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

Gotta Go–My Shows Are On

Well, it happened again.  I watched the news.

This morning I had the great joy of hearing that some Democratic strategist has criticized Ann Romney for being a stay at home mom.  The strategist, Hilary Rosen, said that Ann could be of no use on economic issues because she had “never worked a day in her life.”

Now Rosen is trying to backtrack.  Apparently thousands of stay at home moms have tracked her down and left their children with her.

No, seriously, Rosen is backtracking because even the president stepped up to defend Ann Romney by saying that being a “housewife” (my word, not his) is a tough job.  Now Rosen is saying that she only meant that Ann Romney was a wealthy woman who had nannies and such and so never had to deal with the real economic and social concerns of the typical American woman.

Too little, too late, bitch.

The truth is, she’s trying to cover her own ass now because she is getting such a backlash, even from the president of the United States.  I feel quite sure, as a working woman herself, Rosen absolutely believed what she said.  She thinks that because a stay at home moms like myself don’t contribute to the economy, we don’t know anything about it.

This is a very sensitive subject to me.  With the modern economy, it’s very hard for a lot of families to make it on just one income.  I realize that.  We were in that situation a long time ago–before we had kids.  Once I found out I was pregnant, I decided that being the primary caretaker for my own children was more important to me than maintaining our lifestyle.  We downgraded our vehicle and tightened our belts (which were already pretty tight.) I haven’t been back to work since.  I always thought that when the kids were older I might go back to work, but then the reality of Evelyn’s life came up, and then I started caring full-time for my sister, and there you go.

But this isn’t about the fact that I have to stay home now.  It’s about the fact that I wanted to stay home to raise my kids.

I think lots of people actually believe stay at home moms are less than their working counterparts.  They think we don’t have a real life, and that we don’t contribute to society.  I wonder how many people still have the notion of the old-fashioned “housewife?”  Since I love lists so much, allow me to demystify the life of the modern stay at home mom in list form.

  • I am the money manager in this house.  I have a great grip on the economy, although I apparently don’t contribute to it.  I buy the groceries, make the payments, and balance the checkbook.  Even though my husband earned the money, we both still take care of it. (See the next point.)
  • My husband and I don’t have “our own” money.  If we couldn’t trust each other with money, then we had no business getting married.
  • I have never had to worry about what my kids were being exposed to and who was taking care of them.  I’ve never paid for child care.  Here’s another little myth imploded for all you working folks out there: my kids are not so attached to me that they can’t be separated from me.  They have never slept with me.  My son had zero anxiety about going to school, because I raised him with self-confidence.  He has never been afraid to spend the night with a friend.  So there.
  • My husband and I are partners. I don’t serve him because he brings home the paychecks.  He has always been an active parent–he changes diapers and bathes and feeds.  Yes, I do most of the housework.  Know why?  Because I want it done a certain way, and the best way to ensure that is to do it myself.  Also, I do happen to think that because I’m the one who is here all day, it’s my fair share to do it.  It doesn’t hurt me.
  • I don’t get to sit and watch soap operas all day.  In fact, I don’t sit much at all during the day.  I do most of my sitting at night, after everyone is in bed.  I would imagine that’s when “working” moms get to sit down, too.
  • I do get stressed, and sometimes I feel isolated, but I’m not sure going to work every day would alleviate either of those problems.  I would go out on a limb and say that it might even make them worse.

I could rant all day long about this, but I won’t (you’re welcome.) The short version is this: forget about June Cleaver, and forget about the housewife laying on the couch, watching “General Hospital” and eating bonbons.  Also, I’m not going to make rude generalizations about working mothers, although I certainly could.

I have a great job.  I get to care for the people who mean the most to me.  Maybe I don’t get to dress up every day and go out and “contribute” to the world.  Instead, I contribute to my family.

I think that’s okay, don’t you?

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