Importance Of Mothers In The Home

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President Ezra Taft Benson

"Sometimes we hear of husbands who, because of economic conditions, have lost their jobs and expect the wives to go out of the home and work, even though the husband is still capable of providing for his family. 

In these cases, we urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job he is able to secure may not be ideal and family budgeting may have to be tighter."  (To the Fathers in Israel, Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 49).

In this statement, President Benson teaches an important truth:  mothers are more important than things.  A mother in the home is more important than anything that money can buy, including televisions, microwaves, videocassette recorders, and other luxuries that are incorrectly perceived as necessities.

It is clear that in order for mothers to fulfill their roles, fathers have to take financial responsibility for the family.  This important concept should be taught to our sons from the time they are young.  It is important that they understand that they have a responsibility to invest in education or vocational training beyond high school and develop a marketable skill that will allow them to fulfill this God-given responsibility.

God's Counsel to Mothers

During World War II, when men were called away from their homes, wives and mothers were drawn by necessity into the workforce.  Since then more and more women have entered the workforce, and now over 70 percent of mothers in the U. S. work outside the home (J. McCormick, "Where Are the Parents?", Newsweek, special issue, 1990 summer-fall, p. 54-58)

Although women in the Church have been slower to follow this trend, they are quickly catching up to the national average.  There is no doubt that this is significantly affecting the solidarity and spiritual growth of families both in and out of the Church.  President Benson clarified the God-given role of a mother when he stated:

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother's place is in the home! 
I recognize there are voices in our midst which would attempt to convince you that these truths are not applicable to our present-day conditions…They maintain that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood. 

These individuals spread their discontent by the propaganda that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than homemaking…They also say it is wise to limit your family so you can have more time for personal goals and self-fulfillment… It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated… 

It is a mother's influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child's basic character…Can you see why Satan wants to destroy the home through having the mother leave the care of her children to others?  And he is succeeding in too many homes."  ("The Honored Place of Woman," Ensign, Nov. 1981, p. l05, l07.)

The Lord not only has the best interests of the children at heart but wants what is best for the mothers also.  He knows our needs better than we do and has established roles for both fathers and mothers that will help us fulfill these needs. 

When mothers trust him completely and put their whole heart into being successful mothers and wives, they reap the benefits of peace, fulfillment, and joy.  The world would have us believe otherwise, but the world is usually wrong when it comes to finding happiness and contentment.

The false claims of the world were brought into focus for a member of the Church named Jaroldeen Edwards.  She had an experience that helped her appreciate her role as a mother.

Shortly after her first novel was published, two successful reporters came to her home to interview her for a feature article.  They were both attractive and sophisticated women from New York who had achieved considerable success in journalism. 

The lead reporter had been an editor of Seventeen magazine and was an important feature writer.  She wore the latest fashions and seemed to be everything a successful career woman should be.

As Sister Edwards tried to get through the interview she was constantly interrupted by her children.  Finally her five-year-old, who became tired of being restricted from the living room, "came bounding in with a smile and plunked herself down on (her ) lap."

When the interview was over, one of the women asked if she could use the phone.  While she was gone, the sophisticated senior reporter sat down next to Sister Edwards and said:

"I just want you to know that we were sold a lie…They told us we were brilliant, and that we had the obligation to seek success.  We were told not to throw our lives away on husbands and children, but to go out into the world and to succeed.  We were told that only through a professional career could we 'findourselves' or live a worthwhile life.

"I just want you to know that this morning I have realized it was all a lie.  I have come to know that a career is not a life—it is only something you do until you find a life.  Life is what you are.

"I would like to tell you I would trade all my so-called worldly success for one day of living your life."  (Jaroldeen Edwards,  'They Lied to Me About Life—Life is What You Are," Church News, 10 March 1990, p. 8, 10).

There is no one who can replace a righteous mother in the process of teaching and nurturing her children—not even a father or other loving relative. Bishop H. Burke Peterson emphasized this well when he stated:

"Mother is more important in the home than money or the things money can buy.  Our Father in heaven wants you to be in your home to guide these spirits as no one else can, in spite of material sacrifices that may result.  He created you to learn to be a good mother—an eternal mother. It is your first and foremost calling.  No babysitter, no grandmother, no neighbor, no friend, no Relief  Society sister, older brother or sister, or even a loving dad can take your place.

Again we say, unless the Holy Ghost has given you a confirmation that it is all right, don't go out of your home for hire."  ("Mother, Catch the Vision of Your Call," Ensign, May 1974, p. 32-33.)

God realizes that some mothers, because of circumstances beyond their control, are required to work for the financial support of the family.  These sisters find themselves widowed or divorced or facing unusual circumstances where their husbands cannot fulfill their role as breadwinner. 

God has promised special help for these women.  Elder Richard G. Scott said that these mothers "qualify for additional inspiration and strength from the Lord.  Those who leave the home for lesser reasons will not."  ("The Power of Correct Principles," Ensign, May 1993, p. 34.)

When the financial burden for a family shifts to the mother, how grateful she is when she has previously obtained advanced education and training.  This is just one of the many reasons for young women to seek education beyond high school. 

Education is never wasted, for not only does it enrich the life of the woman receiving it, it clearly benefits her family and the Church as she serves as a wife, mother, and Church leader and teacher.  All of us should be constantly looking for ways to expand our education.

As parents fulfill their correct roles, children learn what their future roles should be.  How does a father who is not the spiritual leader of his family teach his sons this important role? 

How does a mother who works out of the home when she doesn't need to teach her daughters their role of homemaker and nurturer?  When a father refuses to perform his role as breadwinner and this responsibility is left to the mother, the children become confused concerning their future responsibilities.

On the other hand, parents who perform their responsibilities with faith and dedication pass on a positive legacy to their children.  Parents who sit down and explain to their children that finances may be tight with only the father working, but that they know the Lord will bless them for following the counsel of the prophet, teach their children faith and obedience. 

As fathers and mothers spend time with their children, nurture them with love and patience, and teach them the gospel through both word and example, their children not only receive testimonies and spiritual strength but learn how to do these things for their future children.  As parents we are not just teachers but models as well.