A moment with an LDS Living editor

 One word you surely haven’t missed during the U.S. Presidential campaigns with Mitt Romney involved: Mormon. As a Mormon, it’s been intriguing to see Newsweek and TIME declare the past couple years as the “Mormon Moment.”  Today’s writer/editor is a talented friend of mine and fellow Mormon who works for LDS Living magazine. (LDS stands for “Latter-day Saint,” another way to refer to Mormons.) The publication shares “ideas for family, home, relationships, and more.” Kate writes with a beautiful perspective on the world, broadened by her studies of humanities and communication disorders. I hope to be a loving mother like her someday, one who see motherhood to be glorious (see her tender essay below) while contributing professionally. Meet the talented editor, Kate Ensign-Lewis.

Q. You’ve worked with LDS Living magazine for four years now; first, as Associate Editor, now Online Editor. What’s a favorite life-changing story?

[Note: I also interned at LDS Living in 2007––another example that sometimes unpaid internships pay off!]

A. I wrote the cover story for our July/August 2010 issue, called “Heroes at Heart,” highlighting seven people who were doing significant things to make other peoples’ lives better. One woman in particular, Naranjargal Thompson, especially impressed me through her work with street children in Mongolia. She’s crazy busy with her three children, her church, and just life in general, but she uses every spare moment to help these abandoned children in Mongolia. I had never met someone more truly charitable, and she inspired me to become involved. I’ve worked to help her in little ways ever since, and I still hope to go to Mongolia with her one day.

Q. Kate, what prompted your double major in Communication Disorders and English, with a minor in Editing?

A. Indecisiveness. I yo-yoed for three years between science and the humanities, but finally fell in love with linguistics while working on a minor in editing. I wanted to do something service oriented, so, entering my senior year, I petitioned to become part of the new Communication Disorders program (previously Speech Pathology), retaining my minor in editing. It would take me two years from the time I started, and I soon figured out that I could complete a major in English during the same time. So I figured, why not? It would allow me to study the literature I so loved and give me an even more balanced education.

It ended up being perfect for me. I love how the humanities speak to the soul, but I also love the exactness of science––especially the beauty of the human body. It left me with lots of open doors, and having such a broad education has informed my writing all the better.

 Q. As a mama, how do you balance work and family? 

A. I once read that “to be a working mother is to live in a state of constant contradiction.” I think that’s true. If you look at each of the responsibilities separately, they’re counterproductive.

There may not be true balance in it, but I think it’s possible. After listening to working mothers and reading their articles, these are the things I’ve divined: It has to start with setting priorities––priorities of what a particular working mother wants to accomplish professionally and how she wants to parent. Then, whatever professional goals she sets, her children need to know they are her number one priority. After that, a working mom should do everything in her power to have control over her schedule. It’s not always possible, but any flexibility is essential to the sanity of the working mom.

That said, parenthood naturally makes you question yourself. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty flexible schedule, but it’s still a constant emotional struggle with myself to feel like I’m giving my child the attention he needs. When it comes down to it, though, he’s happy and healthy. And for now that tells me that I’m doing okay with the juggling act.

Q. Tough choice, but with your publication experience, which do you think is most important: content or design?

A. As with most things, it’s a balance of the two. People won’t pick up a magazine unless it catches their eye, but they won’t buy it unless they’re interested in the content. It really depends on the audience (general vs. educated), but if I had to pick one, I’d have to say design. As much as I love the content and wish that were still the priority, we’ve become so ADD that even stellar content can be overlooked if it’s boring and has no navigation points. And we like to just look at pictures and captions. Things have to be visually interesting to keep our focus. Now, I wouldn’t be opposed to that changing . . .

 Q. Wondering, Ensign-Lewis, why’d you decide to hyphenate?

A. This actually made me laugh because of an experience I had recently. A reader of ldsliving.com recently labeled me as “feminist” and “fringe” for my last name––but the funniest part is, it’s not my name. My maiden name is Olsen. My husband’s name is Ensign-Lewis; it’s his mom you would need to ask.

A Moment

(as seen on Kate’s blog here)

As I sat among moving boxes nursing my boy and reading some beautiful prose about life, love, and families, I sensed the beginning of that bubbling over feeling — the one that starts with a tingle and ends with a larger-than-self feeling of love for the little being who lay in my arms. I looked down. He had fallen asleep and drifted off me as he usually does, and I felt the irresistible, urgent desire to scoop him up and give him a kiss. So I did. And just as I brought his little cheek to my left and kissed it, he awoke and threw his arms all the way around my neck for a tight hug. My breath caught a little, and I laughed, surprised at the tenderness of it all.

There are moments in motherhood when I realize I have deep bags under my eyes. That my hair is greasy and matted because I haven’t showered in three days, and that all my tops have spit/snot/spit up on both shoulders. But almost invariably I don’t care, because those moments that take my breath away make it overwhelmingly worthwhile.

Motherhood is glorious.

Connect with Kate

Read Kate’s blog: Echoes of My Footsteps
E-mail Kate: kate@ldsliving.com

1 Comment

  1. Love the write up and the bit about motherhood. Nice job!

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