Date of Award:

5-2008

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

Ann M. Berghout Austin

Abstract

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) have been compellingly counseled by church leaders that motherhood should be women’s greatest ambition, and as such that it should demand mothers’ full-time in the home; at the same time they have been taught to get all of the education that they can. Mothers with young families must decide if they should continue their educational pursuits, or spend their full-time in the home. This study sought to fill a gap in the literature and understand the lived experience of these women by researching how LDS mothers with young children experience the decision to achieve doctoral education given the counsel that women should spend their full-time in the home fulfilling their primary responsibility of mothering, while considering counsel that they should get all of the education that they can. A phenomenological approach was selected to study seven LDS women’s experiences of deciding to achieve doctoral degrees as mothers of young children. As a theoretical perspective, Women’s Ways of Knowing informed this study; the women seemed to occupy a constructed knowing position as they participated in making meaning from church directives concerning their lives. The women appeared to express that spiritual promptings and deep personal desire were most influential in their decisions. Encouragement from family was also emphasized. The women faced challenges of balancing multiple roles while meeting church and family members’ expectations concerning their perceived responsibilities. The women expressed that their greatest benefit from achieving their degree was the influence doing so had on their children.

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