Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miss. Independent

There is a song I used to listen to called “God Bless the American House Wife”.  A catchy quirky ditty glorifying the role of mommy home maker.  Being a stay at home mom is a tough job.  I have seen the sacrifices my sister has made for her family.  It’s I life I someday may adopt…but not now.  Honestly I never looked forward to it. Yet a year ago I found myself humming this tune over and over again.  It was my battle cry, my mantra, my imposed destiny.  My dream to become a theatrical agent was dwindling fast.   As I watched this dream get euthanized another was artificially inseminated into my brain.   

Pillsbury called me every single day.  He was there for me, emotionally  available and he appeared to love me for who I was.  I trait hard to find for a Mormon girl who watched some R rated movies and occasionally swore.   I was 26.  An old maid.  And no matter how compassionate, or selfless, or  trustworthy a girlfriend I was, I was not good enough.  A “gamble” for any Mormon man.  So when things got more serious with Pillsbury I just let it happen.  I gave up my dream of being a savvy working bitch and traded it in for the responsibility of being Pillsbury’s in home assistant. He and his family told me upfront what was expected of me.  And I agreed to it.  I figured this was the closest thing to love a girl like me deserved.   It was only after I moved to UT that Pillsbury informed me I was not good enough.  I didn’t serve a mission.  My family did not have pioneer heritage.   And he worried that I may “someday drink alcohol.”

As a Mormon woman it is the expectation that you will not get a job and your husband will support the family.  My mother was a working mommy and I saw her constantly judged for it.  But I always looked up to her.  At parties while the stay at homes were discussing different way to clean my mom was talking shop with the boys.  I knew I wanted to have a career and I am proud that I kept that mentality throughout my time at BYU.  Did I lose out on some dates? Of course, but did I really want to be with a man who expected me to stay at home. … Hmmmm…I guess I sort of forgot about that.... 
Though it has been a hard comeback I have re-discovered my independence.  Finding a job has been tricky.  A few weeks ago I did what I do best.  Went out to make friends and network.   When I got to the party I met a guy who seemed rather impressed by my gift of gab.  We exchanged E-mails and less than a week later I was in a second interview for an impressive sales job.  Devin had really put a good word in for me.  He seemed to think I had what it took.  My darling little sister called me to congratulate me.

“Thanks Steph,” I said downtrodden, “I’m a little confused.  This guy doesn’t even know me.  I don’t know why he is sticking his neck out for me.”

“Ummmm…because you are amazing!  I have always felt like I could never live up to you.”  This coming from a girl who was almost accepted to Harvard’s physics program.

“I just don’t know why he is fighting for me to get the job,” I said.

“Because you deserve to be fought for!  You moved to NYC and started your own company.  You walk into a room and everyone wants to be your friend.  In high school people referred to me as ‘Emmas little sister’ till I graduated.   And in collage EVERYONE knew you!  It was so funny watching you on campuses.  You would carry a full deep conversation with someone and as soon as they walked away you would look at me and say “I have no idea who that was.”  You have a gift for getting people to trust you and that is sales.  Have some faith in yourself.  You are worth it.”

You have to fight for what you want.  Sometimes the battles are in your head.  I nailed the interviews and I got the job.  On my first day they showed me around.  I met my co-workers including a very friendly tattooed man.  Then they showed me my desk.  My Desk! No one here expected me to cook and clean.  There was a sentimental moment where I looked at my desk and thought “I’m finally doing it”.


  1. Reading assignment: "Lean In" by Cheryl Sandberg. The women's issues discussed transcend Mormon culture. But especially for a strong woman trying to de-program from Mormon sexism, this should be good.

  2. Thanks. I will add it to my list. I have been reading The Icarus Deception. Tho i had to take a break because i was feeling overwhelmed. I still cant believe how brain washed i was. - Emma

  3. As a man I have always found it strange that so many men accept the roles the church gives to women. I don't know, it may have been different in the past but from my experience it's turned a lot of the women I've seen into entitled snots. I know many couples who are struggling financially and the woman refuses to work because "her place is in the home." But then when the the men get home from work, they're off to book club or dinner with friends or some other activity so they're not home and they're not helping to ease the burden that's on the husband's shoulders (and may in fact be making it worse by spending money they don't have). This of course goes both ways, I've seen lazy husbands that use the excuse that they want to spend more time with the family as the reason they are skipping work or school classes, I think it's easy to twist the teachings of the church to cover for your laziness. If I do ever get married again I want to find someone that has a career, it shows me that they know how to fend for themselves and that they are not relying on anyone else which I think is what a true partner should be.

    BTW I don't remember what post it was that you recommended but I have to thank you so much for doing that. I have found a great meetup group in my city that is always doing fun activities and that has really made me feel comfortable in making new friends because they're all trying to make new friends as well. If anyone else is struggling with leaving the church, is recently single, or just wants to meet new people I would recommend for you as well.

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