Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A rant

Just a little announcement

I am a woman.

Yes, I did marry fairly young. NO, marriage does not mean that I should have popped a baby out nine months after our nuptials.

Yes, I plan on being a working mother. NO, this does not mean I am a pro-choice feminist.

I recently overheard three women (two college students) discussing babies, marriage, and the gender gap. The two college students, both single, were talking about how they felt that the church (and here we come with so many problems -- generalizations) condemned women in the workplace.

One of the students, in fact, said that someone from the church told her that the reason society is in the condition it is today is because of working mothers. Now, I’m not really going to dispute that. I feel that if we had more parents at home and more two-parent (ahem, one man, one woman) households that we would not have the problems today. HOWEVER, I’m not giving all the blame to parents who have to work. Heck, I will have to work after I have children (unless God is willing for another opportunity for my family to arise). My hope (and plan) is for my parents to care for my child(ren) during the workday, and I most likely will have to work.

As much as parents need to take responsibility for their children, I think the government is also to blame. So many European governments have much more lenient rules for parents – Sweden, for example, gives maternity, paternity, AND adoption leave!! AND, if that’s not amazing enough, don’t think that this PAID leave is for the skimpy 12 weeks that we in America usually get – they receive EIGHTEEN MONTHS!!! It’s enough to make you want to pack your bags and learn to speak Swedish.

Why can’t we in America figure this out?
Anyway, I’m digressing because there are so many routes to take with this blog (but I’ll try to keep it fairly short).

I feel sometimes on the issue of “should a mother work?” I take the middle road. I LOVE my job. It stresses me out continuously, I am drowning in my workload, but I love it. I love writing, I love my students, I love it ALL. The good, the bad, the ugly – bring it on.

I do realize that when I have a baby I’ll have to slow down – for good reason. I can’t wait to have a sweet little bundle of joy – but I want to WAIT until it’s the PERFECT time. Oh, and by the way, I do believe that the “perfect time” is different for each couple. If you had a baby nine months after the wedding day (or less, whatever), kudos. That’s your timing. Superman and I, however, are soooooo not ready to be parents.

This comes as a shock to some Christian conservatives (and I use that term loosely and in exchange for other…comments I could call this particular duo I’m referencing) who feel that after three years of marriage, well, heck, we should have at least two kids!

Oh, yeah – we got that spill. In fact, not to go off on another tangent here, but we were called selfish for not having babies. Again, WHAT??!! Sorry, but I didn’t realize making sure everything in your life was as perfect as possible for your future baby was being selfish.

And back to the present again.

I don’t feel that people should be pressured to marry or to have kids. I HATE seeing college girls who feel like they HAVE to have a boyfriend. No, you don’t! I am very grateful that I was raised by parents (both working, btw) who were not only God-fearing, but they taught me how to be independent. Superman came as a shock to me. I hadn’t planned on getting married for a while, and then – BAM. It was perfect timing, and I couldn’t be happier about the situation. And when babies do come, I know (or at least hope, haha) it will be just as wonderful.

So. Let me summarize this blog in a nutshell (because of all the tangents):

1. No one should feel pressured to marry or have children. Not every person is called to be a spouse, nor is every person called to be a parent.

2. The government SHOULD help out with two-working-parent households, but it is unlikely that they will. Until that happy day, I don’t think people should criticize working mothers. If you’re really concerned, HELP A MOTHA’ OUT.

3. The “perfect” time to marry or to have kids is different for everyone. There is no specific age (well, not UNDERage, but you know what I mean…I hope.).

Whew. And I’m done. And I think next time I see those girls (and I will, trust me) I’ll remind them that being a Christian woman does not mean that you have to give up your work dreams.


CR said...

well said!

Anonymous said...

You're right, there is a lot of pressure for women to stay in the home and not work.

This is a biblical deal - women are first and foremost called to be caretakers of their homes (and hubbies, children, housework, etc. all fall under that umbrella).

I think a lot of people judge working women as selfish because in their mind they see no alternative. I have had people comment to me that I shouldn't work (even though I'm still a full-time mom!). When I tell them I have to work to help pay the bills, they come back with , "Well, you could cut back on your expenses." Well, that's true, if my family didn't want to eat! (Of course, if I did quit my job we'd qualify for food stamps, but honestly that's not an option I want to take when my situation works out just fine now... I digress). Even before Princess was born and I didn't have to work (in our old town, obviously), I chose to work because I enjoyed being busy and involved with my church.

The issue comes when mothers (and fathers, too) put their jobs before their families. There is nothing wrong with working, but it cannot take precedence over time spent with your family simply because you want to ladder-climb. I've seen a lot of families suffer because of the, "If I just get this one more promotion..." mentality. There's a difference between working to live and living to work.

We've come under fire from some people about our (tentative) decision to stop at one child. Our reasons are numerous, not just economical (which a lot of people - Christians even - cite along with calling us selfish). The bottom line is it doesn't matter if others think we should have 5-6 kids or not - we have to be obedient to God.

Just my 2 cents.

Brooke said...

preach it sista!! :)

as a single girl i felt the pressure to have a boyfriend and find a husband. at 25 i was an old maid by my regions standards. so i found myself with the wrong guy. and God has more than proved to me that waiting on his timing is the best all around (as if there was ever a doubt)

MInTheGap said...

I don't know if I should say anything to this post. You could end up getting quite the response from me.

Let me leave you with this challenge, however... I understand how you feel, and that you and superman made a decision for you and your family. You alone can do this.

However, I'm missing, in this post, a set of verses or Christian principles that back up your assertions.

And that makes me wonder if the "steam" I see venting here is more about what you feel, and how people are (wrongfully-- to a degree) judging you rather than being upset that God's will is not being followed.

Specifically, I think you need to find, between your family and God, what God thinks about the purpose of marriage, what He believes about women and working, and what examples He lays out.

Lastly, if you find that He asks or commands things that you don't think will work out, I suggest you prayerfully consider who your God is. If God really is the Creator and provider, and He does require that a parent stay home from working to raise a family (both of which have to have a "true" response here), then it will follow that He will provide. He promises to.

Use the "judging" as a chance for self reflection rather than it getting to you-- because if it does bother you that may mean there's some truth to it, and allow for a chance to get the truth from the Sourse.

Lois Lane II said...

To Rachel: I 100% agree!
To MTG: You actually voiced something I was thinking in the back of my mind before I posted this, lol!! I was running around and thought, "I really should get some Scriptures for this," but either distractions or time got in the way. =) Very true, though!