My name is Jan Francisco (yep, just like San Francisco).  I am the mother of five children, ages 10 to 2.  I love my life as a mother.  People in our society assume that stay at home mothers are either unable to hold down a “real job”, or unambitious.  I would like to speak up for the wonderful women in my life who have knowingly and willingly put their children’s future at the top of their priorities–whether by staying home with them or working to provide a life for them.  I have observed that there are a lot of negative voices on the internet and in the world,  who are critical of women being feminine.   I wanted to add my voice that it is glorious and powerful  to be a woman and a mother.  I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.

(I might trade someone just for the few weeks it takes to potty train a toddler though.)


  1. Yes! Thank you for adding your brave voice to the community of we who are happy and fulfilled in their roles as women, wives, and mothers. Families are forever, and this is the life!

  2. Speaking only for myself, the number one misunderstanding that people have of feminists is that we don’t respect motherhood or stay-at-home-motherhood. This is not true. Some people assume that “people assume that stay at home mothers are either unable to hold down a “real job”, or simple minded.” I don’t assume that at all. I am a feminist and a stay-at-home-mother. This is the choice I have made jointly with my husband, and I agree with you that it is best for my family at this time. However, the problem comes up when we condemn those who choose a different path. It may not be best for every family, and even the choice to stay at home comes from a place of privilege and financial comfort. I am a feminist because I trust people to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. I am a feminist because I absolutely agree that it is “glorious to be a woman and a mother.” I respect your stay-at-home position, and I hope you can respect those who choose something different from you.

    • I do respect women–feminist or not. Everyone is doing their best to live their lives, and it is no one’s job to judge. I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I didn’t respect your position. The people who glare at me in the grocery store, or ask me if “these are all yours?!” or tell me that “I guess you can live your life that way”–those are the people that the assumption was directed towards. Thanks for coming by!

  3. I’ve been a feminist for a long time, and nobody in my circle has ever assumed that stay-at-home mothers are simpleminded or can’t hold a “real job.” I have kids, stayed home when they were little, and wear glitter nail polish. Feminism is not about rejecting femininity.

    You could just as easily assume the grocery-store glares come from radical environmentalists (because not ALL environmentalists advocate zero population growth), but you went right to it being about not embracing womanhood. Why do you think that is?

    I suspect that the snide comments and dirty looks come not from feminists/environmentalists/whateverists, but from unhappy, judge-y people who would just as quickly criticize for anything else. We’ve all been blindsided by out-of-the-blue criticism coming from people who have no business injecting themselves into our lives. I’ve gotten it for driving a “Japanese” car (built in NC, LOL), for not having enough children, for letting my daughter have short hair, for speaking Spanish in public. I don’t presume there’s a campaign against southern U.S. auto factories, two-child families, pixie cuts, or bilingual people.

    It’s fun to erect an enemy made of straw and kick it down, but it isn’t very useful, and it perpetuates the mommy wars. It isn’t all about me, but the mommy wars break my heart.

    • From somebody who despises when people type in all caps, THANK YOU. Thank you thank you thank you. I work full-time, and often get really confused when stay-at-home mom’s talk about society devaluing them. These mommy-wars are insane. Why can’t we all just hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya?’ We’re all in this together! My choices to work full-time, breastfeed my children, and keep them rear-facing until 16 don’t define who I am as a mother, yet that’s what so many who perpetuate the ‘mommy wars’ focus on. We are all trying our best to do probably one of the hardest things on earth. Can’t we build each other up, regardless of whether our babies eat from a boob or a bottle?

    • I didn’t say “feminist” anywhere in there, did I? You all are up in arms about “an enemy of straw”, and yet you are blaming me because you feel picked on. I don’t know you. I’m happy that you work. I work too. But I am not in favor of this “-ite” mentaity. Let’s not distance ourselves with modifiers–I am a Mormon. I am not a Feminist Mormon, or an Environmentalist Mormon or a Free-Thinking Mormon. I want to be as close to Christ as I can and these labels that we put on ourselves and others are to no good purpose. You are a Mormon woman, my sister. Probably my friend (if we lived closer). We have that in common! I’m not going to focus on what we don’t have in common, nor am I going to say that your values are pulling me down.

