Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: motherhood

Wedding Wednesday: Kid Questions

The excitement is building; I am officially counting down the days now. In a little over two weeks my fiancée and I are getting married in the Salt Lake Temple! He feels like it’s not coming soon enough, I feel like the time is whizzing by.

Today, instead of talking about wedding planning, I’d like to talk about something that I will have to start thinking about in the near future; when to have kids. My fiancée and I have only talked about it occasionally, and it was only the basic questions like: “how many kids do you want?” or “what should we name our kids?” We haven’t really talked about it seriously yet, but I imagine that time will be coming soon. It’s a question that all married couples have to face and eventually decide on.

A couple weeks ago, my cousin told my fiancée and I not to have kids until he had a secure job. At the time we just smiled and didn’t say anything, but I was inwardly upset. Not only was it not her place to say, but also in the LDS faith we are taught that having children is part of God’s plan, and that families are essential to our salvation. I have often heard from Church leaders that couples should not necessarily wait until they are financially secure to have children. I knew that my cousin had heard the same testimonies on the subject so I was confused as to why she would say that to us.

I had to take a step back and think about where my cousin was coming from. My cousin grew up in a home where her father came from a well-to-do family and was already secure in his job when he married her mom. Taking this step back, I could see her perspective and knew that she sincerely had our best interests at heart.

While my cousin’s advice was logical, it is not up to her, the rest of my family, nor my friends, or really anyone, to decide when my fiancée and me have children. The decision when to have kids and how many should be between the spouses and the Lord. When making this decision, and really any important decision, it is necessary to consult with each other and pray to the Lord about the decision. By doing this we invite the Lord to be a part of the marriage and have a hand in it.422661_433475463356702_1883829178_n

Just as we wouldn’t want to be judged, it is important not to be judgmental of other couples based on how many or how few kids they have. No one really understands their specific situation, only the Lord does. The Lord is the judge of mankind, not us. Many times it may be difficult for a couple to bear children, and it would be unfair to judge them. Remember, it is not anyone else’s business; it is solely between husband, wife, and the Lord.

I personally cannot wait to start a family and I am so ecstatic to be a mother. Families are essential to society, and most notably to the children that are brought into it.

By Bryn Adams

I’m Afraid to Be a Mom

I went to a baby shower last weekend and I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to have a baby of my own. Actually, every time I’m around kids (which isn’t actually that often), I find myself thinking this. But then I think about how painful it would be to actually physically have a child, and how I’m happy being an unmarried, not pregnant college student. But I do have thought of some plans for my future first baby. Before I get pregnant, I’m going to read all the parenting books available and take advantage of every birthing class. Then I’ll be ready. Won’t I?

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How to Raise a Genius

Trying to bring up the next Einstein or Mozart? Check out this helpful graphic from

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“30 Strangers” Project Exhibiting at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library

Justin Hackworth‘s photographic exhibit “30 Strangers: Portraits of Mothers and Daughters” is currently showing at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library.

The exhibit features photos of thirty mother/daughter pairs, capturing their histories and their stories. The story behind the project is beautifully captured in Kale Fitch’s video below:

The 30 Strangers Project | Justin Hackworth from Kale Fitch on Vimeo.

This Thursday night, October 4, is the special Artist’s Reception. Visitors will have the chance to meet the artist and view the exhibit, as well as listen to entertainment by Cherie Call and short essays about motherhood read by four featured writers (Amy Hackworth, Lisa Clark, CJane Kendrick, and Kacy Faulconer).

This is a great chance to experience wonderful photography and entertainment in celebration of mothers and daughters!

What: “30 Strangers” exhibit—Artist’s Reception
When: Thursday, October 4, 2012, 6–9pm (readings and music at 7:00)
Where: BYU Lee Library, Auditorium Gallery, 1st Floor

Justin Hackworth’s “30 Strangers” exhibit is showing in BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library, Auditorium Gallery, 1st Floor, September 6–October 28, 2012. The exhibit is raising money for the Center for Women and Children in Crisis.

General Conference Cinnamon Rolls—Recipe

by Adrienne Anderson

Since before I can remember, my mother has made cinnamon rolls for Christmas, Easter, and LDS General Conference. She gets up around five or six in the morning to make sure everything is ready by the time we wander into the kitchen. My father always takes a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when my mother isn’t looking—which slightly annoys everyone else. While I do not wake up nearly as early as my mother, my husband does take a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when I am not looking. I guess every girl really does grow up to marry a man like her father.

