Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don’t put me in a box. Ever.

I have had TOO MANY interactions lately with people who seem to think that American values are going in the toilet, and part of the ‘fix’ would be returning to the ‘good old days’ when all women stayed home with their kids all day and built community through volunteering and charity work.  This is an extension or part of the ‘let’s stop supporting and funding birth control’ conversation.  Forgive me while I roll my eyes and puke and gag all at the same time.

What is happening here?  What it is ain’t exactly clear.
Is this - as suggested by a very smart friend of mine - a symptom of the current trend of glorifying the 50's and 60's in TV shows such as Pan-Am (career choice for women = stewardess and only if you were ‘attractive’), Mad Men (career choice = secretary, coffee getter and object of butt pinches), and Big Love (no career choice, many sister-wives living in submissive harmony)??  Or perhaps people are starting to again believe women are stupid – from shows like Two and a Half men and Jersey Shore.  Or perhaps the rise of pandering on behalf of certain sneaky trojan horse type people under the guise of rising political parties who have strong opinions about ‘a woman’s place' and gaining traction that way. 

Who knows.  I honestly haven't watched many of these shows so need to put that on my 'to do list' to see if that is indeed a contributing factor.  But I hear too much screen time rots your brain.  Plus need I remind you – I have two youngsters, ONE husband, 3 dogs and a full time job. 
The truth of the matter is those ‘glory days’ sucked for women big time and I have no interest in returning there.  What woman in her right mind would want to???  

The other truth of the matter – on a personal note - is I don’t want to stay home with my kids all day. 
My parents worked hard to put me through college.  I worked hard to pay for and earn two master’s degrees.  I have an impressive 12-year resume in a field of work that I absolutely love (toot tooting my own horn).  It fits me like a glove.  I am so much better at doing my day job than everything I know I would try to do at home: do daily educational and art lessons, provide 3 healthy meals and snacks, coordinate sleep schedules, ensure socialization with other children, make sure they spent time outside.  I know I would not be good at that.  I would be depressed.  I would wind up doing volunteer and community work, figuring out how to take my children with me to city council meetings, trying to arrange daycare I couldn’t afford.  I call all of that work and I might as well get paid for it! 

Do NOT mistake this for not loving my children. They are first in my heart and mind ALWAYS.
Do NOT mistake this for disrespecting or thinking less of women who choose to work at home, taking care of the house and everyone in it.   (See above.  They probably do more work than I do daily.)

Do NOT mistake this for an opinion about how others should live their lives. It is what's best for me and our family.  My husband knew this about me from the start and supports me in every way.

The beauty of the world today is women have  more choices.  Not as many as we should, and they’re not available to all women equally across socioeconomic classes, and the jury's still out as to whether we can truly 'have it all.'  But the *availability of choices* -- THAT is where the cultural shift needs to happen. 
Women don’t need to change.  Don't take away my choices.  Don’t take away my birth control.  Don’t force every one of the eggs in my ovaries to become a baby.  Don’t put me in a stay-at-home box or a working-woman box.  Don’t put me in a box at all.  Ever.  Don’t try to change women or moms to fit the current messed up socioeconomic, health care, daycare, employment, good-old-boy, (etc.)  systems. 
Change the Systems to fit us.  All of us.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Awesome writing. I hope you get lots of readers.
    Love you!
    Auntie M.