Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Career paths for women lead to motherhood

In a conversation I was having the other day I was asked, "so what do you do?"
Strangely enough I took offense to the question and retorted sarcastically, "you mean besides being a mom?" I wasnt sure why that simple question came across as such a personal attack to me until I stumbled across this article about female college graduates who are choosing motherhood as their career. In it, I read this statement from a female student at Harvard. "Men really arent put in that position." (Refering to the choice between a career and raising a family). I guess I have always known that to be true but it really hit home when I read it. And my question became...why not?
Now I am not what some would call a femi-natzi but I do still struggle with the fact that women seemingly have to make more personally sacrificial decisions in life, than men do. My point is not to dumb down the hard choices men have to make to support their families but to recognize the hard choices that seem a little more black and white (them or me) that women have to make. I recognize that I am coming from the perspective of a woman and I admit to not having as much of an understanding of the choices of men. Therefore what I say may come out with a slant. But none the less please hear my heart on this.
I graduated college with the dream of working with troubled youth in a recreational environment. I had started on a path toward that goal until I had Jaxon. Then I had to choose. I chose my son. My husband had to make a choice too and he went into full time ministry, leaving his touring days as an experience of the past. But essentially he is still in music.
I know that there are people who have done well at balancing parenting and careers. I also know that there are people reading this that want to tell me that I can still work with troubled youth at some level. But much like a professor at Yale explains in the article, "At the height of the women's movement and shortly thereafter, women were much more firm in their expectation that they could somehow combine full-time work with childrearing. The women today are, in effect, turning realistic."
Bottom Line: Devoting as much time and attention to Jaxon as I am able to now, as a stay at home mom, while working a full time or even part time job would be impossible. I dont resent the fact that I am a mother, in fact Ive always dreamed of being one. I just felt obliged to highlight the inevitable choices that every women has to make when entering into the stage of starting a family. And that when asked, "so what do you do?" I am reminded that albeit expected on the part of the woman, being a mother isnt regarded as highly as a career or as something note-worthy by the general public. That saddens me.

3 comments:

Bethany Shea Roe said...

Interesting blog, Bethany. It is sad that our society does not see motherhood as important as careers. My personal belief is that we have gotten so far from the design that God created. I am not saying it is wrong for a woman to have a career and be successful, that would be limiting God. I do strongly believe though, that God created women to be primarily nurterers- the ones primarily responsible for the day-to-day raising of children, and because of what our culture teaches, many women now grow up seeing that role, that calling as I believe it is, as second best. What greater calling that to be responsible for someone else's life. Parents have a ridiculous amount of input and influence over there children, and too many parents in our dear country are more concerned about their own lives- hence the many millions of troubled teens.
I believe God will continue to release your vision to work with girls, and each step of motherhood is a pivotal part of that process.

MOM said...

Motherhood is the highest calling - you are responsible for future generations, families & therefore countries! Your input should be yours - not anothers. I am grateful for all of the time I had with my children and regret the times I had to be away. Fortunately, God took care of them and look how great you've turned out!!! o)

Iz said...

In my profession, I have often found myself opening the ritual of small talk with that line, ..."So, what do you do?" Several months ago, I actually THOUGHT about it before I said it to yet another person. And thought about exactly the point you've brought up. For these last few months my opening line is now, "So, what's your story?" Being in my chair should be about healing, revelation, and new direction...not defending choices. Parenthood is the most important job...and too few in our society choose to do it wholeheartedly. And our society suffers because of it. It isn't about what you do...it's about who you are.

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