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Praise to the (Famous) Stay-at-Home Moms

I guess you could say that we’re magazine junkies. We have more subscriptions than are humanly possible to read. My husband has an entire drawer in his bathroom vanity dedicated to The Magazines That Came This Month That I Have Not Had Time to So Much as Crack Open because I can’t stand wading through them while trying to locate the toilet.

Most of them are technical journals. I married a geek. Then there are the “shared” magazines like MacWorld, MacLife, MacAddict, Business 2.0, and Inc (dubbed thusly because they are my husband’s magazines, but I actually read them). There’s the Ensign along with the obligatory double conference issue. (Can you spell P-I-O-U-S?)

Then there is my magazine. This consists of whatever free, complementary issue some fledgling publishing company decided to hoist upon me this month, having received my name and address from any number of junk mail databases.

Yesterday I was browsing through one such magazine. It was the new, the proud, the Wasatch Woman. Hey, I’m a woman and I live in the heart of the Wasatch Range, approximately. This is for me.

The magazine is beautiful; throughout it’s very visually appealing with gorgeous photos and art on every page. And it’s got that nice, heavy, shiny paper that just screams, “We used nice, heavy, shiny paper!”

I open the front cover to find an ad for the “hottest designer” maternity company in, I guess, Wasatch. The protruding woman is wearing a skanky little number. OK, it’s not really skanky, but my very Wasatchy garments aren’t going to add to the look. I move on.

Next page features non-surgical cellulite reduction treatment. The afters look great, but I’m afraid only a scalpel has a chance in heck to save me.

Then we have the two-page spread for Celebrity Style Imaging. Because “Art is Forever.” That’s a new twist on the eternal perspective, but I think the scrapbooking crowd might go for it.

Just when I’m ready to send it to one of my slim, pregnant, famous friends, I turn one more page. The table of contents actually looks promising minus the 12-page, photo-dense section on homemade cakes, the article on navigating divorce, and the article by two really thin, beautiful women discussing the trouble they encountered learning to be “comfortable in the skin they’re in.” (I’ll be happy to let them try out my skin for a week or two, if they really want something to write about. All sales are final.)

This brings me, finally, to the point of my story. (You knew it would come, didn’t you?) Finally on the From the Editor page I find reason to dig deeper. Barbara Vineyard, the editor, said:

More than anything, my parents were a team. Dad worked at making money, mom worked at making a home. And, Mom supported Dad. She is my inspiration and the reason we chose, in this issue, to honor women who have given up careers to support their husbands and raise their babies. These are some of Utah’s most notable women.

I’m off, looking for the great article about stay-at-home moms. Front to back. Again. Back to the table of contents. Finally, I just start thumbing through. Wait, this must be it. It’s the cover story titled Utah’s Leading Ladies: A brief glimpse into the lives of 6 of Utah’s most notable women. OK. Page 20.

The first featured woman was Mary Kay Huntsman, married to Utah’s governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr. and daughter-in-law to gazillionaire Jon Hunstman, Sr.

Next up was Gail Miller, wife of Larry Miller who owns the Utah Jazz, a whole mess of theater complexes, a bunch of auto retailers, and about 48% of the state of Utah.

The third inductee to the Mom Hall of Fame is D. Wright, wife of KSL talk show host, Doug Wright. According to the article, she didn’t actually “given up her career to support her husband and raise their babies,” but she did give up part of her career, so that counts. She is a cute empty-nester who has three children, N., P., and D., Jr.

Cute-as-a-button mom-of-three-boys Holly Mendenhall, wife of BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall, next discusses how she blew Bronco off for ten years before she gave in and (figuratively) walked down the aisle. (Great defense, Holly!)

Next we learn all about Suzan Young, who is married to The Heathen University of Utah president, Michael Young. (I think any further support of such literary vitriol will only confirm a spot for me in outer darkness. I best move on.)

Last of all, we have the “sunny, Southern California personality” of Claudia Cannon, wife of my least favorite, Republicanish, LDS politician on the planet, Chris Cannon. (Hint: amnesty.)

