The most important

The Relief Society in my ward is great. They are always sending emails about things that are coming up. There was a lady who had lived here for a long time, but moved away about a year ago, and was back in town for a visit. The RS decided to do a get together lunch thing, and invited everyone. And I decided to go, even though I don't know half of the women in my RS, and certainly not the one who used to live here. But it was fun, everybody was nice, and I got to know people better. I'm way glad that I went.

Actually, the conversation was very interesting to me. I sat next to a girl in my ward who is a sophomore at BYU, a MESA major (Middle East Studies and Arabic). This was my major before I realized that I couldn't actually teach Arabic K-12 in Utah without a different teaching degree. It was fun for me to talk about where she's at in the program, though.

And then I learned that she and her mom had lived in Kuwait. But not only that, but the other lady on my left had lived in Dubai. And the lady at the other end of the table had lived in Saudi or something. They were all wives of people who worked in the oil business. Interesting. They all had experience with Arabic and Arabic speaking people. That was also interesting.

We had a way interesting conversation that maybe I will blog about later - it was on whether or not we think it's a good idea to hire members of the church as live-in servants when you live abroad. What was so interesting was all of the women had different perspectives based on their actual experiences (they hadn't had live-in servants, but knew people who had). Well, all of the ladies at my end of the table, that is. Mostly it was so neat that these were women who were so well traveled. It was fun to talk about the Middle East with other people who have been there.

But that is not the topic of my blog tonight. As I spoke with this MESA major girl, it was almost like I was looking at myself in the mirror a few years ago. But it felt like quite a few years ago, even though I'm only 23, and have only been graduated from BYU for less than a year. It seems like eons ago since I was a MESA major, trying to figure out how I could use Arabic in my future life.

This girl was doing just that, trying to plan out her life and how her major would affect her future. She wanted to know why I wanted to go into teaching, and I said it was because it didn't conflict as much with my goal of having a family. She hadn't seemed to have given that much thought or value in her decision making process. She later talked about how she wanted to go into xyz if she didn't get married right away, and then zyx if she did, and I just kept thinking, "But...those things won't make you as happy as you think. Being a good wife and having children will make you much happier."

I think you can gain some happiness and satisfaction from an interesting, fulfilling career. But it's not even on the same level as the kind of happiness and satisfaction you get out of having a family. I can't express with words how great it is to be Danny's wife and Jane's mom. I kind of wanted to shake this girl and be like, "But those things don't really matter as much as you think they do. They aren't the things that will really make you happy. They don't matter as much as you're worried they do!"

But obviously you can't tell somebody that. The whole point is that you have to figure it out on your own. The "figuring it out" is the whole point of living on earth.

I was talking about this with Danny, and he said, "Yeah, I felt like that a lot on my mission. It was so frustrating to be like, 'I know what can bring you true happiness, but you don't even care!' " It wasn't quite that bad today; I really think this girl will figure it out eventually. It's so hard when you're single and have no clue what the next semester will bring. It's impossible to plan for the future in concrete ways. I shouldn't assume that planning it would make her life happier. I know that for me, it took a long, long time to truly understand which things matter most, and which things are expendable.

The BYU Alumni magazine had a really interesting article about how moms can use their BYU education at home. I've been really thinking about how this is true for me. It's not like I teach Jane how to speak Arabic or French; she can say, "dugha dugha dugha" and "gagagaga". I'm not "using my Arabic" right now, yet my education was immensely valuable in ways I don't fully understand.

What I do understand is that I am super fortunate to be able to stay home with my baby, soon babies, take care of our home, and be Danny's wife. My education helped me do these things, TONS, but my education goals are NOT the most important ones in my life. My family goals are. This is a huge paradigm shift. Education goals used to be the most important, for like, the past two decades of my life.

But I feel really satisfied that I am in the right place right now, at home. I love my home, and I LOVE my family. Any career comes second to this. Danny says that he thinks that in the Celestial Kingdom, the men will get to all be stay-home dads, too. "But, we have to eat." He tells me that sometimes he's jealous of me. He feels like his day begins when he gets home.

I just don't feel sorry for myself because I'm not making money, or out and about with other adults every day, or teaching, or whatever. I feel happy that I stay home to raise my own kids, and to create a loving home atmosphere. These things matter, and they bring me joy.

So I implore you, if you are an unsatisfied stay at home mom, please remember that what you are doing does matter, in fact, it matters the MOST, and has more potential to make you happy than any other thing you could possibly be doing.

And if you're a single student/working person, please remember that the phase of "me me me" orientation (college, independent single living, etc.) is just that: a phase. It will not last forever. Someday your purpose for getting up in the morning will be tied somehow to your family, and it will bring you joys you never knew.

So don't despair if things don't work out exactly right with your school or your job. They aren't the most important. Your family is, or will be. Or, I guess I should say, your family can, and should be.

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