Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mum's the World

Dear Julie, I want to be you when I grow up.

I am a big Julie B. Beck fan. I'm going to name my first daughter after her. Just like Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley was "my" prophet growing up, Sister Beck is "my" General Relief Society President. Sister Beck is rock solid. She is the opposite of all the fluff I was afraid I'd find in the LDS church's organization for women. I love that she encourages and loves ... all while telling me to get my act together and be more righteous (my words, not hers). Her words have empowered me so much as a woman and as a mother, especially as a mother who has chosen not to work outside the home.

I struggle sometimes with conflicting feelings about my role as a woman and mother. I was raised by a stay-at-home mom, and I was taught that being a mother would be the most important thing I would do in this life. I believe this.

To the world, being a SAHM often seems lowly, unfulfilled, unambitious, weak, etc. And sometimes I agree with the world--because, try as I might, there's still a portion of me that is "of the world." I judge people. I like the Eminem songs (the radio edits! I'm not that depraved!). I say "crap." I hate pedestrians and bicyclists who don't follow traffic laws--I want to run them over. I'm needlessly competitive and comparative. I often prize being right over relationships. Sometimes I wish I was a single businesswoman living in a posh New York apartment with a toy poodle named "Chintz" and a membership to the same yoga studio as Jennifer Aniston (we're meeting up for a kettlebell workout next Tuesday!).

But VP of Marketing Kimber Hamson and Chintz don't exist. My workout buddy is Jillian Michaels, and a kettlebell would cost twice as much as what I paid for my third-hand jogging stroller. But I don't need a kettlebell! I have a twenty-pound cherub to haul around on my hip! And that cherub smiles, laughs, and plays with me all day. He loves a stuffed Chihuahua named Nacho. He has seven teeth. He whispers "hot" when we're by the stove or when I hand him a warm little cheese bread. He took his first step last Sunday while I was teaching a lesson in church on the importance of faith and prayer in marriage. He kisses with teeth. He bob-dances to music. His favorite toy right now is the steamer dish from my rice cooker.

Count'em. Seven.

I'm his mom, and I love it. I am the most important person in his life. I shape his world. I am teaching him that he is worthy of love, attention, and trust. I trim this little squirrel's toenails.

Does the world think I'm powerful and influential? No. But am I? Let's see what Sister Beck says:

"Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, and Mary, who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child, the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the resurrection. Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood" (Oct. 2007 General Conference, emphasis added).

I agree with Sister Beck. I feel my eternal influence and power as a mother. Beyond the cuteness of Graham is the eternity of his soul--the soul I am charged to nurture and teach. I'm not paid in worldly gain or prestige for this work, and I shouldn't be. "Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels" (LDS First Presidency 1942). No earthly currency can match the value of my calling.

I have a lot of thoughts on motherhood--more than I can fit in this post. I'd love to get those thoughts down and explore them more. My opinions are still evolving, and I'd love to hear your ideas on motherhood.

Potential future motherhood posts include:

Do I have to be involved in the community to be influential as a mother? Or can I just legislate from my couch?

I want to be a published author. That means getting paid (hopefully). Would that strip me of my SAHM status? What about non-paid hobbies/interests? How can I balance being a multifaceted woman with a variety of God-given talents with my ultimately important role as a mother?

Why being a mother should be the most fulfilling thing I do ... if I'm aligning my standards with God's.

How to cook barefoot.

How my education informs me as a mother and how I can continue to be educated through traditional and nontraditional means.

The physical process of becoming a mother: why informed decisions are key to an empowered birth experience.

My baby ate a doughnut for lunch today and other motherhood mishaps.

A mother's epistemology: how we can sort through all the crap we read/hear and make informed decisions for our families.

Lipstick: An exodus.

Sweatpants: A genesis.

How motherhood is a type of atonement.

Lessons from my mother.

And on and on and on.  What would be interesting to explore?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Isn't it about time ... for tacos?

There are few things more transcendent in life than biting into an expertly-crafted soft shell taco. I love tacos. We had them for dinner tonight.