Some of these women seem very bright, some are very pretty, some have done great community service, some have raised decent, responsible adults. Generally speaking, their lives and contributions seem commendable. But what they have in common is husbands who are famous and husbands who range from relatively well-heeled to enormously wealthy.

Is that really what makes them the “most notable women” in all of Utah, or just the most noticed women in Utah?

At the risk of sounding like a Young Woman giving a sacrament meeting talk, I looked up notable in the dictionary. I guess when I read the title I was thinking they’d be going for the first definition:

  • worthy of note

Instead, they went with the second:

  • prominent

Seriously, I take nothing away from these admirable women. They do stand out in many ways. May they live long and (continue to) prosper. Still, I find the celebrity aspect of this praise troubling. Surely, of all the women on the Wasatch Front who chose to stay home to raise their babies, there is at least one who isn’t married to someone famous and wealthy who is “worthy of note.”

But hey, at least they picked two people who don’t yet have their own entry in Wikipedia.

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • east-of-eden June 8, 2007, 11:34 am

    Maybe you could start a magazine called Wasatch Real Women and catch women running into Smiths at 7 in the morning to get milk for breakfast. I’d would have been the one in the Draper Smiths this morning in green pjs.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2007, 11:54 am

    Now that’s my kind of woman!

  • Rachel June 8, 2007, 1:04 pm

    I would have been disappointed, too, if I had opened up that magazine and found what you did. Wow. I mean, wow. Non-surgical cellulite reduction? Celebrity style imaging? I guess I don’t live in the Wasatch front, so what can I say? Maybe those things are important to (some) women there. (Hey, even here in Utah’s Dixie I’ve felt inundated with plastic surgery ads and magazine articles on “affordable” decorating ideas for multi-million dollar homes.) But I wouldn’t waste my money on that subscription. I’d be much more interested in reading the rehashed articles about breastfeeding and nap schedules in Parents magazine over and over than reading about lives of the rich and famous stay-at-home moms. At least in Parents, I’d expect the maternity styles to be immodest.

  • Rachel June 8, 2007, 1:10 pm

    Umm, don’t think I’m judging anyone who choses plastic surgery or is interested in non-surgical cellulite reduction . . . I’ll be the first one in line to fix certain aspects of my figure (namely to be able to wear something larger than a training bra) when I have the chance. I just think it’s sad that we are barraged from all sides with the idea that we need to be “fixed.”

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2007, 1:25 pm

    Posted By: Rachelnamely to be able to wear something larger than a training bra

    Oh, that was my good laugh of the day…um..not totally at your expense or anything…

  • mlinford June 8, 2007, 1:32 pm

    Alison, the last sentence in your article was a classic.

    I think that these days, ads that support nice thick paper mags somehow are by those companies that perpetuate the stuff that I would think folks around these here parts would shun. Utah Valley magazine is similar, and the lipo and laser and white teeth ads (not to mention the mansiony home and decorating ads) really get under my skin.

    But then again, I was bugged a while ago that my BYU Marriott School mag doesn’t have enough to support us women who are HOME doing great things, even with our degrees! πŸ™‚

    I’m in if you want to start a new magazine. We might have to print it on paper towels, though. The cheap ones. I won’t let ads from those companies in. πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2007, 1:41 pm

    Are you in, too, Eden and Rachel? We four can be the founding editors of The Wasatch Wal-mart Woman. Printed on Kroger brand paper towels with washable Rose Art markers bound together with brads and a glue gun.

  • JustRandi June 8, 2007, 1:44 pm

    I’m not a big fan of the SAHM interview articles. I think it’s just a hard idea to pull off. I don’t really relate to anyone who is famous or extraordinary, and I don’t particularly care to read about a random, everyday SAHM. Heaven knows anyone reading about my life would be asleep before they finished the by-line.

    I like the idea of it, but really, who do I want them to interview? I’m just sitting here trying to decide if there is anyone that article could be written about that would make me want to read it. Nope. Coming up blank here.
    Maybe this is why I have slowly killed off all my magazine subscriptions except two.

  • Oregonian June 8, 2007, 1:52 pm

    Posted By: JustRandibut really, who do I want them to interview?

    Marie Osmond?

