laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

A stay at home feminist?

on March 14, 2011

So, I love the books (well, her latest books anyhow) by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t always agree with all of her viewpoints and beliefs, but something in the way she writes strikes me, in way that kind of makes me want to be her friend. Well, her latest book: Commited, leaves me thinking a variety of things. She is so feministic that she has a hard time admitting aloud that her mother made her life BETTER by being a stay at home mom. And really the way she classifies ALL stay at home moms, leaves me… shaken. Maybe shaken isn’t the right word, maybe scattered is. While I do know that many women have sacrificed their careers for their families; I cannot accept that all of them have done it unwillingly and regretfully. I am fully aware we are all different creatures. Some women have no desire for marriage, some no desire for children… why is it then so surprising that there could be women who’s greatest desire is to have and raise children? Without assuming them devoid of all want of life and/or any other desire. As if they tried to muster up the courage for some world-changing, life altering passion and the most they could come up with was children. What repressed women they must be?! (insert dramatic eye roll here)

I support my “sisters.” My single sisters that just want to do it on their own and have no matrimonial desires- I support them! My married sisters who have decided that a husband and career are the life for them- I support them! My married, working mama sisters, who feel like their work gives them validation they’d never find at home- I support them! Encourage them! Without judgement (or pity! No thoughts that because they’re not doing it “my way” that they’re somehow devoid of the basic desires of a woman heart.)! Because I, in all my feminist form, believe that we are all different, have different desires, different cores of what we find fulfilling- and shouldn’t we all be able to live our lives accordingly, judgement free? Why is that favor not returned? I’m hoping that it’s just their way of protecting their validation towards their life choices, instead of an attack on mine. (we do seem to always want public validation for our choices, don’t we?)

While I have always wanted children, I truly never thought about whether I would stay home or have a job outside the home. It never crossed my mind. Not in high school, or even in college. In fact, in college, I’d probably have said I’d work outside the home, but just as an assumption, not because of a desire to put my life into my career.. Enter the year Big E was born… a neighbor ran a daycare for infants (and good ‘ol Navy housing had paper thin walls)- all I’d hear was those babies crying all day long! That’s when I knew that I WANTED to be the one at home with them. Trust me, if hubbyman could have been the one to stay home, he would have! (but also trust me on the fact that he’s now relieved it didn’t work out that way!) We believe it’s what’s best for OUR children. And really, it’s what’s best FOR ME. I want to do this. Not only does it afford me time to watch them grow, but I have really learned who I am and the things that I really want in life. That’s not to say my only ambition in life is to raise my children… I have other ambitions, and pursue them. And believe that if I felt like the desires of my heart were outside my home, that is where I would be. Were I in a career that I felt really completed the person I am, I would be investing my time in it.  It just happens that, for me, my GREATEST ambition, is raising my children. And today, I am frustrated that I feel the need to defend it. So sisters, as I am on the front lines with you for equality in every setting (not just the workplace), supporting that you have the right to be you, as equal to any other gender… please, be on the front lines with me- support that this is the best me I am. In my home, with my children. And it’s not any less valid and does not make me any less pro-woman to have made these choices. (Did I mention the need for public validation for choices…? apparently I am not immune either)

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