I tried to be the Mormon that was expected of me. I just cleaned out a 4-drawer filing cabinet full of files from F.A.R.M.'s articles, lessons I taught from 20 years as a gospel doctrine teacher; ideas as an activities leader, and 100 family home evening lesson that I spent one year and several hundred dollars putting together.
I accepted every calling that was asked of me. I was a stay at home mother for 15 years despite the fact that it was against my personality and I resented being it. I was a square peg in a round hole. There was only one way to be a Mormon woman. It was okay for the husband to neglect me, to abuse me. It was not okay for me to walk away. When I began to openly question if this was really God's plan for me, I realized that a loving God would not require me to suffer such abuse. That He would not require only one way to live. Why would a loving God make me have desires to serve people in the real world then say I can only serve by putting together an activity lesson? It was silly, trite, absurd to say that I could not do good in the world like I am now, working with children with disabilities. I feel fulfilled, content, happy. I never felt any of that serving in the church.
The church told women like me that we were selfish for desiring to work outside the home. I do not feel selfish. I could only clean my house so much. It was linear work- I never received pay, a promotion, or was told I had done a good job, let alone a pay raise. I never felt I was accomplishing anything. I could only change so many diapers, clean so much, do so many crafts. There are women who love it, enjoy it, are fulfilled by it--I just wasn't one of them. Then, when the children were in school, I tried to have the talk with the husband about going back to work part time. No go. He would not even discuss it with me. He walked out of the room when I brought up the topic.
Each. And. Every. Time. For five years.
I was only good for cooking his meals, cleaning his house, taking care of his needs. I had to beg for money. I had no access to the checking account balance, to the finances. I was a servant. I existed for his pleasure. He was having no change in his status. This was going to be my future. This is Mormon heaven. Good for the men. Bad for the women.