  • east-of-eden June 8, 2007, 6:20 pm

    If you really want cheap paper–we need to get the MTC toilet paper. That stuff is four atoms above TP molecule status–thats what we could print our new mag on. Also it would greener–or something. And I am wicked with a glue gun!

  • facethemusic June 8, 2007, 6:29 pm

    GREAT article Alison– I just love your wit. You crack me up!
    One of the things that struck me, is that it would be a heck of a lot easier to “give up the big career to stay home” when your husband is a millionaire. There are many who quit their jobs to stay home, at a huge sacrifice. They sell a car, cut off the cable and start doing their shopping at garage sales and second-hand stores in order to make due on their husbands income alone.
    Alot of woman WANT to stay home and can’t. (Of course, alot of them CAN and just THINK they can’t) But there are also many who HAVE to work.
    That said, it’s still admirable that theses women did quit their jobs to stay home with the kids. They could have continued work, stuck them in daycare or hired a nanny. So they still deserve a pat on the back for their decisions to be home.
    But with all the women in the article being the spouses of famous and very wealthy husbands, it just seems a little… I don’t know what word to use.. elitist??

  • mlinford June 9, 2007, 12:32 am

    Are you in, too, Eden and Rachel? We four can be the founding editors of The Wasatch Wal-mart Woman. Printed on Kroger brand paper towels with washable Rose Art markers bound together with brads and a glue gun.

    Had I water in my mouth like I did a few minutes ago, it would have been sprayed and snorted all over my keyboard. The title is the BEST.

    However, we might have to have a serious powwow about the brand of paper towels…. MTC toilet paper is a good consideration, although not the size of a magazine. Maybe a mini-magazine — purse sized? :bigsmile:

  • mlinford June 9, 2007, 12:33 am

    Oh, and I have markers I’d be willing to donate.

  • SilverRain June 9, 2007, 9:35 am

    I’ll do the design . . . .

  • Rachel June 9, 2007, 9:52 am

    Posted By: east-of-edenAnd I am wicked with a glue gun!

    Ooo, me too, me too!

    I can hardly wait for the first issue!

    (Alison, go ahead, laugh even at my expense. I know I do, it’s just ridiculous that after breastfeeding two children I shrunk from my pre-pregnancy AA size. *eyes rolling*)

  • Sharilee10 June 9, 2007, 1:25 pm

    As always, very well written and entertaining! I can think of several stay-at-home moms who lead lives worth reading about. I’d make a list but none of you would recognize their names— they aren’t married to famous men and are only ‘famous’ to their children and friends and those whose lives have been directly impacted by the generous and kind choices they make on a daily basis.

  • Soozer June 9, 2007, 9:30 pm


    Great article! I did so much inner jogging (read: laughter) that I think I’ll skip my evening walk. You nailed it. Why can’t we see the dichotomy of teaching humility and then showcasing the rich and famous? Seriously, I love the idea of a magazine about Real Women. No supermodels need apply. I have 85 million to work with, so I might start it, with your permission. You see, I have a very real woman character in my book “Heaven Help Us!” that is my current #1 project, and she, in a moment of weakness, bought a lotto ticket in Idaho and won. She quits her job as a cashier at Smiths Food King and starts looking for things to do with the money. The book is all about the crazy businesses and projects she starts, and how her bishop/estate planning attorney is trying to stay one step ahead of her. I think Karen would very likely start a magazine like this. It could have articles like “How I lost three pounds in six months” and there could be contests and sort of a spoof of Antique Roadshow where ladies bring in their old junk and find out it is worth 29 cents, the “Why are you keeping this award” would be given out monthly to the person holding onto the worst thing for the worst reason. Shriveled up umbilical cord that won’t fit in the baby book anyone? There could be “celebrity” photos of real women caught without their makeup, like they do with movie stars. “Cheryl Baker was seen pushing a stroller through Liberty Park in her sweats.” Why should we care when celebs do that, anyway, except that it brings them closer to where we all are. It would be great fun. Thanks for the idea! Karen, of course, generously pays anyone who contributes anything to her magazine, because that’s what she is all about, spreading the wealth and having fun doing it. I can see it all now. It would parody all the other “it” magazines. Gotta sign off and start writing.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2007, 9:55 am

    Susan, so glad to see you!

