My friend Aria linked to this post yesterday and the message rang true for me. I'm not usually that vocal about "mommy war" issues. I have no issue calling myself a feminist (I wrote a page-long paper of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in 6th grade and never looked back) and a full-time mom (ironic? of course...), and the work that I am doing as a mother, raising a strong, confident, funny girl feels infinitely more important to me right now than the many hours I spent attending meetings to schedule other meetings and sitting behind a computer in an office. I'm not saying the work that I did wasn't important, it just wasn't that creative or meaningful for me. I am so lucky to be able to stay at home, and will readily admit that, selfishly, I want to be here to witness all those milestones and daily occurrences. Staying at home won't last forever, and the time I have to do it is so short and it's going by so fast...I am relishing the days and doing what I can to impart confidence and my own knowledge about the world. I don't think this makes me less of a (creative? successful?) woman or more of a (womanly?) woman. I think it just makes me me.
Mothers who point fingers at other women for making decisions that are either necessary for them and the livelihood of their families or feel right for them and their children, grate on me to no end.
I appreciate this by Glennon of Momastery:
And if every woman made the same decision, how would my children learn that sometimes motherhood looks like going to work to put food on the table or stay sane or share your gifts or because you want to work and you’ve earned that right. And that other times motherhood looks like staying home for all of the exact same reasons.
As far as I can tell, no matter what decision a woman makes, she’s offering an invaluable gift to my daughters and me. So I’d like to thank all of you. Because I’m not necessarily trying to raise an executive or a mommy. I’m trying to raise a woman. And there are as many different right ways to be a woman as there are women.
So, angry, debating ladies… here’s the thing. My daughter is watching me AND you to learn what it means to be a woman. And I’d like her to learn that a woman’s value is determined less by her career choices and more by how she treats other women, in particular, women who are different than she is. I’d like her to learn that her strength is defined by her honesty and her ability to exist in grey areas without succumbing to masking her insecurities with generalizations or accusations. And I’d like her to learn that the only way to be both graceful and powerful is to dance among the endless definitions of the word woman… and to refuse to organize women into categories, to view ideas in black and white, or to choose sides and come out swinging. Because being a woman is not that easy, and it’s not that hard.