Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Motherhood: Mastering the skill of juggling many jobs

Published: Saturday, May 15, 1999

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JaLynn Rasmussen Prince works as a teacher, an interior designer, a chauffeur, a referee, and doctor and a scientist.

She is also a mentor, a coach and a travel agent. And she holds stock in a major corporation, which she directs.

Sure, it is a hectic life, but she will attest motherhood, which includes these duties and more, is the world's most rewarding career.

"Motherhood means incorporating almost every positive position there is into daily survival," said Sister Prince, a member of the Potomac North Ward, Washington D.C. Stake. "I can't think of any executive position that would call on as many abilities and skills as this. If you want to liken this to business, you are a stock holder in the corporation. You have a very vested interest in the outcome of the people you are dealing with everyday."

Sister Prince, the mother of three children — Chad, 14, Lauren Elyse, 11, and Madison, 9 — was named the 1999 National Mother of Young Children by American Mothers Inc., on April 30.

She was surprised and delighted with the honor, and is now excited to take the opportunity to "speak for and about children, because they are often the people who have the least voice in our society."

She also hopes to address issues that affect mothers raising children with disabilities.

Sister Prince's youngest son is autistic. "Madison, because of his autism, has taught us a lot about looking at the silent things in life," she explained. "He has opened my eyes to so many things."

Because Madison demands so much time, Sister Prince said she and her husband, Gregory, have had to find ways to spend individual time with their older children. "Chad and Lauren have had to make numerous sacrifices," she said. "To compensate we have decided to invest heavily in world travel."

Three years ago, Sister Prince and Chad participated in an archeological dig in Jordan. Later, the Princes took their two oldest children to Greece and Turkey. And more recently, the family visited Japan and China.

Usually one parent stays home with Madison. "We try to give Madison as much stability as possible and give the older kids the opportunity to learn about the world," she said.

It doesn't really matter where they go, Sister Prince added, it is the focused time spent with her children that is important.

This is also accomplished as she volunteers at her children's school. Recently, she wrote and directed a play designed to teach the kids about Shakespeare and helped organize an activity simulating a trip to Mexico.

"Parents often pull back in their children's lives too soon, maybe not asking enough questions about where they are and who their friends are," she said.

Sister Prince said that out of all the jobs a mother performs, hers may be most like that of an air traffic controller. She sends her children out each day, pointing them in the right direction. If they need her, she tries to be there to help and direct them. And at night, she hopes they come into the "hanger" having faced few turbulences, ready to face another day's journey.

Motherhood — seen in any light or myriad of occupations — is no easy task, she admitted. But the rewards are constant.

For example, Sister Prince recalled a time when her son was blowing bubbles outside one morning. It had rained the night before and the roof of the house was damp enough that instead of breaking, the bubbles rested on the surface.

"We had an entire house covered with bubbles," she said. "It was magical and fun and symbolized the fleeting moments [of motherhood] that come and pass. The bubbles didn't last very long, but the memories last a long time."