"Be prepared"--not just for Scouts.
I recently met up with an old friend. I love this woman. She's fantastic. She's the type of woman who has planned her entire life around being a wife and mother, and it's awe inspiring. She has entire file folders full of decorating ideas for her house, things she has been collecting for literally years and years. She bought all the Disney shows when they came out as "Limited Editions", just so her kids could know and appreciate all the classics. She has boxes of recipes, ready at a moment to be used for her family. She is, in all aspects, the perfect wife and mother. There's only one problem. She isn't a wife, or a mother. She is nearing 40, and is single. And she's not pleased about this. As you can imagine. It's been interesting to watch what this woman has done with her life. She studied something in college that would come in extremely handy as a mother, but has virtually no economic value at all. When she graduated, husbandless and childless, well, she was a little stuck, I think. She sort of bounced from menial job to menial job, trying to figure out what to do. She eventually pulled it together and got a decent job with good pay, benefits, etc, but again, it wasn't something on a career track. It was definitely something where she could pull out at any moment, should that family opportunity suddenly arrive. 7 years later, she is finally starting a career. And doing extremely well, I might add. But part of me sort of feels like muttering, "What took you so long?" I also know several women who took similar paths, but they did get the husband and the children. They felt prepared for motherhood (or as prepared as you could be--I mean, can anybody possibly prepare enough for the poop?)but feel ill prepared for anything else. Sometimes they express discontent, and I have asked them, "Well, what did you want to do before you had kids?" The answer, of course, is, "I wanted to have kids." I have also asked women this question, "What DID you do before you had kids?" The answer: "Prepared for a family". Well, they got the kids--now what? I am in no way suggesting that women shouldn't prepare for motherhood and family. I wish I had prepared better in so many ways, and had to learn the hard way some of the lessons that could have been learned easier and under better circumstances. But I think so many women could be better served, especially in the church, if there is a message somewhere that says, "You may not get the family that you want and expect. Then what?", or "You may get the family that you want, but when you need time for youself, what skill will you fall back on that can fulfill you as an individual, separate from your mothering duties?" I'm not even only talking about something specific to earning potential. There are plenty of things that can be fulfilling to a mother beyond her family that may or may not be economically viable. But in my friend's case, economic stability was a crucial factor for her as she struggled to support herself financially. So money, or lack thereof, can definitely be a part of the equation. So I would love to see the motto "Be Prepared" be taught not only to the Scouts, but to the Young Women too. Be prepared, little ladies, for an awesome, exciting, tiring, joyful ride called motherhood. Be prepared, young maidens, for a time when you wonder what there is beyond this wonderful ride, when you want to remember what you liked to do before you entered the land of diapers, car seats, car pools, and ballet lessons. Be prepared, little mommies to be, for a time when you want to follow the Lord's commandments to be sealed to a worthy priesthod holder, but that priesthood holder just isn't showing up, and you are on your own for the forseeable future. And above all, be prepared, O ye daughters of God, to follow His will and stay on your knees when all you have prepared for gets completely shot to hell, and you have no idea what is coming next. Those are the times that will try you the most. And always bring a dry pair of socks.