When I was in 4th or 5th grade I read A Wrinkle in Time. I don't remember a lot about it but the character of the mother really stuck with me. She was a scientist and she had a family. Even at 11 I knew that I loved science and that I wanted to be a mother. Ever since then I have been trying to reconcile the intellectual part of me with the maternal part.
This book is a wonderful examination of the conflict that comes because everyone in the world tells women that they should have a career, do something "important", and everything inside tells women that they need to have a family and focus on building their home.
I respect Jane Clayson Johnson because not only did she have to make that choice, she had to give up an established career to raise her family. And she isn't done. So many books are written by women who are reaping the rewards of family; they have grandchildren, missionaries, weddings and aren't still cleaning up crayons and juice spills.
Though I have made my choice, and am happy with it, I still find myself doing what she describes in the book, saying, "I'm just a mother." When in Las Vegas I made a resolution that when anyone asked me about my children I would be positive. It is so easy, not mention expected, to run down your family and the work they require. It gave me some good experiences, but I have lapsed and need to remember to do this more.
One area that I hadn't thought about was what we are teaching our daughters. Never are they encouraged to think they will be mothers in the future. With the good goal of not limiting their choices, we have inadvertently left out the most rewarding thing they can choose to do. I am grateful that it is a choice now, but it is so often left off the menu completely.
If I were rich I would give every woman I know a copy of this book. We need to be reminded of the worth of the work we do and support each other. When asked, we need to be able to respond proudly, firmly and happily, "I am a mother."
I am a Mother. Jane Clayson Johnson. Deseret Book. 2008