This recipe has become a calorie- and memory-laden tradition in my family; I hope you enjoy it, too!


Dough – steps 1–9 & 11–16

2 pkgs yeast

2 tbsp sugar

½ cups (very) warm water

2 cups milk

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp salt

1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (~3.5oz)

6 cups (or a little more) flour


Filling – steps 10 & 12

3 cups brown sugar

6 tsp ground cinnamon

1½ cups softened butter


Frosting – steps 17 & 18

8 oz cream cheese

½ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

(1 tbsp milk)


Also Needed: stand mixer (wire whisk, dough hook and flat beater attachments preferable), spatula, large bowl, dish towel, medium bowl, rolling pin, sewing thread, and baking pans (comparable to at least two 9” x 13” pans—I use a 9” x 13” and loaf pan)

Time Needed: about three hours (including prep and baking)

Space Needed: 34” x 18” area of counter space

Servings: 15–20 rolls



1. Using a fork, quickly but thoroughly mix 2 packages of yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup

of warm water in a container that can hold at least two cups of liquid. Set aside.

2. Combine 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, and ½ cup of melted butter in the stand mixer on medium speed

using the wire whisk attachment until well blended.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix, and mix thoroughly,

scraping the sides of the bowl with the spatula as needed.

4. Pour in the water, yeast and sugar mixture. (Note that about a cup’s worth of bubbles should have

formed by this point.) Mix on medium speed until smooth.

5. Switch from the wire whisk attachment to the dough hook attachment on the mixer.

6. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 6 cups of flour—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed

on the mixer while pouring the flour, then a medium speed while blending the flour. Use the spatula to

scrape the attachment and the sides of the bowl as needed.

[Note: If the dough is sticky, add flour half a cup at a time until there is very little or no dough sticking to your hands after handling—due to the elevation in Provo, Utah I usually need to add an additional cup or so of flour.]

7. Lightly butter the large bowl. Then round the dough and place it in the bowl.

8. Cover the bowl with the clean dishtowel. Set it in a warm place, if possible (e.g. in sunlight from a

window—don’t pre-heat the oven just yet!). Let the dough rise until doubled in size, then punch down and let double again.

9. While the dough is rising, thoroughly clean a 34” x 18” area of counter space. Then sprinkle the area

with flour—three quarters of a cup should be sufficient.

10. In the medium bowl, mix together 3 cups of brown sugar and 6 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

11. After the dough has doubled in size the second time, take it out of the bowl, place it on the floured area and roll it out into a roughly 34” x 18” rectangle.

12. Spread 1 ½ cup of softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, then evenly sprinkle and

spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough.

13. Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise. Cut into 1 ½”-2” sections using sewing thread as illustrated


[Note: If you do not have sewing thread, dental floss can be substituted, though mint flavoring could transfer. Cutting the sections with a knife is also an option, but is not preferable because it will squish the sections. The first and last sections can either be eaten raw or thrown away; they’re usually too small to bake properly.]

[Note: It is important that steps 13–15 be followed only once for each batch of dough—all sections must be placed in the pan at the same time, must rise at the same time, and must bake at the same time. But they may need to bake for different amounts of time.]

14. Dust off the excess flour, then place the cut sections into the 9” x 13” pan.

14a. For connected, softer cinnamon rolls (as pictured by ingredients), put about twelve sections in the pan.

14b. For separate, all-around browned cinnamon rolls, put about nine sections in the pan.

14c. Depending on the number of sections left over, either use a loaf pan or another 9” x 13” pan for the remaining sections.

15. Place the pans on top of or near the oven, cover with the dishtowel, and let the rolls rise while the oven preheats to 350 degrees.

16. When the dough has approximately doubled and the oven is preheated, bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the rolls are a light golden brown.

17. While the rolls are baking, use the flat beater attachment to mix 8 oz of cream cheese, ½ cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in the mixer until smooth.

18. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 3 cups of powdered sugar—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed on the mixer to blend in the powdered sugar (1 tablespoon of milk can also be added).

19. When the rolls are a light golden brown, remove the pan(s) from the oven, and set them aside to cool (because the rolls will continue to slightly “bake” and darken after removal from the oven).

