When I was seven I wanted to be a famous interior designer.
At fourteen I was going to be a terrifying prosecutor.
And at twenty-two I’m far less certain of my professional career goals.
I found myself seated around a dinner table with seven bright college students and a respected academic. After a bit of conversation he posed the question, “Where do you see yourself in fifteen years.” A few answered with specific academic and career pursuits. Another handful avoided eye contact. He praised their aspirations and continued around the table.
This question, in this setting, made me squirm a bit. Gone are the days of my determined, specific, long term career goals. It doesn’t mean that I won’t work, and it certainly doesn’t help that I picked a major that is so broad – but as I am progressing into the next stage of my life my priorities have shifted.
I was reminded of an inspiring young mother I met once, of her boldness and her faith – and so, with courage, when he looked at me I answered “nurturing five children along the path to salvation.” His eyes got a little wide, but he recovered well.
Fifteen years from now I am sure I will be many things – but the only one I am certain of, and incontestably the most important thing I will be, is a mother. What could be more vital, more incredible, more trying, and more paramount than raising God’s children? You create laws? I create people. You design couch cushions? I”m shaping a child’s future.
Now, looking back at the situation I could have come up with something academic I also wanted to be doing and contribute to the discussion (having children will certainly not mean the end of my academic pursuits). But in that moment I felt a need to stand tall – because even at BYU, among a majority of mormons, sometimes someone still needs to stand up for motherhood.
**no disrespect to interior designers or legislators (I’d really love to be both someday, actually)