So for as long as I can remember, my goal was to be a stay at home mom when I had children. Oh, I flirted briefly with being a lawyer, a teacher, and at one point a famous actress, but they never quite seemed to fit. I don't know if there was some specific reason why I felt that raising children was going to be the thing I did best in the world, but that is how I have felt since I was a teenager.
I consider myself to be a fairly progressive feminist. But yet, in the media lately, and around the ever-chattering blogosphere, there seems to have been a resurgence in the us vs. them mentality. All I know is that I can only speak to my own feelings and experiences on the topic, and nothing I say is meant to bash or criticize.
The current tide washing ashore at this moment is the ever popular "it is beneath women to stay home" theory. Women who stay at home are abandoning the feminist movement, setting it back. How will girls ever grow up to believe that they can be scientists and doctors and engineers if all moms stay at home to raise their children?
I have a few thoughts on this subject, if you will allow me. And as this happens to be my blog, I will forge ahead.
It is my personal feeling that in choosing to bring a child into the world, that I should devote myself to his or her upbringing. Again, I am only speaking of my own philosophy. I don't think there is anything more important that I myself should be doing other than staying at home with my child.
I don't feel that I demean myself by not working outside the home.
In fact, I felt more demeaned in my former workplaces than I do in my current occupation.
I often thought to myself, is this it? Is all this crap that I am dealing with, from demanding bosses to company culture to generating reports, this is what I have to look forward to for the next 20 years or so?
I have a degree. I was a supervisor, I was paid well, I worked at an world-reknowned research facility.
But nothing is as rewarding to me as being with my child.
To me, saying that women who choose to stay at home with their children are regressive is the same as calling women who are teachers, nurses, or librarians regressive. Aren't those jobs considered "women's work" by many people?
The main thing I feel the feminist movement brought was the power of choice. But somwhere along the line, one of the choices became the "better" one.
If a woman chose to work outside the home, well all the power to her. Somehow, the choice of staying at home became the lesser, the easy way out. It seems there is a strange consensus that the women who leave their jobs to go back into the home are less ambitious, less intelligent, and make less of a contribution to society.
I wasn't aware that the women's movement required all women to follow the same path to happiness.
And I certainly wasn't aware that raising my child and not working simultaneously was considered a detriment to womanhood.
Does anyone really feel threatened that women will "lose their place" in society? That all of a sudden every woman who reports to work in the morning will be sent back home and forced to stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? Do we see a revoking of our voting rights anytime soon? Is it the thinking that the reason that Roe v. Wade might be overturned is because of mothers opting out of the workforce?
I have an idea. Let's stop the infighting that women are so damn famous for, and most of the time, rightfully so. Let's not be like the Democratic party, all splintered and divisive and bickering amongst ourselves while the other side simply steamrolls over us. Ladies, we are the majority! If we could just get our act together and figure out the talking points we need to follow in order for our agenda to be implemented, we would be unstoppable.
Unstoppable, I say!
Since I was so late to the party, I stupidly figured that most people had heard about probably the most polarizing article by Linda Hirshman. But another one published in Salon recently didn't do much for me either, which is probably what promted me to finally write. It is worth it to click on the very brief ad in order to read the article.