I know there have been plenty of responses to Amy Glass’ post on Thought Catalog entitled “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry”, and I seriously considered not writing one because the post is barely worthy of a response. Plus, other responses have pretty much said it all. But then I realized I simply have too much to say on this topic to not respond somehow. So, in case you haven’t read the article, I’m going to post it here with my own responses/comments inserted into the original piece. My comments will be in bold.
Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit. Oh no, Amy, we’re already off to a bad start here.
Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? Yes, yes I think they do. They’re different but equal. There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers. Those mommy bloggers are a scary breed, huh?! *wink* But seriously, I think that as a society we just understand that we need some women who are willing to stay home and we also need women who will go to work and climb the corporate ladders and do great things in the business world. Actually, this same idea holds true for men, in my opinion.
Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. Mainly because they are. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. Personally, I think the celebrations are held because as a community we get together to support two people who are promising to be together for the rest of their lives. A promise this serious and important requires a community of support, not just the consent of the two individuals. Now, I’m not a mom (for 5 more months!) but I hear that raising kids is hard and also takes a village. So, the community celebrates these new unions and lives because they are going to be intimately involved in these new entities going forward. (Sorry for calling a baby an ‘entity’, I couldn’t think of a better word!) These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. Well, except for the people who want to be married and haven’t found ‘the one’ or the couples who have been trying for years and can’t get pregnant or adopt… But I mean, I guess? They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average? I got married. I got knocked up. I don’t consider myself ‘average’ in any sense of the word. I consider myself an extraordinary human being (as are all human beings) and I’m simply living my life in a way that society probably considers ‘normal’ for a woman of my age.
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing? Nothing?! I went to college. Got a big girl career (which I’ve been in for six years), became a CPA, traveled quite a bit… and then I got married and will have a baby (hopefully even a few, someday!) and after my little one makes his/her big appearance I’ll probably stay at home full-time and then maybe go back to work part time. Maybe eventually I’ll even go back full-time. Maybe. But I surely don’t think my life will boil down into ‘doing nothing’ because I’ll be choosing to spend my day NOT at an office helping companies implement new technology systems or closing their general ledgers (which is what I’ve done for the past few years and have found horribly unfulfilling in general).
I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, been there – done that (without the backpack)… didn’t need a shower. It’s pretty easy to travel, actually! I didn’t need a whole lot of community support. Or any support, really. I’m independent enough to buy my own plane ticket and get to Asia and plan a trip and have adventures by myself or with my close friends without needing to register for a whole slew of gifts. gets a promotion, can’t we just go out for drinks for this one? I thought that was an acceptable celebration? or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. I think the reason for showers is lost on you, Amy. Even though I don’t necessarily LOVE showers, I totally support the idea of a female community getting together to support one of their own in a new life endeavor. One that is going to last a LIFETIME, not one that will last a few weeks or months. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality. I’m quite sure I can travel with kids. Or I can drop the kids off at Grandma’s. But I’ll keep you posted on this! Challenge accepted!
Nothing to see here! Just a whole lot of normal and average stuff happening! No celebrations necessary!
You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids. I guess all I care about is that my family and close friends think I’m exceptional, not what society thinks of my contributions. Although, I hope that my time at home will afford me some opportunities to volunteer more and maybe even raise other little humans that care about this world we live in! Personally, I can think of no greater way to be ‘exceptional’ than to be an exceptional mom or an exceptional wife or an exceptional friend. I think that sounds like the greatest compliment in the world.
I hear women talk about how “hard” I’m just going to pretend that you’re using quotes because it’s a direct quote from someone and not because you don’t believe it’s actually hard… it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. There are a great many things, in my experience, that men don’t talk about that women do talk about. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Oh gosh. Well, if raising kids is easier than my career has been, I’m in for a treat! I don’t actually think work is that challenging most of the time. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” This is a generalization, but I guess we’ll go with it. They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.” I’m fairly certain my husband views managing a household as VERY important, and if I made more money than him, we’d talk about whether it made sense for him to stay home instead. As it is, I’m going to be the one raising a baby so he can work and make the big bucks. But not for a second do I believe my husband thinks his job and his accomplishments at work are more important than the family he has at home and the little one I’m growing in my belly (or uterus, whatever, that’s a technicality). I think it’s sad to think that we – as a society – think a job (a way to make money) is more important than family/friends/relationships. I do not live to work, I work to live. I work to be able to travel. To buy ice cream on a hot day. To be able to take care of my basic needs. I do not work for recognition or for pats on the back or for ‘real accomplishments’. The biggest accomplishments of my life have happened outside of work: running marathons, traveling the world (sometimes independently), getting married, creating lifelong friendships, etc.
Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. Or when more people in our society acknowledge the importance of family and create benefits and framework that support that view. They are not equal. I guess I don’t understand what ‘equal’ even means. Work is work, it’s just a way to pass the day. If people truly enjoy what they do – awesome! But in my opinion, the only difference between ‘real’ work and housework is that people get paid for ‘real’ work and women/men who stay at home do a whole lot of stuff for free because, darnit, someone needs to do it! I know that when I was unemployed the Husband LOVED that I didn’t work. I had so much more time to devote to household stuff and him and I was never stressed… it made our relationship better for sure! Win-win. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, Amy!
Sorry, my comments got a little long there! But you get the general idea.
Amy actually wrote a response to the criticism in her original post, but I must tell you, I was not at all satisfied with it.
I think this type of article makes me agitated because there is no reason for women to put other women down because of the choices they are choosing to make about their roles in their family. I know that in my household/marriage we’ve had a great many discussions about each of our roles in our (current and growing) family, and we’re doing what makes sense for us. And that could definitely change over time. It’s not just that I want to stay home (in a few months), it’s that the Husband and I mutually agree that we want to raise our child(ren) with a full-time parent. And that’s important to us. More important than me accomplishing things at work or climbing the corporate ladder.
I’m choosing family/household full-time because it’s the right decision for us. I also think working full-time or part-time is 100% the right decision for some wives/moms. I think families, and not just women, make these decisions based on a great many factors, none of which should be taken lightly. But to say that the women who stay at home aren’t doing anything important with their lives… well, it’s a shame that a woman would judge another woman’s role and decision so harshly.
Cheers (and thanks for reading this extra-wordy post!)