      I don’t live in Utah, I’m a Texas girl. People all around me look at me as if I am crazy. Parents at my kids’ elementary school think I am soft. This WORLD is devaluing the contributions of motherhood–which is a big part of womanhood. That’s why I “went straight to womanhood” in my explanation. Not to offend you.
      In my ward/stake/area, we stick together because we are just so thrilled to have a church family. It doesn’t matter our politics, race, roles, family situation–we are MORMON together. I have noticed from growing up in Utah that in a monoculture like that, people are tired of being the same so they try to find things that are different about them. If you value womanhood and motherhood, then why are you disagreeing with what I wrote?! Can’t we just be women together? Can’t we love our children together?

      • Jancisco,
        You must get so tired of getting attacked regardless of what you say. I am not in the ‘public sphere,’ and so I have no idea how it feel to have every comment scrutinized and picked over with a fine-tooth comb. It must be frustrating to make a statement or express your opinion knowing that somebody is going to attack you for it. I applaud your courage to express your viewpoint regardless of the repercussions. What I was trying to express in my comment is that it is so frustrating to me how women seem to tear each other down based on the choices they make. It’s crazy how controversial topics like car seats, feeding, working, and parenting techniques are. It’s almost guaranteed that if you read an article about carseat safety, there will be women going back and forth in the comment section, criticizing the choices that other moms have made. I have two very young children, and for me, being a mom is so, so hard. So I just don’t understand why we are making it even harder for each other by tearing each other down. I’m sorry that my comment wasn’t clear. Basically what I’m trying to say is that we are all moms. Chances are, if we’re reading articles about women and mothers, we’re doing our very best to be good moms. There are so many opportunities to feel guilty; instead of trying to make each other feel guilty about the choices we’ve made, lets instead have a discussion about those choices. Maybe that’s not very practical, given how deeply emotional these topics are. But, it would be so nice to see the conversation change from ‘I’m better than you because I _____” to “This is why I do things the way I do. Tell me what you know, and maybe we can both learn something.”

        • Thanks for your compassion. It is exhausting to know that everything will be batted back at me with vigor. But I think we’re friends already, and I agree with you. We need to just love and be accepting. What can I do to my blog to make it more like that? What is throwing people off? If people agree with my points about femininity and motherhood, then why do they go on the defensive? Let’s make a bridge together to connect these two very, very similar sides.

  4. I’m glad you love being a mother.

    I also put my children’s future at the top of my priorities which is exactly why I went back to school and got a job outside of the home. How could that hurt my children in any way if I received spiritual direction every step of the way?

    You don’t like the criticism from people (feminists) who don’t see life from your perspective, I didn’t either. The criticism and judgmentalism I experienced weren’t limited to “money, fame or prestige” but were aimed at my level of spirituality, my personal integrity, even worthiness to even be a mother.

    We ALL need to be more aware of our uniqueness and differences which are not bad. After all, “God made me that way.”

  5. I’m a stay at home mother, and a feminist. My baby is 3, and I’m currently looking at going back to school for my masters degree, and in academia, I can say, stay at home mothering isn’t valued. Pretty much every where else in my life, being a sahm has been highly valued. I just wish the value carried over into getting a for-pay job or going back to school.

  6. I am a mother of 3 young children, ages 9, 6, and 17 months. I work full time outside the home because I choose to support our family financially. I have a very unique skill set i developed that enables me to have a fulfilling career. My husband and I do our best to be there for the comings and goings of our children, and to make sure they have opportunities to participate in character building activities. Their health and welfare and our love is more important than anything to me. I have been a feminist since I was 12 years old. I also wear skirts and dresses at least 50% of the time, by Choice. Feminism is about choices, not stating which one is correct. I choose to defend women by supporting them in their decisions as well as making known the grave injustices that are committed against women worldwide. Respect for leadership is EARNED, not guaranteed, and can be lost with careless ignorant and untrue statements. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Isn’t it wonderful that there is more than one way to live?

