Equal, but Different, Part 2 (Finally!)

I’ll just jump straight into it, shall I?

When you start talking about what a woman should and shouldn’t do, and Feminism, and Equality, you’d better be ready to make some people mad.

I’m ready.

This post is not about what I’ve read or what science or statistics tell us.  It’s about what I’ve observed during the course of my life, and what I believe.  I already told you what some statistics suggest and what the various arguments are.  I’ve had some wonderful comments, all of which were honest and adult, and all made excellent points.

First, I’ll start by saying that I think equality is very important.  If I decided to go become, say, a college professor, then if my experience and qualifications are equal to my male counterparts, I should get paid equally.  We should be treated equally.  This seems like common sense to me.  Equal pay for equal work and all of that.

Here’s the thing–equality is great, but just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do something.  I could go to work tomorrow if I wanted to.  But I don’t.  I want to stay home and take care of my family.  Why?  Because–gasp!–I think that is my job.

I said it.

I am a woman.  I don’t think my husband is better than me, but we are different, and I don’t just mean in all of the obvious ways.  Some of the comments suggested that they didn’t want to go back to the little wifey being tethered to the house, but it’s not about that. It’s about responsibility.  When I elected to become pregnant and have babies, it became my responsibility to take care of those babies.  I’m sure someone will say they have ten kids and all ten are by different daddies and they were all raised in daycare and now they are all attending Ivy League schools.  Great.  But the truth is that no one can take care of my kids the way I do.

No one.

Every time I go to the store, I see some little old lady with a little kid.  When Evelyn had her last 24 hour EEG, there was a three-year-old little boy having one in the next room, and it was his grandmother who stayed with him.  Now, I don’t know what the situation might have been, and I guess I’m passing judgement, but the fact remains that if I hadn’t been able to stay with my daughter during that test, well, the test would have been rescheduled until I could have.

I know some people need that second income,  but let’s be honest–sometimes it’s to maintain a lifestyle, not to provide necessities.  And sometimes, it’s just because a woman couldn’t imagine being “tethered” to the home.

That’s what pisses me off the most–the fact that somehow working women are more impressive than me.  They are juggling a career and a family.  But sometimes, I think they are dropping the ball.

Even as a wife, I find myself in support of a more traditional role.  I do most of the cooking and cleaning and laundry.  My husband is a wonderful partner, and all of my teasing is just that–teasing.  He is a wonderful father who has never turned up his nose at a poopy diaper or a vomiting child.  He is an excellent cook, and he enjoys cooking from time to time. We are a team, and I couldn’t function without him.  But ultimately, he’s the provider and I’m the stay at home mom.  And I like it like that.  Know what?  I’m better at being the wife and mom, because for whatever reason you want to believe–divine design, evolution, whatever–women are made for that role.  It fits.  I feel very comfortable and safe with my husband.  It’s silly, but I feel like nothing bad can happen when he’s with us.

For some reason, the family seems to be under attack in our society.  It’s no big deal to get a divorce if things get tough.  It’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable, to have sex with as many people as possible, with no attachments or responsibilities.  If you wait to have sex until you get married, people make fun of you.  Women are constantly lamenting that there are “no good men” to find, but I wonder if they ever stop and realize why.  I would love to know their definition of a good man–it seems like it might be a man with no opinion of his own that cleans, cooks, and expects absolutely nothing in return.  Conversely, I think men are so disillusioned that they want a hot little woman who also has no opinion and waits on them hand and foot and has sex whenever he wants with no physical expectations of her own.  It’s not so hard to figure out why half of all marriages end in divorce, is it?

(There is a whole other topic here, about how in our modern society we are raised to be always right, and how we cannot bend even a little, and so all of our relationships tank.  I’ll just skate on past that for now.)

I see husbands and wives who not only don’t get along, they seem to actually hate each other.  The way they talk to and about each other is mind-boggling.

Then there is this whole other topic of teen pregnancy.  I live in an area where this is a huge problem, and it was even when I was in high school a hundred years ago.  Scroll back up and read about granny taking care of the babies–that’s generally what happens.

I’m not even going to touch on the pressure that is on women to look a certain way.  I wonder what modern Feminists think about that?

This has been quite rambling, and I’m sorry.  Here’s the heart of it all–modern women are supposedly enlightened, empowered, and ready to take over the world.  The crux?  Just about every modern woman I know is unhappy.

