02 January 2006

I don’t get around to reading the Ensign very often since it hasn’t found its way to Kyrgyzstan yet, but I did read this article about motherhood that I rather liked. I think many women go into motherhood with a lot of misconceptions, and this article honestly addressed some of those.

I liked what she said about people telling her "you’ll never be able to do that again." I heard that (and hear it said to others) all the time. But there are few things that I can’t do anymore that I did before I had children. The main one is that there are other people who depend on me and I can’t just run off whenever I want. But really, in my day-to-day life, I am still in control of what I do- in fact, more in control than when I was in school or working.

She also addresses the idea that mothers don’t progress intellectually. She writes:

As a mother, you will read books, learn to build things, and learn more about nutrition and health, budgeting, taxes, cooking, and running a home. You will learn to teach. Some women even learn to quilt, sew, crochet, do artwork, and do
many other things. I have also learned some even more important lessons—one of which has been to relax and enjoy quiet times with my son.

I’d have emphasized the intellectual learning a bit more here because a lot of things might not sound all that interesting. While I personally like crocheting, budgeting, and teaching my children, it’s the intellectual learning that keeps me going- learning about the world, studying new languages, reading classics. For me, the things listed above don’t make up for intellectual growth even though they do help.

It seems to me that often that mothers who aren’t working aren’t considered to really be learning anything substantial- I could read all the books required for a major in Central Asian studies and live here for two years and learn to speak Kyrgyz or Uzbek, but I wouldn’t (won’t) get the degree. Of course, this applies to anyone who isn’t officially in school, but it seems to be a bigger problem for mothers. We can only really learn practical things, not intellectual things, unless we’re in school. We’re not doing anything that can really give us the experience other people think is important.

Still, I like being a mother. And even if I never get another degree, I’ll keep learning.


  1. Very good post, Amira!

    I honestly with out a blink can say that I have learned more as a mother than I ever did in school or in the work force times 100!

    Great article & post.

  2. I skimmed through this Ensign trying to read it with you guys' point of view, after that last motherhood thing offended so many people.

    I thought it was pretty good.

  3. Great post! I liked that article, too.

    I've learned so much more as a mother than I ever did at BYU (and I learned a lot there) - not just emotionally and spiritually, but intellectually as well. I've continued to learn things (with my kids and on my own).

    People give a lot of advice, but none of it will prepare you for what motherhood really is. I think because it's different for everyone and because it's such a jumble of things.

    When I think of going from not being a mother to being a mother I think of myself with less limbs almost (if that makes sense). Like, before I was just me - I was just one person - and now I'm more than that.

  4. Enjoyed your post, Amira. Now, if you don't mind me skipping back to a topic from 3 or 4 posts ago, when your wrote about a travel book, I just got home with one from Barnes & Nobel that I think you would like, even though I obviously haven't read a word of it yet!

    In fact, you may have read it long ago as it is copyright 1994, but anyway....

    It is The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron. The reason I think you will like it, at least somewhat, is due to the following phrase on the front cover: "An intimate portrait of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kirghizstan, the five Central Asian republics." (I used their spelling.) On the off chance you hadn't read it or heard of it, I thought you might want to add it to your list of books to try sometime, just because it is about some places you are familiar with.

    I am looking forward to reading it myself, just because you are in Bishkek! I feel a tiny connection and a lot of interest.

  5. You know, I cannot remember for sure if I've read Lost Heart of Asia. There was one point where I read a lot of books about the Middle East and Central Asia, and if I recall correctly, I did read it but was not amazingly impressed.

    But I think you might have noticed that I'm picky about my travel books. :)

    I think that I wanted something a little more current. Central Asia was a very different place just 10 years ago. I'll have to see if I can find it again.

    I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. I think you'll like it.

  6. I have to disagree with you on the intellectualism of formal education. I see it more as an elitist approach rather than intellectual. There are many ways each of us can grow intellectually than by going to a university and paying to participate. While I agree the path is the one with least reisitance, intellectual learning is not exclusive to university studies.

  7. I should have been clearer, chronicler, since I completely agree with you. When I said that we can't learn intellectually outside of school, I meant that that is a common misperception.

    Certainly there are many, many ways to develop intellectually. I wish there were formal ways to recognize that.

  8. On that I do agree Amira. (I thought when I read your post something was off.) It is unfortunate that our measuring sticks are so limited.