  7. “Pants to church? Meh. Anyone can wear pants. Only women can wear dresses.” Wow, no wonder these Mormon women are up in arms, if this is the attitude they deal with…I would be, if people treated me with this sort of derision simply because I don’t look like their version of “a woman.”

    I love my short hair, refuse to wear makeup because it’s expensive and a waste of time (not to mention full of carcinogens), and wear whatever clothes are appropriate for the setting I’m in. I’m completely capable of sending my kids off to school, doing some awesome university teaching while they’re gone, and still having dinner on the table when my husband gets home. I don’t expect everyone to want to do life this way, but I sure wish that people wouldn’t inflame the mommy wars by telling me that because I do, I’m not prioritizing my children or think that it’s awful to be a woman.

    • Em, “meh” means “shoulder shrug. . . not for me”. It’s okay for me to have an opinion about my own looks, just like it is for you. I’m sure you are naturally gorgeous if you don’t even need makeup. And if you are in favor of the same things that I am in favor of, then why the resentment?

      • It is fine for you to have an opinion about your own looks, but your tagline definitely presents the idea that women are “women” because they are traditionally feminine. On the makeup thing, nope, I am not naturally gorgeous, I just don’t care. Nice how that works. 🙂

        The “resentment” (don’t see that in my comment, just an opposing opinion, but tone is hard to convey on the internet) comes from the assumption that only women who do life your way are “prioritizing their children.” It’s false to make such a blanket claim. I like the edit in your about – where you say “whether by staying home or by working to provide a life for them.” With that change you’ll find you alienate far fewer people.

  8. I work full time and I also put my child’s future first. She is my top priority, no doubt about it. Please don’t suggest that there’s a dichotomy between stay-at-home moms and working moms and/or that working moms care less about their children. I assure you that we’re doing our best to care for our children, just as you are.

  9. ” I am the mother of four young children, ages 6 to 1. I love my life as a mother. ”

    Really? Because I had four children in six years and I remember vividly what that was like. It was a haze of hemorrhoids, cracked nipples, total sleep deprivation, vomit, poopy diapers, dirty clothes, messes, screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth. Your idea of glorious and my idea of glorious are two very different things. So either you are brushing your current reality with a very rose colored brush or you are on meds. Or maybe both. Which is it?

    Women who prevaricate about the challenges and difficulties of motherhood and parenting do the rest of our gender a huge disservice because we go into it with completely unrealistic expectations. Honesty is always the best policy.

    Unless you actually DO love all of the above listed things. Just realize that masochism isn’t for everyone.

  10. Jan, you made two very obvious connections in your statement. 1) You began by talking about stay at home mothers and how judged SAHMs are. You then proceeded to “speak up” for women who “put their children’s future at the top of their priorities.” It looked like you were “speaking up” then for stay at home moms. In which case, you are saying that mother’s who choose not to work are putting their children first, thus women who do work aren’t?

    2) you say that you have noticed negative voices on the internet that are critical of women “who own their own femininity,” who, according to you, are women who “choose to have children, wear dresses, respect leadership (huh? how does respecting leadership have anything to do with being female…), and strive for a happy Christ-centered life.” So women who don’t like wearing dresses and who aren’t interested in having children aren’t “owning their own femininity?” Why are dresses, children and respecting authority the only markers of femininity?

    You may not have noticed the underlying messages you were sending there, I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt. But I think that may be a reason that some women take great offense at your statement. You narrowly define women who “put their children’s future at the top of their priorities” as SAHMs and feminine women as those who “choose to have children wear dresses, respect leadership, strive for happy Christ-centered lives.” Most of us just don’t fit those definitions Jane and yet we still feel like good moms and feminine women.

