The Gospel teaches moderation in all things. Too much of a good thing is always bad for you, and there is nothing better or worse for you than… Motherhood! Say what? Before the townspeople grab their pitchforks and threaten to burn me at the stake for posting propaganda critical of moms on this sacred day of days, please hear me out- then decide if you’ve wasted another Mother’s Day at the Mormon Third Eye. For the record, all past MTE Mother’s Day posts have worshipped women in this role:
In a galaxy far, far, away, when I served as a bishop, simply as a natural byproduct of getting to know the ward families, I was given unprecedented access into how they live the gospel. It was then I noticed a subtle, slightly sinister trend sneaking into too many homes; married moms acting like single moms. Some moms were gradually assuming total control over their families and slowly marginalizing their husband’s divine mandate to “preside over their families in love and righteousness.”
Before we judge too much motherhood too harshly, we must realize that several circumstances beyond a mother’s control contribute to the problem. We have priesthood brethren too preoccupied with careers and hobbies to auction off the right amount of time and attention to be “equal partners” with their wives in leading and teaching the gospel among their families. For busy dads, it is too temptingly convenient to just turn over running all aspects of family life to their spouse. Why? Because our wives are so capable, organized, and qualified. It is no secret that when it comes to raising families, our wives are our better halves. It would be much more efficient to just let our wives run everything. Combine this with moms wielding yearning, earnest hearts striving to raise a righteous posterity, and it would seem only natural for them to fill the spiritual vacuum created by nominally present but decidedly deadbeat dads.
However, God is not necessarily efficient. He is kind and loving and wants the best for us priesthood brethren, even if it means learning through the challenges of balancing worthy competing interests to follow His “divine design” and assume our responsibilities at home. If God was efficient, only the smart, bright and organized would be leading congregations, and only clever conversationalists would be teaching Sunday School. He has designed life, however, as a test to face and overcome challenges, and that includes the test of fatherhood. Mothers who take over households rob their eternal mates of critical learning experiences.
I am blessed with a wife who routinely prodded me to act like a father. Probably against her best judgment, she often waited for me to call the kids together for scripture reading and family prayers, and pushed me to read them bedtime stories and personally interview them on Sunday afternoons. This continued even during my short span of double duty working during the day and enduring graduate school at night. I am so grateful that she did not take the easy road and take care of all this herself.