While I was microwaving the refried beans, I burst into song. "There's always time for tacooooos, at Taco Time!"

Nathan: Wow, is that their song?

Kimber: No, (smugly) I just made it up!

I think I found my new career: jingle writer. Even though my taco jingle isn't particularly inspiring because it suggests that at places besides Taco Time, there just isn't time for tacos. But that's a dirty falsehood! There's always time for tacos everywhere for everyone. Tacos are a universal truth like that.

A taco experience:

Mexican bus stop: where friendships are made and catcalls fielded.

I ate some of the best tacos of my life at a little cinder block taco shack called Tacos Lunas while on my high school senior vacation to Mazatlán, Mexico. Deciding against the tacos de cabeza (brain), I started off with some carne asada tacos and the ubiquitous Jarritos soda (pineapple flavor). Then I got a little more brave--I tried the tacos de lengua (tongue)--I was a senior, after all! After daring to try the lengua tacos and finding them deliciously tender, I thought, "What the heck, I'll try the mad cow tacos, too!"

I was young and invincible. The most important thing on my Creutzfeldt–Jakob-free mind was whether or not to get back together with my boyfriend when I got back to Idaho. I'd spent about 200 pesos calling to wish him happy birthday from the bathroom of the hotel room I was sharing with five of my girlfriends. 200 pesos got me ten awkward minutes of him telling me about a rafting trip he took with another girl, so I didn't feel bad about only getting him some lame dolphin magnet as a souvenir/birthday present. I ate the cabeza tacos. I got back together with my boyfriend. Perhaps the one and only time a taco has forsaken me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mother Bear in a Shark Cage

We were driving back from a cheesecake party at my Grandma's house tonight, and we passed the Utah State Prison. My thoughts went something like this ...

After watching Contagion, I'm thinking I should store my food storage someplace like this.

Oh, sad, the penitentiary. I wonder if I could go visit someone there.

Who would I visit? Some man criminal? Weird. Are there women there?

I don't think so. There must be a women's prison somewhere else.

What if the women's prison is in some dumpy little faraway town, and the she-criminal's family has to drive far to visit her? What if they can't make it that often? That would be so sad.

Maybe I should live in the same town as a women's correctional facility ... just in case, you know.

Clue: Me, in the shark cage, with a baby koala.

Then I wondered what I would ever do to get legitimately sent to prison (as opposed to being framed). I decided that one of the very few prisonable offenses I would commit without regrets is defending Graham with deadly force. Then I might be sent to prison if some lame CSI didn't collect all the evidence needed to exonerate me. But then I'd get a law degree from my cell, appeal and win my case, and then choose the actress to play me in the Hallmark channel blockbuster movie based on my life/bestselling memoir (entitled Mother Bear in a Shark Cage).

Emma Stone. Love her.
Emma Stone would be my pick to play me, not because there is any resemblance, but because I think she's an awesome actress with enough sass to pull off the gritty prison scenes. Like the one where I finally earn the trust of my boyfriend-killer/meth-dealer cellmate after defending her from a gang of she-skinheads using only an expertly-whittled crayon shank sent in my birthday package from Graham. Oscar material.

Then we drove by Thanksgiving Point, and I remembered going there with my grandma when I was little. We went to the dinosaur museum and I got a little stuffed t-rex. Love that thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


You know who I'm talking about. The verbal syrup that comes oozing from your car speakers at night if you're lucky enough to hit that magic radio station. Delilah. Worst name ever for a radio personality specializing in love songs ... or perhaps the best. I'm still waiting for Samson to call in.

I always pictured her as a brunette ... maybe with a perm. She'd have a thoughtful face and maybe look a little like a professor, specializing in women's studies, naturally.

Now, Kevin, I'm going to find a special song to help you tell Jessica what's in your heart.

But today I read a CNN article about her.

 Ummm, that is NOT Delilah. Blonde??? Curled hair? Eyeshadow? Raises emus?

While the article did portray a benevolent woman who has done a lot of good, I just can't believe she's the real Delilah. I feel like someone close to me died.