20. Remove a roll (or two!) from the pan, top with a dollop of icing and enjoy with a glass of milk!

Mother Gardener

by Erin Jones – Dedicated to Alberta Jones

She scatters light to all within her touch
She smiles, and they smile at her gaze
Her garden’s heart to reach and trails to blaze
A mother twenty-four years, but n’er too much
A gardener first, but no one has seen such
A beauty when she laughs in all her ways
She opens to the lost; with life she’ll raise
Five flowers up, and to her legs they clutch
Until they blossom, raise their petals, breathe
And reach the sunlight, shake their leaves and sigh
She gives them soil, water, sunlight, rain
And watches each one grow and shed their leaves
She helps them cut their roots to see them fly
And spreads her smile, warmer than her pain

For Mom

by Cecily Lew

And I lay there and listened
That easy kind of listening
Like when you read to us each night
Those cool summer nights
The wind slapped our blinds against the window
And we shivered under our blankets
But it was never too cold for ice-cream
And so the blinds tapped to the beat of your story-telling voice
When your words are smooth
And you get louder or softer at all the right parts
And when our bowls were empty
We fought fluttering eyelids
And swore we were still awake
To hear how Bilbo escaped the dragon
How Aslan was resurrected
How the Goose Girl spoke to animals
Or how the ogre got her prince
And there were other nights too
When it was clearly time for bed
But you let me add just one more log to the dying fire
And you sat down to play piano
Sometimes I sat with you to sing along
But other times I’d lay by the flames
Watching your expert fingers glide off the keys
That is where your hands were most at home
Trained to feel out every note
Weaving a blanket of harmony
Covering us both

My Family’s Eyes

by Tanya Cumberland

“Why don’t you call Aunt Samantha ‘mom’?”

The question caught me off guard, and I looked down at my step-cousin in surprise. His Aunt Samantha was my stepmother; that’s why I didn’t call her “mom.” Still, I was worried about being tactful with him. He was only about ten years old at the time and hopefully still innocent. There was no need to burden him with the messy details of my family’s situation.
“Because she’s not my mom,” I said, trying to appear calm and cool to hide how unnerved I really was. My real mother was back in the Mid-west, and I missed her. My stepmother would never replace the woman who had sacrificed so much to raise me alone after the divorce. I hoped my cousin would be satisfied with my answer and drop the subject. I was out in California visiting my stepmother’s family along with my father. There were other adults listening to our conversation, including my step-mother’s brother, which put me in a very uncomfortable situation. Who knew a fun dinner out would turn into a reminder of my family’s sliced-and-diced nature so fast?
“Still, why don’t you call her ‘mom’?” my cousin persisted.
I braced myself internally as outwardly I shrugged and looked away. My voice fell into the sing-song cadence I use with children. “Because she’s not.”
I think what helped me bite my tongue on a bitter retort was that I could see my cousin’s perspective and where he was coming from. All he knew was that my stepmother was his beloved aunt. If his aunt was married to my father, then she was my father’s wife, and thus my mother. Life obviously isn’t quite this simple sometimes, though, and I was old enough to realize that.
During the very same trip, I had another experience, but in this one my behavior was far from tactful. I was in the car with my father, stepmother, and her father. I no longer remember the topic of the conversation we were having, or the exact words of the insulting comment my father made to my stepmother, but I still remember my grim satisfaction. My irritation boiled to the surface as I thought, “Yeah, take that,” and smiled to show my approval of his hurtful words. What happened next has stayed with me these ensuing six years. I wasn’t rebuked. I wasn’t yelled at. I wasn’t scolded. It was worse.
I was sitting in the back seat behind my step-grandfather, and as I shifted my attention to the rearview mirror, his gaze met mine. I was taken aback by how filled with sadness the old eyes were. Shame filled me as I realized that I was still smiling at the comment directed at his daughter. I was sure that he saw my smile and the vindictiveness evident through my own eyes. His look had more effect on me than any scolding could have. As I was talking to my mother over the phone later about the incident and the look in his eyes, she replied, “Of course. She’s his little girl.”
These two incidents served as a lesson for me. They helped me to see my stepmother through the eyes of the family that is close to her—her nephew’s showing me an innocent, questioning gaze, and her father’s showing the hurt he felt from his daughter’s pain. She doesn’t have to replace my mother to be family. And she doesn’t have to be family to be loved and respected.