    • RJ, So are you being critical of me owning my femininity in my way? Maybe this blog just isn’t meant for you. That’s okay. I’m not trying to appeal to everyone. There are a lot of other women who need a community like this. I hope you also have a community where you feel open and honest. Everyone needs that.

      • I was not criticizing your definition of femininity, I was arguing for a broader definition of femininity. I didn’t ask “why are dresses, children, and respecting authority the markers of femininity?” I asked why they were the only ones… I think there are women that define their femininity by having children and wearing dresses, and that’s OK, but your article implied that those are the only ways to “own your own femininity.”

        • RJ, I’m sure there are lots of other markers of femininity–strength, intelligence, being compassionate, tender, spiritual. But I also think that things like dresses, children and respect are things that are sort of being cast aside in the toughening up of women. Again, I am totally not against Mormon Feminists. I think we are all on the same team. I am against the destruction of family and the way that the larger world (and Satan) is devaluing the essential place of women in society.
          Though you are right, when I started thinking about these issues, I blamed feminism and the riff it was causing within our ranks, but the Spirit told me to lay off. And with more understanding, I have more compassion and love for everyone. So I should change my About section, but I like the Pants to church thing because I think it’s funny. 🙂

          • Jan, thank you for changing it. I am in graduate school and eventually will be pursuing a career (I have been a SAHM in the past though) and I have nothing but complete respect for SAHMs. I always joke that I’m going back into the workforce because I couldn’t hack it as a SAHM. My own mother gave up a promising career to SAH with us.

            I also feel more proud of my femininity than I ever have in my life because I feel like, where I was once told I had to be a SAHM to love my children and be feminine (I know not everyone is given this message, but I was), now I realize I have a choice and working is ok, my children will be ok. My perceived lack of choices about my future though made me resent femininity, like it was holding me back. But now, I can embrace femininity because I feel like I have a choice in how I live it. Anyways…That was a long ramble. And for the record, I don’t necessarily love the pants reference, but I did think it was pretty dang clever. 😉

  11. Jan, I’ve realized something here. You asked in an earlier comment “what is throwing people off.” I think it comes down to the fact that, while you aren’t explicitly stating it, your post is a criticism of the Ordain Women and the wear pants to church day, as you make a few references to it specifically (“Pants to church? Meh… and when you said femininity includes respecting authority i.e. the priesthood). Maybe that is what is throwing people off. It isn’t just you saying that you love being a mother, which would be fine. I’m a mother, I love it, and I shout it from the rooftops sometimes. But your references to those two events make it seem more like a critical post then a genuine post about loving motherhood and staying at home with children.

    If I am wrong, then you can correct me. But, you asked earlier what may be throwing people off, and I think that may be a reason. Is there anyone else that go that impression?

  12. I’m going to have fun reading through your blog. 🙂 I have a feeling we would be “bosom friends” if we had the chance. I refer to myself as an Antique Feminist. I believe in the sacrifice that was made by our early feminists. Not the hoity toity, get your panties in a twist because “my cookie doesn’t have has many chocolate chips as his cookie,” feminism of today.

    I believe men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. And I feel like in this world, for the most part, they do. Modern-day feminism is over-doing itself and pushing passed the limits of where they should be. I feel that modern feminists are trying to be men AND women at once. They don’t want “equal”, they want “all.”

    Feminists now-a-days are just wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. I feel like once a feminist is successful at bringing about change they sit and think, “Hmmm… now what else?” They have this “more more more” mentality, like it will never stop. So equality has been met (and in some cases women have MORE right and opportunities than men), but they have this “me me me” mindset so they have to seek for more and more things to change that just means they end up in the nit-picky mess they are now. Women can’t have it all. Sometimes they need to realize that “having it all” means giving something up. Sacrifice. Sometimes it will be hard and not convenient, and that’s the way it SHOULD be!

  13. Megan, do you have some examples of what you mean by “all” vs “equal”? And what does it mean to want to be a man and a woman at once? “Pushing past the limits of where they should be” also confuses me. Can you make that more specific?