    Wonderful idea. And you know, I honestly think this would be a great REAL magazine. At least it would get a laugh. I’d buy it.

    I’ll save my umbilical cord story until after you’ve all digested your breakfast…

  • PlaneJain June 13, 2007, 12:26 pm

    Alison, I think your discussion forums are representative enough of the “Real Wasatch Women,” and without the every-other-page plastic surgery ads.

    Now, I just have to know, am I the only heathen that saw a great pun in your opening paragraph?

  • Sharilee10 June 13, 2007, 1:36 pm

    LOLOL . . . Thanks for pointing that out, PlaneJain! What a wonderful visual for us all!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2007, 5:02 pm

    Yes, you are. You wicked girl. If I were to make a distasteful pun it would probably be about sex. But, of course, I never do.

  • spitfire June 13, 2007, 8:25 pm

    Ok Alison, your commentary was hysterical!!! And yes, I picked up on the pun in the 1st paragraph. So, being the “East Coaster” that I am (I can’t run out & buy this wonderful publication), I went to their website. Pullleaseee!!!! Ok, all of you were privy to my little rant about Utah Mormons who come East & look down their noses (this was clearly a moment in my foul mood week~see SOS post)…I obviously have been having those women featured in the magazine visiting my ward!!! I clicked on the various areas on the website i.e. your health, finances, etc. Good grief, didn’t we learn that stuff in middle school? Come on, can’t they come up with something better than that? I love the idea of creating a real Wasatch Women mag…let me know, I can be you “overseas” correspondent!!!! (across the Mississippi!!)

  • spitfire June 13, 2007, 8:28 pm

    BTW, regarding the plastic surgery, real Wasatch Women & some interlopers (like me!) would go together & get a group rate for their surgery. We would take care of each other and provide uplifting magazines like People or US to pass the time of recovery!!!

  • mlinford June 13, 2007, 9:49 pm

    I obviously have been having those women featured in the magazine visiting my ward!!!

    Uh, if that is the way Utah women are perceived on the whole, pretend I’m from somewhere else. I’m a run-to-the-store-in-your-pjs kind of gal.

  • mlinford June 13, 2007, 9:49 pm

    Except I go at midnight, not 7:00 a.m. πŸ™‚

  • mollymormon June 13, 2007, 10:41 pm

    I wonder if this is done by the same people as Utah valley Mag. They try to cater towards the “upper class” types, and get expensive advertising to print on that very expensive high gloss paper!

    So Alison, why don’t you make your next website: http://www.realwasatchwoman.com or http://www.wasatchwalmartwoman.com. Section headers and suggested articles:
    Real Wasatch Women – Meet women you’ve never heard of making a difference in the trenches (aka their homes)
    Your Health – Faux tuna; Ketchup IS a Vegetable and Kid-Chasing Counts as Exercise.
    Your Finances – Bulk Food Buying, Date Nights for Under $5, and Wheelin’ and Dealin’ at Garage Sales.
    Your Life – Which ones are the weeds? Coping With the Noisy Neighbors Who Blare Eighties Songs, But You Only Like Some of the Tunes, and How To Keep Cats out of the Sandbox.

    Nah… too depressing. Although you sure could make it funny!

  • Sharilee10 June 13, 2007, 11:11 pm

    Your Health – Faux tuna; Ketchup IS a Vegetable and Kid-Chasing Counts as Exercise.

    This is my kind of article!!

  • mlinford June 14, 2007, 12:33 am

    I love it. I would read THAT kind of magazine!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2007, 7:17 pm

    Posted By: spitfireI can be you “overseas” correspondent!!!!

    President Fire (sorry, can’t help it), maybe you can write a column titled “Mission Field Moment”?

    Molly, we’re on!

    Posted By: mollymormonCoping With the Noisy Neighbors Who Blare Eighties Songs, But You Only Like Some of the Tunes

    Huh? Which ones wouldn’t I like???

