After my first year of college, I came back home and worked as a secretary/personal assistant for a CPA firm. The owner/CEO is a long-time family friend and just about the quirkiest and kindest man alive. I’d file papers, pay bills, answer phone calls and get him a diet coke with a frozen straw when he needed one.
I remember his desk and office were immaculate. (Which was awesome because I love a clean workspace.) He gave me free reign to organize and de-clutter to my heart’s content. We were a good team and I loved working there.
Occasionally, he would call me into his office and we’d have talks. He was a member of the church and I looked up to him as a second grandfather. He was successful, professional, efficient and hard-working, but he always took time to have deep, concerned conversations with me. It was like a stake president interview in the middle of a work day. I loved it.
During one meeting, he talked about The Three D’s:
Death, Disability and Divorce.
He encouraged me so sincerely and so strongly to make sure I received a degree and that I was educated and qualified to work if needed. He counseled me that life was always unknown. And that I would need to be prepared to support myself should my spouse die, become disabled, or do something to warrant divorce.
It was needed advice. I would never have guessed how essential it was. Sometimes I fear the outlooks of the young women of the church are a little too rose-colored (I know it was for me). Hopes and dreams of marrying and staying home with your children are not bad things. They are the ideal. That positivity is wonderful. But there must also be a mindset of preparation. An educational food storage if you will should life turn out to be not what you quite expected.
D&C 38:30 states, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
When discovery happened, I immediately thought my marriage was over. And while I was devastated, I was also extremely fearful for my financial future. How in the world was I going to support myself and my three young children? What could I do? I had been out of the workforce for years. All I had ever wanted to be and dreamed of, was staying home to raise and know my children and play an ever-active role in their lives and development. Of course, I could live with my parents. I am very fortunate to have their support, but I didn’t (and don’t) want to live with my parents forever! I wanted to be my own family. I wanted to be self-supporting. But how? The fear and reality was crushing.
My employer’s advice had come true. One of the D’s could happen to me very shortly.
Thankfully, I had graduated from college and received a Bachelor’s. So, I had that. But, I had never really done anything with it. I had no real experience. I was not prepared. I had no working food storage to see me through.
I was talking to a new friend just yesterday morning about this topic. I had met her at SAnon the night before and she was fearful just as I had been (and sometimes still am) about the prospect of supporting myself. My heart went out to her. She, too, is a stay at home mom and feels completely dependent on her husband’s income. She felt stuck.
So what can we do? With little ones at home, it’s not viable to just run out and get a job, unless you have the financial (and emotional) means to secure a nanny. Maybe you don’t have a degree. Maybe you don’t have any work experience. Maybe you’re just plain-scared! I know I am!
That’s ok. What you do have is intellect. You have courage. You have strength. You have determination. And those gifts can grow and develop if you work them.
So, start on the path to self-sufficiency. Start small. What do you want to do–or what do you NEED to do right now? Study and read up on your desired career path or skill set. Sign up for a community or city class which are often very inexpensive. Take an online course. Seek a mentor. Start.
Death, disability or divorce may not happen in the near future. But, unfortunately, they could. Preparation and education will help lessen the fear and increase your confidence.
Above all, keep your head high and never apologize for being a stay at home mom. The home and family have been your workplace and you have learned to juggle and multi-task beautifully. Many of those skills that being a mom has taught you, will transfer into the working world. Discover what they are and adapt them to a working environment.
I started out writing this post for my new SAnon friend, but it ended up being a pep talk for myself. I am no authority on reentering the workplace. And I am in no way saying that our families should not be our first and primary goal. But life sometimes necessitates a working mom–and always need an educated mom!
Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, “Teach ye diligently . . . of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—that ye may be prepared in all things” (D&C 88:78–80).
He continued, “The Lord wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. In this day and time, a girl needs an education. She needs the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it.”
In this uncertain time we must, above all, go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. We can pray for guidance and strength and wisdom. He answers the heartfelt and honest pleas of righteous women and will aid in our success, this I know.
Know you are loved. Know that your Heavenly Father will provide. “Get on your knees and pray, and then get on your feet and work.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
You can do it.