that this is my struggle in life. I worked so hard, I can't just give it up! But I don't want to be older and alone with a career either. Decisions--but you made a good step in getting married, so that's neat :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this one. I'm always thinking how awesome it would be to have been in the "Bennet sister" time period.
But then, I wouldn't get to be doing what I love to do.
Art and Photography is my major, being an artist has been taken over by females in the University setting.
Having a family is something I look forward too, and making beautiful art and music together is a main driving force. :)

annie said...

i'm right there with you. despite my love for generations past, i'm so grateful to live in a time where there are options, where there is ability to both love your family and love the work that you do. my husband and i hope to have a family one day, but i also know i want to keep reading, keep writing... and i think that's okay. more than okay. my children may very well thank me for it. here's to recognizing and pursuing passions of all shapes and sizes.

{Rachel} said...

Herein lies the plight of the modern woman.

I completely agree. It's difficult to reconcile between the two. I have to believe that we can, though. While we may be all-too-familiar with the dilemma these contradicting options offer us, I believe that we woman are just that amazing; I absolutely love that quote! That will be on my mirror tomorrow morning.

janis said...

this was so well put, mandy. i feel exactly the same pull - imagining & dreaming about what our children will look like... but then also longing for a career that i am a passionate about, and am challenged by. i'm a year away from finishing my education degree, but i don't really feel it's what i want long term. can i pursue graduate studies with little ones? maybe. we'll see what happens...

i love what your friend said - a very insightful, wise comment.

7upkels said...

I used to really be conflicted with this, but now I'm not so much. I hope to do all I can do with my life, but I know that what will always be most important will be my family. As long as that comes first, I do believe everything will fall into place, and you will be directed in the choices you should make concerning careers, and job opportunities, and everything...

This post also reminded me of a video I saw earlier this week:


Watch it. So cute.

Michelle said...

I always say that I would've loved being born in Britain in the 1700s---if I was part of the upperclass.

But then again, we have so many perks of modern day- I still get to read all the best books and travel around with friends, etc. And without the intense pressure of being married early/ being a burden.

She Loves To Make said...

I can totally see what you mean. I think there's a time and season for everything!
I'm currently reading Pride and Prejudice :) Love Elizabeth.

Autumn said...

I struggle with this too. We want it all and starting a family is never really convenient financially...or time-wise. I want to start my masters soon because I am worried my options will be gone once I start a family. Some people do both gracefully, but you never know until you have to do it....

emmakaren said...

I just want to be Jane and be swept away by Charles.... But I'm only 18 so the full realization of all I want to do hasn't quite hit me yet. However, I do often feel like I was born in the wrong time period. :)

Julie Carol Standley said...

I have to say im so thankful for my mothers decision to be a full time mom. that being said... i also look at my sister who's husband passed away at a very young age, leaving her with 3 kids. and she not only had a bachelors but a masters to fall back on.

Im always tossing the idea back and forth.. what will i? what should i do? i dont know... i could honestly ramble on this subject all day. (as my husband very well knows) but.. i think everyones situation is different. so as cliche as it sounds. you have to listen to your heart. And mines been telling me since elementary school that i wanted to be a mom when i grew up. while the other kids hearts were shouting... doctor or a teacher etc.

I guess the beauty is ... as a mom i can do it all! Doctor them.. teach them.. haha now if i could just get pregnant. Ha well.... thats an entirely a new subject. ;)

Any who i'm running a giveaway all weekend. be sure to go check it out:


Katie Christine said...

This is so true, Mandy. I think we idealize the past sometime. Hindsight is a tricky tool. Have you ever thought of how frustrating it would have been to have lived under ALL of those societal restrictions? Day in and day out?
That being said, being able to do anything sometimes makes it all the more beautiful when people do traditional things.
I guess we live in a time where you can choose traditional or contemporary, and in some ways you can't go wrong. "Anything goes" is a nice time to be in.
Is that a picture of Joanna Newsom? i am obsessed with her, and actually have been listening to one of her songs on repeat all morning.

kels said...

Hey Mandy,
My friends and I write a blog where this is one of the main topics-- we actually just put out an invite for stories about finding the balance you're refering to! It's something we talk about and think about all the time. I'm getting my masters and going on to get my JD, while married, and the timing of when to have children has been... well, something that stresses me out really. It's a big deal! But I'm confident we can get personal direction on that, and my feeling is that the answer will be very unique for each of us. Anyway we'd love to hear from you over at:

Also, these posts and especially the comment dialogue on them were really relevant/insightful:




kels said...

Okay I also wanted to share these gems:
Knowing, then, that marriage and family come first, what should we think about education and careers? Remember—the issue is not marriage or education; the issue is marriage and education. . . It has been said that before becoming somebody’s wife, before becoming somebody’s mother, become somebody.
--Sister Marie Hafen

For women, the important ingredients for happiness are to forge an identity, serve the Lord, get an education, develop your talents, serve your family, and if possible to have a family of your own. However, you cannot do all these things well at the same time. You cannot be a 100-percent wife, a 100-percent mother, a 100-percent Church worker, a 100-percent career person, and a 100-percent public-service person at the same time. How can all of these roles be coordinated? I suggest that you can have it sequentially. Sequentially is a big word meaning to do things one at a time at different times. I hope you acquire all of the knowledge you can. Become as skillful as you can, but not exclusively in new careers at the expense of the primary ones, or you may find that you have missed one of the great opportunities of your lives.
--President James E. Faust

I feel really strongly that we can each find that balance in our life, and that almost undoubtedly it will be different for each of us. Sadly, this often drives LDS women apart rather than bringing them together. There is a lot of judgement that goes around, and it seems that many women feel that if another woman has a different lifestyle that is right for her, it is a personal attack on their lifestyle. Hard stuff. I hope that by "airing this out" we sisters can be more supportive and kind to each other, encouraging each other to make the choice that is right for our family, even if it is different than our own. We don't need to feel threatened by each other :)

Paula M. Nielson said...

I feel like there is a "time and a season" for all things. My kids are getting older (10, 8, 4 yr. old twins). In fact, the youngest twins will go to kindergarten next fall. I have ran a small business since my oldest was one year old. It is more like a "hobby" but still takes my time. I feel like every mother needs an "outlet." Someway to still feel like they are part of the world and now that my youngest are going to kindergarten, there is going to be more and more time to spend on me. All of the sudden I am looking at all the time I am going to have. Perhaps I will go back to teaching school, or go back to school or maybe I will spend the day at the spa! ha!
What I am trying to say, is you may not be able to do it all when they are "little" but all of a sudden at a blink of an eye, they are very self-sufficient and headed to school. It happens VERY fast. You will have much more time once you get them all in school. That's my opinion anyway.