Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Tribute to the Titus 2 Ladies

I used to have some negative feelings about mothers and motherhood.  I felt very similar to those sentiments expressed by Ceci in her post, The Other Side of the Fence.  It's rather odd, though, that I felt this way because I had (and still have) a fantastic mother who I believe loved (loves) being a mother!  I've always tried to determine where I picked up these attitudes, and still can't quite figure it out.

After I had my first child, I began to realize the true value of mothers and the huge sacrifice they make.  I realized how amazing they are.  I realized that those girls who dropped out of college, or who never even went so that they could marry and start families were often incredibly humble to do God's will and not pursue personal interests.  I was too proud to even want to do that.  The opportunity didn't present itself at that stage of my life, but if it did, I hope I would have chosen the family route, but I'm just not sure I could have done it.  I think the falling in love and romance was an easy thing, but it's the responsibilities (children) that come after, that I wasn't too keen on.

I was very well set on being a stay-at-home mom once children came, so that's what I did.  I felt those children needed me more than anything else.  However, because I had those previously mentioned bad attitudes, it made it more difficult to feel personal value as a stay-at-home mom.

I knew there were women in the world who really, really enjoyed staying home with their kids, so why couldn't I?  I started looking into LDS literature on the topic of mothering, but just found all the reasons I should have kids and all the things I should do, but no in-depth examples of women who were actually living examples of a mother who really loved staying home with her kids.  I wanted to get inside the head of women who loved being home and let them rub off on me.

Eventually, through some sewing projects I met some Christian ladies on-line who seemed to love staying home, raising children, and being domestic.  As I learned more about these ladies I realized these women knew their Bibles and diligently studied them; they honored their husbands; they even homeschooled their kids!; they avoided worldliness and tried to live self-sufficiently; they accepted as many children as God would send them; they were a family team.  (I'm sure that's a very broad generalization, but that was the feel I got.)  I found they always referred to "Titus 2" and Biblical Womanhood, and I had no idea what they were talking about. 

I looked up Titus 2 and found (vs. 2-5):

The aged women likewise [sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience], that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

These women actually lived what Paul said in Titus!  Some of the women blogged, some of them had books. I bought one of their books: Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.  I realized I wanted to think more like these Titus 2 women and wondered why many of us in the LDS Church aren't more like them.  Today I re-read Julie Beck's talk, Mothers Who Know and realized we are, or should be in many cases, more like these Titus 2 ladies.

Julie Beck reminds us:
  • "The responsibility mothers have today has never required more diligence."
  • We "desire to bear children" and "we still believe in having children."
  • We "are nurturers. . . [we] cultivate, care for, and make grow."
  • We "create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in [our] homes."  
  • "Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work."
  • We are homemakers and "teach and model qualities children should emulate."  
  • We should have a house of order.
  • We are knowledgeable.
  • We are leaders in equal partnership with our husbands.  
  • We plan for the future.
  • We do not abandon our plans for the future "by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting."
  • We are "selective about [our] own activities and involvement to conserve [our] limited strength in order to maximize [our] influence where it matters most."
  • We "permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally."  
  • We "allow less media in [our] homes, less distraction, less activity that draws [our] children away from [our] home."
  • We "are willing to live on less and consume less of the world's goods in order to spend more time with [our] children."
  • We "choose carefully and do not try to choose it all."
  • Our "goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world."
  • Our "goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord's kingdom."
  • We "do not give up during difficult and discouraging times."
So, I am ever grateful to the Titus 2 ladies who have rubbed off on me and helped me be a better and more fulfilled Latter-day Saint mother.


Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

I was just reading Sister Beck's "Mothers Who Know" talk tonite. I like this idea of "Titus 2" women.

I also just want to say as a woman for whom motherhood has not come naturally, I kind of think of it as a gift of the Spirit. It's something to be cultivated and prayed for, not something we necessarily will just 'have' automatically. I have found, as you have, that my testimony of and love for motherhood grows as I 1) do it and 2) study the doctrine related to this eternally-important role.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on another place to find that doctrine. Titus 2 is going on my list for personal study this week!

p.s. I'm really happy to have found your blog. And thanks for your participation at Mormon Women!

Stephanie said...

I really loved reading about the transformation in your perspective towards being a stay at home mom. I agree with you that women who choose that route have an incredible amount of humility and trust in the Lord.

Sometimes I've struggled with negative feelings as well, even though I too had a mom who loved staying at home with her kids.

Thanks for sharing the positive perspective you've been able to gain through your study of this issue!

Emily said...

Thanks for commenting ladies! I love the idea of basically a mother heart being a spiritual gift. I don't think I'd thought of it that way before -- that would explain why it comes pretty easily to some of us, and more difficultly to others of us! I'm always in awe over those ladies who just have it come so naturally! I can just see a blog post: The Spiritual Gift of Mothering, or something.

Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

That's a blog post that has been brewing in my head for a while now. ;)

For me, it works, especially as we talk of the title of mother as being more than just bearing children (a la Sister Dew's "Are We Not All Mothers" and other similar teachings). It really helps me not lose hope in myself. I have ended up feeling that motherhood is about ME and MY growth as much as it is about that of my children. And I feel that same kind of growth and power and change in me when I try to have a mother heart toward others, especially other children.

I can totally respect that some women may choose to work or need to work, but when the reason is that "I'm not the mother type" I just want to say, "Neither am I." I don't think that alone is reason not to stay home or at least push a little beyond what comes easily. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't right. ;)

(This is on my brain a lot today because I had an hour-long conversation with someone about these topics.)

Michelle @ MW

Valerie said...

I have never heard of Titus 2, but loved learning about them. I found your blog while searching for a Julie B. Beck quote and enjoyed my visit. :)

michelle said...

I thought of this post today -- just re-read Sister Beck's last General Relief Society talk and guess what? She quoted Titus 2!

Anyway, thought I'd mention that in case you hadn't read it since writing this awesome post. ;)