  • mlinford June 14, 2007, 7:31 pm

    Alison, that article I’d probably end up writing a complaining letter to the editor about. πŸ™‚

  • SilverRain June 14, 2007, 7:45 pm

    OoooOoo! I’ll handle Letters to the Editor! *raises hand* Pickmepickme!!!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2007, 11:13 pm

    I hereby crown Silver Letters to the Editor Editor.

    (Rachel, I think Silver can help you practice that CTR 6 lesson!)

  • SilverRain June 15, 2007, 10:26 am

    Mwahaha! :devil:

  • Rachel June 17, 2007, 9:58 pm

    Ah, if only they would have raised their hands . . . .

  • mollymormon June 18, 2007, 11:04 pm

    Actually, we have those neighbors. And for the most part I like the songs, but there are some annoying eighties songs out there. You may have just forgotten! And I guess I should say those neighbors only do that 3-4 times in the summer. So not really so bad.

    And I’ve gotta say, I do have a recipe for faux tuna. I don’t really see the point, though. And I’ve never made it!

    And goodness gracious. I subbed for the CTR6 class this sunday and WHOA, that was a battle. It was 6 little boys and 1 girl, and they are ACTIVE and chat the whole time! Very little handraising there. At one point in time, I had everyone’s attention, but I was seriously struggling to keep my composure because THREE of them had their fingers up their noses at the same time! Not planned, just coincidence! My own DS was in that class, and he was actually one of the best behaved (although I’ll admit he was one of those three. πŸ™‚ ) He kept saying, “Be Quiet! I can’t HEAR!” Afterwards I talked to the primary counselor who asked me how it went. I said they were a little crazy, but I got through the lesson. She was impressed and said they didn’t like to warn subs before hand about the class!

  • marijessup September 12, 2007, 10:52 am

    ManOMan you guys crack me up, I know this is an old one on page 6 or 7 but laugh I DID!!! I want that mag when ever it gets published. What do you think of LDS Living Mag? I really like it and the articles and the ads are lds of course. Okay, I read the whole postings and had my great laugh for the morning!!! thanks!!!

  • kiar September 12, 2007, 10:30 pm

    I made faux tuna cassorole one time… I went back into the kitchen to get it out of the oven and the can of tuna was sitting there on the counter laughing at me…darn dead fish.

    on the eighties note: you spin me right round, baby right round, like a record baby ,right round round round… that is an annoying song.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 12, 2007, 10:40 pm

    Memories of college, kiar! That was a Dead or Alive hit, an British synth-pop band that is TOTALLY 80’s to me. The 80’s was not only “my” decade, but I lived in England in 1983. So anything British and 80’s, well, you’ve got me.

  • facethemusic September 12, 2007, 10:57 pm

    Thanks alot kiar. Now I’m going to have that “annoying song” stuck in my head for the next 3 days!!! πŸ™‚
    So let’s see….revenge on kiar….

    “Amadeus, AmaDEus
    AmaDEes, Amadeus, AmaDEus
    AmaDEes, Amadeus, AmaDEus
    Woh-oh-oh AmadeUS
    Oh–won’t–cha–rock–me–Am–a–de–us ”

    Now THERE’s some clever lyric writing! I guess that’s one way to get around worrying about rhyme scheme, eh? πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith September 13, 2007, 12:01 am


  • mlinford September 13, 2007, 12:06 am

    Wow. THAT was a blast from the past, Tracy! Zikes!

  • jennycherie September 13, 2007, 6:06 am

    okay, I have a tape of several eighties-ish songs that I have listened to in my van from time to time and now my four year old begs for Erasure. . .actually, she begs to listen to “I love to hate you”

    And unfortunately, those are the only words she can remember. . .

    ooh, I love to hate you
    I love to hate you
    I LOve to Hate you

  • east-of-eden September 13, 2007, 7:44 am

    Now Tracy, if you could give us the German part of Amadeus, that would, like be, like, totally tubeular, like, ya.

    I still have a crush on Duran Duran, thank you.

  • kiar September 13, 2007, 8:31 am

    but hey at least Duran Duran has released something in the last few years!! And who can look at them and not swoon?
    My kids go for the sixties, like “the Lion sleeps tonight”

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