Liberation

Those who participated in women’s suffrage and the women’s liberation movement had good intentions, I’m sure. But somewhere along the road to liberation, something went terribly wrong.

Now, don’t think that I do not appreciate having legal rights as well as varied options as to apparel. But I don’t appreciate being “liberated” from the hold of stay-laces and apron strings only to be delivered into the stranglehold of corporate America. In an economy where every penny counts, I’m thankful that I have a means of earning necessary income. But I strongly resent the fact that most households are now dependent on the wife and mother holding a job outside the home. Women have been so “liberated” from their traditional role that most cannot live in accord with that role, even if that is their heart’s desire. Or worse yet, some must fill the traditional role in addition to working outside of the home to bring in necessary income and/or healthcare benefits. And when I reference necessary income, I mean just that. Not working for “my OWN money” or the ability to acquire luxuries, but simply the necessary provisions for life – food, housing, healthcare, and education for the children.

It appears to me that something is terribly wrong when, in a free society, a woman is free to choose a corporate career, but is not free to choose the role of mother and wife – raising her own children and running a clean, healthy, efficient household.

This is not to say that women are not capable of excelling in any given career path. The issue here is choice. We can choose to be a CEO, managing partner, or a humble entry-level associate. But for most of us, the choice of the oldest and most time-honored career for a woman is simply not an option. Some women must resort to prescription drugs in order to function at a job away from all that they love – simply to provide the necessities. The fact that it must come to that is just wrong on so many levels.

I know I’ve written on this topic in the past, but it is close to my heart and something that I feel quite strongly about. Frankly, I’d rather be laced into a corset and spend the day in a hot kitchen and/or caring for cranky children than be backed into the corner that we modern women find ourselves in. But we must eat and have a roof over our heads, so pop a Xanax and get on with it.

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Of Careers, Values, and What Really Matters

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I’ve often had the thought that if all women could simply do the important jobs that God intended for them, then, well, what a wonderful world it would be.

In the midst of a downward spiral of disillusionment and more than one “Jerry Maguire” moment, I began to wonder why women today are expected to have a career in the corporate jungle. Ask any modern housewife or stay-at-home mom – they can tell you they’ve encountered a disdainful attitude from those who believe that the traditional roles for women are menial and inconsequential. This attitude has always baffled me, as the traditional housewife/mother role is perhaps one of the most important and influential positions to hold, in the grand scheme of things.

Consider this: when you are primary caregiver to a child, providing a warm, loving environment, proper nourishment for body and mind, along with guidance and boundaries to shape a nascent personality, you are investing in the future. Your efforts to raise a child that eventually becomes a healthy, balanced, responsible adult member of society comprise the most worthwhile and rewarding career a woman can have. If each mother could invest in her children this way, then healthy, balanced, responsible adults would number in the millions, and the world would be a very different place. There is a reason why it is the woman who carries the child in her body for nine months and has the capability to produce food for the infant from her own body for an almost indefinite period of time after birth. It is because more than any other person in the child’s life, the mother’s bond with and influence on that child has the greatest impact for years to come. The absence of this bond is just as influential – to the child’s detriment. So why are women expected to relinquish their precious infants to someone else’s care after a just few months of maternity leave, to return to a career that can never be as meaningful as that which is most natural – and be happy about it? Why, if a woman finds a way to stay home and focus all her energies on raising her own child, is she looked down on by some as “just a stay-at-home mom?”

This disdain is not reserved for stay-at-home moms only. Those women who do not have children but are able to stay home in a traditional housewife role also receive a dose of the contempt reserved for non-career women. Even women who hold part-time jobs outside the home are often asked, “Do you want to work full-time?” and, “Do you plan to try for a promotion?” When the answer is no, the response is often incredulous or scornful.

Why is a career viewed as the end-all, be-all goal for people in general? Why is a woman expected to “succeed” in a corporate career while also juggling motherhood and running a household? Something is quite wrong with this picture. Why are the most important things in life pushed aside or put on hold while we pursue meaningless career goals? Family is everything, and those who put this treasure on the back burner in order to achieve a lucrative career or high-status position always live to regret it.

In this time of economic decline, some are beginning to appreciate that the assets of most worth and significance that we have cannot be measured in dollars and cents, nor in material possessions or prestige. They are measured in small hours, little wonders – a baby’s first steps, a child’s laughter, a walk in the park, holding hands with a loved one. It’s never too late to stop and embrace a higher set of values – our families will thank us for it.