As an undergrad, I have spent countless hours reading research papers. The majority of the papers I read are about the family and certain aspects of family life that is affected by something else. Many times in my perusing of these papers I feel like Isn’t this obvious? Along with Heavenly Father does have a plan, it’s clear. This time was no different. In researching parents balancing their work life with family life I came across an interesting perspective. These group of researchers found that the amount of hours worked by the mother is directly correlated with the father’s risk for depression. Or in other words, the more hours the mother works, the greater the chance that the father has for depression. When I read this statement to Mark, he smiled at me. “You know why, right? When men can’t fulfill their purpose, they get depressed” was his answer.
Flash back to my twenty eighth birthday. My dad took me shooting, and I sucked at it. He had me practice with his .22 pistol. I blazed through round after round of his .22 ammunition. I felt bad. .22 ammo was hard to come by. People searched high and low to find one box of it. I mentioned this to my dad. He smiled, picked up a bullet and showed it to me. “What is the purpose of this bullet’s life?” “To be shot.” “Right, to be fired out of the gun and hit its target. If it sits in the box, it will never fulfill its purpose.” When thinking about marriage and parenting, each partner has a purpose. We cannot find true happiness without fulfilling our purpose.
Looking at The Family: A Proclamation to the World states “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” There are situations where this is not always the case, but if we focus on our purpose, Heavenly Father’s divine design for us, we can fulfill our purpose.
The article went on to discuss another “strange” phenomenon. Mothers who were stressed and overwhelmed at work, and brought that stress home with them, tended to have children that had externalizing and internalizing behaviors. In regular speech: Mothers’ negative moods directly affected their children’s behavior- they acted out, or had signs of depression or low self-esteem.
One night, I came home from class feeling extremely overwhelmed in my schoolwork load. I was a mess of stress. Thirty seconds after I walked in the door, took off my shoes, and explained my plight to my husband, everything went crazy! Mark was suddenly in a bad mood, our daughter was crying and melting on the floor. I went in the other room and took assessment. Mark alerted me that everyone was happy until I came home. I told him how double standard the situation was. When he had a bad day, he came home, vented, and I responded to him with positive upbeat remarks of encouragement. I was not getting the same treatment. He told me to check my feelings at the door. We calmed the baby and then discussed it. I needed an outlet to express my feelings, but my family needed me to keep the peace. We settled on me watching my tone and being calm in explaining my feelings, that way I could still explain what was going on, but my emotional volcano didn’t destroy the family’s happiness.
The mother is the emotional backbone of the family. The mother’s state will have a stronger impact on the rest of the family then anyone else’s. It is still okay to express feelings and have different moods, but just keep in mind that the reaction of the mother has the strongest impact.