Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Necessity of a Mother AND a Father.

This past week, I've basically been a single mother while my husband has been out of the country.

I've been solely responsible to get my 6 kids up, awake, fed, dressed, off to school, get homework done (AND IN backpacks!), change diapers, attend the science fair and choir concerts and scout activity, bathe them, get them to bed, read scriptures, listen to their problems and their whining, break up fights, protect and lock up the house and remember every other thing I'm supposed to do as a mom (cooking, cleaning, pay the bills, piano lessons...the usual).

It's given me time and perspective to ponder and wonder how in the world single moms do-it-all every day. It has also made me realize why exactly, the design of the family is to have a mother AND a father in the home, raising children together (hopefully in love and righteousness).

I truly believe that there are certain aspects of life that can only be given to a child by a father, and some can only be attained from a mother. In our church handbook it explains: “The nature of male and female spirits is such that they complete each other. Men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation.” Dallin H. Oaks supports this explaining:
"Men and women spirits “complete each other” because they are different, and they “progress together toward exaltation” by, among other things, honoring those eternal, created differences. Thus, the family proclamation states: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. 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.
We rejoice in the distinctive and mutually supportive roles of men and women in God’s plan. Men and women are to be different, yet they are inseparably bound together in a mutually supportive relationship to accomplish God’s plan."
I know there is a lot of debate and cultural changes happening in our world right now. Co-habitation, same-gender unions, multiple children from different fathers, divorce, etc. To me, this is a really sad state of affairs. It is of utmost importance for children to be raised by a loving father and mother, together. In that same talk by Elder Oaks, he quotes Julie B. Beck, saying:
“There are media messages everywhere that are anti-family, and our young people are very connected with media. … Increasingly, our youth are seeing no reason to form a family or get married in spite of all the teaching you give them. They are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.”
Truly, Satan is working extra hard on families--beginning with trying to convince those who have not yet embarked upon starting a family that it is not important--it's just a piece of paper--live together and see if it works--just have kids and don't get married. This not only affects our families, but it is obvious (at least to me), that this is a major reason as to why our society is in such turmoil--economically and socially--worldwide. President Spencer W. Kimball said many years ago: “We know that when things go wrong in the family, things go wrong in every other institution in society.

I love "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Consider this section (some of which has already been mentioned):
"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. 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. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."
Two very important gender-specific roles. I don't think it can be stated any clearer.

Do you suppose that God, our Father in Heaven, would subject us to "rules" that He wasn't also following? I don't think so. Don't you think that there would need to be a nurturing role in our pre-mortal existence to help guide us lovingly in a way that only a mother can? I do. A song I really love also points to the importance of a father and a mother, even in Heaven. In our hymn book, hymn #292, "O My Father" offers the simple beauty of conversing with our Father about our true origin. I've added bold font to emphasize the discussion of our Mother:

  1. 1. O my Father, thou that dwellest
    In the high and glorious place,
    When shall I regain thy presence
    And again behold thy face?
    In thy holy habitation,
    Did my spirit once reside?
    In my first primeval childhood
    Was I nurtured near thy side?
  2. 2. For a wise and glorious purpose
    Thou hast placed me here on earth
    And withheld the recollection
    Of my former friends and birth;
    Yet ofttimes a secret something
    Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
    And I felt that I had wandered
    From a more exalted sphere.
  3. 3. I had learned to call thee Father,
    Thru thy Spirit from on high,
    But, until the key of knowledge
    Was restored, I knew not why.
    In the heav'ns are parents single?
    No, the thought makes reason stare!
    Truth is reason; truth eternal
    Tells me I've a mother there.
  4. 4. When I leave this frail existence,
    When I lay this mortal by,
    Father, Mother, may I meet you
    In your royal courts on high?
    Then, at length, when I've completed
    All you sent me forth to do,
    With your mutual approbation
    Let me come and dwell with you.
This is such a tender song and I love the words and thoughtfulness that express such glorious truths.

My heart absolutely aches for dear friends of mine who find themselves without the support of a spouse--either from death, divorce or addiction of any kind. This often results in one person having to carry the weight of two alone, or leaning on the support of other family members (if available). Sometimes we try to live as we should and things still happen that are beyond our control. But, I also know that the atonement will make up for these unfair disadvantages and we will be blessed for our diligence in seeking righteousness.

I know we are all in unique and individual circumstances, but we can all similarly strive to improve ourselves and our lives. Step up to your gender-specific role and do what is best for your family. The "world" tells us that things of God or religion are not important and that those who believe are foolish. I think perhaps the opposite is true. It may not be easy and we may be persecuted for standing our ground and not agreeing with what is popular. But, I wouldn't trade being on the Lord's side for the world--literally.

Truth is truth even if no one believes it. Lies are lies even if everyone believes them. 

© Wendy 2013


  1. I recently stumbled upon your blog (don't remember how) and am so grateful that I did! This post hits me really hard. I am currently pregnant with our first child, and my husband has a chronic illness. For the last month he's been relapsing, which leaves me to do everything that needs to get done around our home. For the past few weeks I've been struggling with it, and this post reminds me of the importance of the atonement, and how it CAN make up the difference if I let it. Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings about this.

    1. Marci, thank you for your comment and sharing some of your struggles. You sound like an amazing, patient and faithful woman! I know you can be strengthened through the Atonement. Congrats on your upcoming baby. You really CAN do it--and are!