Out of all the women I know, I would say 95% of them take some sort of mood stabilizing drug.  That’s a conservative estimate.  Many are unhappy with their relationships, they can’t control their kids, they’ve been divorced, they hate their jobs, they are totally unsatisfied with the way they look–the list goes on forever.  So if we are so empowered, why are we so unhappy?  You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

I’m not going to kid you–sometimes I get unhappy, too.  I have a naturally dark, moody type of personality.  I always have.  But the things I worry about are different.  I worry about my kids, and if they are going to be okay.  I worry that I won’t be able to protect them forever.  Some people might think I’m overprotective, and that I hover over my kids.  An acquaintance of mine made the comment during a soccer game a couple of months ago that I was a little overprotective.  I bit my tongue and just smiled, but what I wanted to tell her was that I thought she was little too permissive, and that I wasn’t comfortable dumping my kids off somewhere and then heading in the opposite direction as fast as I could go.  But I digress.

So–long, long story a little shorter, I do think women are selling themselves short by trying to do everything.  I think it’s okay for a woman to stay at home and take care of her home and her family, and she should be able to do that without feeling bad about it, or feeling unimportant.  I think it’s okay to embrace being a woman.  I don’t want to do everything that a man does.  I think my job is just as valuable, maybe more so.  I’m better at it.  Sure, it’s hard sometimes, but that’s okay–I was made for it.

What about you?

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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11 Comments on "Equal, but Different, Part 2 (Finally!)"

  1. Kerstin
    19/07/2012 at 12:55 am Permalink

    Personally, I would be JUST FINE with having a stay-at-home husband and I think he could take care of our kids just as well as I can 😉 It’s in my nature to be the non-domestic type, I’m very driven and want to accomplish things for my personal self-actualization.
    However, we have a good arrangement going now, with my husband being the main bread winner and me working part time, because that’s what my family needs right now.
    The good thing is that it’s not written in stone, it can change anytime, my husband and I are a good team.

    Other than that, I think every woman (and man for that matter) has to have the courage and knowledge to find out/know what’s best for them and stand up for it. It’s all about being accountable and responsible for your own life (and that of your children), because everything is actually possible nowadays and there is always a way.
    The problem is just that people always need someone to blame.

  2. Grace
    19/07/2012 at 1:23 am Permalink

    I agree 100%!

    For the first 38 years of my life I lived the “secular dream”, which was in fact a nightmare for me. Two divorces, drug addiction, rehab, therapy, you name it.

    When I decided to turn my life around, I looked to a more moral and traditional life. I started over. I waited until marriage to sleep with my husband (or to even hold hands!)

    I’ve never felt more “at home” with myself, my life choices, or my family. I have a wonderful relationship with my Creator, and I am content. What more could anyone ask for?

  3. christina
    19/07/2012 at 2:03 pm Permalink

    while i agree with much of what you’re saying, i did take a little offense to some of it- particularly the part that made me feel like because i do have to work full time outsdie of the home, i’m not taking care of my child. i’m not working outside of the home b/c i have a point to prove or b/c i “can do it all.” I DON’T WANT TO DO IT ALL but guess what? i have to. yes, i have a husband and yes, we’re in a dual income household but it’s not b/c we live a lavish lifestyle. it’s just the way it HAS to be right now. and regardless, my girl is not being raised by daycare; she’s there for 9 hours a day and 2 hours of that she spends sleeping. the rest of that time she’s learning, she’s playing, she’s creating. and, if i must say so myself, she’s pretty damn awesome for not being able to stay home with mama all day. (i used to feel guilty about this but i don’t anymore b/c of how incredibly well adjusted she is and b/c it just works well for us… that said, i’d LOVE to be home with her and don’t EVER think negatively about women who are able or who choose to stay home with their kids.)

  4. Janice
    19/07/2012 at 3:38 pm Permalink

    If I came across a little strong,it is because of the negative image that seems to have arisen towards stay at home mom’s. The attitude seems to be that I’m settling or giving something up by staying at home. You cannot deny that is the message perpetuated by mainstream media.

    I don’t doubt there are millions of kids who do just fine with whatever their situation is. I was one myself. But I will never, ever concede that anyone can care for my kids like me.

  5. Janice
    20/07/2012 at 8:16 am Permalink

    I wanted to add that in modern society, housewifery is portrayed as either Ward and June or Wisteria Lane. You know?