  14. I just came across your blog, and as a SAHM of 4 kids ages 16 months-9, I can relate to you. I respect everyone’s choice to care for their family how they see fit, but I feel that it is important for kids to have a parent at home and I for me there is no other way. I babysit, coupon and do-without so I can stay home.

    I have a question for you. I actually have a lot of Mormon neighbors and friends, but I there is one thing I have never understood. When I saw the title of your blog, I thought you might be a good person to ask. I have asked this question of my Mormom mom friends, but have never gotten a clear answer. Why always skirts to church? I was raised Catholic. We wore nice, dressy and modest clothes to church, but a tailored slack was perfectly acceptable.

    To me, skirts show more of the leg and there is always the remote chance that someone could see up your skirt. So how is this more modest than a pant? I admit this is totally morbid curiosity, so please don’t be offended! Thanks for your time!

    • Hi Kara! I appreciate your comment and I’m happy to answer your question about pants and skirts. (And actually, I’ve changed my tag line because I feel like there are lots of good reasons to wear pants to church and just a handful of bad ones. But the good outweighed the bad).
      So the short answer is: Culture. We have a culture of “Sunday Best” being dresses or skirts for women and suits or slacks for men. But there are women who wear slacks to church. Lately, I think it is becoming more generally accepted in the U.S. Outside of the U.S. people wear whatever they have or want to wear. I lived in Russia as a missionary and our female church members there came in slacks all the time. People can wear whatever they want to wear that allows them to feel like they are being respectful and reverent as they worship. We are happy to have people come to church, no matter what they are wearing and no one will be turned away because they aren’t following a certain dress code.

      The reason why I had that “Pants to church, meh…” line was in reaction to a recent movement by a faction of the women in the church that they were all going to band together in a show of camaraderie and wear pants to church one Sunday so that they could find out if there were any other like-minded people in their congregations. I felt like choosing to wear pants over say, a red scarf, or a gold necklace or bright blue fingernail polish, was a subversive message against men, the Priesthood, and femininity. Their pants seemed to symbolize that they didn’t want to fall in line with the patriarchal leadership of the church, and that they were disregarding the divinely organized authority of Priesthood keys. It was also a bit of a slap to the face of femininity because our skirts and dresses are uniquely ours to wear (again, the tag line: anyone can wear pants, only women can wear dresses). If it had been another, less masculine symbol, it would have not rubbed me (and so many others) the wrong way. I am not saying that these women shouldn’t have a community where they feel supported and understood, I’m just saying that wearing pants was a real “sock it to ’em” approach.

      But I have a good friend who wears pants each week and she looks great. And another friend who wears pants because she HATES wearing dresses and church was agony each week until she felt bold enough to just wear slacks. Like I said, I think there are lots of good reasons to wear pants, and only a few bad ones.

      • Thanks so much for your very detailed and insightful answer. I grew up around the Pittsburgh area and had never met someone belonging to the LDS church until we moved to Rochester, NY when I had just turned 30. I have met so many members of your church here, and have been very interested in learning about a religion which I have pretty much no prior knowledge of. And which seems so different to me from the the Catholic, Lutheran, and Protestant religions that I grew up around. Not interested enough to become a member, though, as I have had to politely express on a few occasions (and which was always received very well- no friendships harmed).

        Reading your post I was reminded of attending my grandfather’s Catholic church as a kid. They lived in an area that was poorer than the area I lived in with my parents. Wearing jeans or shorts to church was totally normal at his church- something that would have been unthinkable in the parish I lived in. So I see what you mean about culture being the biggest factor in dress.

        Thanks again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  15. I’m with with you!!!! People making negative assumptions and commenting on your blog are just looking for a fight. Just smile & be true to the wonderful woman that you are! Thank you for being a voice for women and mothers!!

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”

    • Thanks Ky. I love that quote too. And people can be nasty. I’ve figured out that I don’t have to please everyone. And that is a relief 🙂

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