[Originally Posted May 2, 2016]
As young women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we have been counseled to make motherhood our highest priority. Elder Russell M Nelson said, “The highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother.” Being able to balance raising children, maintaining a strong marriage, and having a fulfilling career is difficult, but entirely possible!
One working mother who understands this balance is Whitney call of BYUTv’s Studio C. Whitney grew up in Portland, Oregon and attended Brigham Young University. She majored in creative writing with an emphasis on young adult literature. While attending BYU, she joined the campus’ comedy group, Divine Comedy, where she met her husband, Stephen Meek. She is now a writer and actor on Studio C.
I had the opportunity to interview Whitney and ask her for her advice about being a mother with a career and I am excited to share her responses with you:
What is the hardest part of being a mother with a career?
You know, surprisingly, it’s not that hard. I suppose sometimes it’s hard to focus on writing when I want to play with my baby, but the balance has been surprisingly easy. I credit that to Stephen and I helping each other out so that we can both do our jobs while both attend to the boy.
Maybe if Stephen and I both have a long shoot and have to be away from him–that’s hard on both of us. But we have a great nanny who visits us on set with him and that makes those 12-hour shoots a lot better.
What makes the hardship worthwhile?
That we can keep creating and keep being passionate about something going out into the world. I think it makes us, specifically, better parents. Some parents can handle being stay at home moms and dads, but I think this job enriches our contribution to our little boy.
How has the gospel helped you?
The way it helps us with anything. I’m not perfect, but thankfully I find strength in my Savior. I know how to be a comedian, but this parenting thing is still new for me. Luckily, my husband and I work hard together to create this loving family, and Christ helps me when I still fall short.
How do you handle feeling overwhelmed?
Prayer, scripture study, and lots of walks.
What is the best advice you and Stephen can give about maintaining a strong marriage?
We just try to be kind to each other. And we try not to speculate the others’ motives if one of us does something that isn’t kind. That can be hard when you’re sometimes hurt by the person you love most, but it’s never on purpose and if you start speculating why someone said this or did that, you start making up more hurt for yourself than there actually is.
So we communicate when we’re up and when we’re down. And we never act harshly with each other–you don’t want to treat your favorite people badly. I learn that from Stephen everyday. He’s so kind and patient. I could never purposefully hurt anyone who’s so kind to me.
How do you balance being a mother and having a career?
The same way Stephen balances being a father and having a career– I think the balance has to be struck from both sides of the family. We leave our work at work when we can and we try focus on bringing the Spirit in our home and making our boy a happy one.
How did becoming a mother affect your career?
It really didn’t. I know what my priorities are and thankfully my job lets me keep them that way. I have to manage my time a little more carefully, but I’m surprised by how normal life is with my boy–like we’ve always had him.
What is your favorite scripture?
Alma 5:9 “And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they were saved.”
What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career?
…Just do it? I really don’t see it as anything crazy. Boys have been raising families while working for a long time. And now, there are stay at home dads while moms go out and work. You do you. Your family will know the best situation.
If you could tell every high school girl in the world one thing, what would it be?
Floss, I’m serious, you’re gonna miss those teeth someday.
And don’t let people make you feel less than you are. Your size, your appearance, your popularity– most of that is out of your control. So make the most of what you can control, be kind, be hardworking, be helpful, be passionate about something. And if you’re mean because you’ve been blessed in areas you can’t control, just stop because that’s the stupidest thing ever. (Sorry, that was more than one thing. But I’m serious about flossing.)
What has being a mother taught you? If you are not a mother yet, do you hope to pursue a career as well?