  6. narf7
    23/07/2012 at 6:06 pm Permalink

    I also agree…I elected to stay at home and raise my 3 children and spent most of my days feeling like a pariah. I didn’t care if people downgraded my position to “lazy stay at home bum” which was pretty much what you were if you were not out earning as much as you could in the 80’s. Again…I didn’t care what people thought of me and my 3 children (the oldest now 30) are able to work with what they have, they are intelligent, problem solving adults who I am extremely proud of. I would go as far as to say why would you have children if you were going to dump them on grandma! Poor grandma has already done her bit for society producing YOU! Why should she spend the years of her life when she should be exploring life looking after your children? Society is designed and aimed at fragmented families. I watched a television program last night about how todays kids can’t do ANYTHING. Oh… sorry…a group of kids COULD make a movie on their laptop in 2 hours. Aside from that they set small groups of them simple tasks and the ONLY kids that could complete their task were a small group of boys who were able to hang a picture on a wall. The group set to change a tyre did $800 damage to the car without being able to work out how to remove the tyre at all. Why are our kids so technologically “able” and yet can’t quite get to grips with the common sense that will keep them alive and functioning in todays world? Because no-one is teaching them the important things THAT is why. There isn’t anyone left with the time or inclination to teach kids about life and what matters any more in the race to get “stuff”…we deserve the society that we get if we don’t promote nurturing families. Whoever stays at home (I don’t care) just make sure that someone does and that they are given sufficient support and kudos to do this invaluable service to their children and the future of society as a whole…the teenagers couldn’t even work out how to boil an egg! I rest my case!

  7. Janice
    23/07/2012 at 7:52 pm Permalink

    I homeschool my son, and believe it or not, some of the stuff we do is stuff like cooking, and balancing a checkbook, and household responsibilities. These skills are taught at home.

  8. Carolyn
    29/07/2012 at 2:27 pm Permalink

    That was very well written and I have to agree that just because we CAN do it all does not mean we HAVE TO do it all. I have the utmost respect and admiration for stay at home moms. It is difficult and under-acknowledged. I love children. I’m told by many people I would make a great mom. But I chose not to because my business takes me away from home for too many hours a day and I would feel resentful towards my husband if he got to stay home with our kids and I didn’t. Do I sometimes regret not having children, yes. But I also still feel I made the right decision for my husband and I.

  9. Rachel Howells
    03/08/2012 at 2:26 pm Permalink

    I think the point of feminism, as I choose to understand it, is that women, as fully sentient beings capable of independent thought, feeling and innovation, should be free to lead their lives as they wish or as they see fit (within the confines of law and, I would hope, the boundaries of human rights). If you want to stay at home with your children and you are able to do that, I don’t think it should even be open to debate or conjecture. It’s a matter of personal choice and the freedom to make that choice based on criteria we set for ourselves (although an argument could be made that this criteria is actually implanted via mechanisms of religion, culture, geography, experiences of upbringing etc, but that would just lead me on a tangent so I’ll stop there).

    I like that you are able to express your views in no uncertain terms. It always makes your blog a pleasure to read! Cheers 🙂

  10. Janice
    03/08/2012 at 3:51 pm Permalink

    I agree totally about the freedom of lifestyle choice. But where I get a little blurry sometimes is where my “freedom” steps on others. For example, when I have a kid, I owe that kid a certain level of responsibility. We make the “choice” to bring them into this world, and they are counting on us to give them our best.

    To me, this is an honor and a privilege that a man can never fully appreciate. Yet somehow it has become a second class status. Interesting commentary on the state of our culture, wouldn’t you say?

  11. Samantha
    03/08/2012 at 6:19 pm Permalink

    I love a good opinionated post!

    I don’t understand the view that being a ‘SAHM’ is somehow a cop-out. Due to financial reasons (during the year I am able to work at home), I was forced to find a job outside the home for the summer months, and although I HATE being away from my daughter… I can’t deny that going to work, turning on my computer, sorting my stack of work and juggling all of my ‘work stuff’ is SO MUCH EASIER than the insane of amount of running around and switching gears that is constantly required when you are watching a toddler. And I only have one! I’m frankly terrified of when baby #2 arrives in fall!

    I totally agree that as a mother, my priority should be – as much as possible – to raise my children. And unfortunately for us it just isn’t possible all the time. And sometimes… it’s just really hard! 🙂

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