Sunday, January 9, 2011

Militant Stay at Home Motherhood

When I was growing up my mother worked part time. No one ever told me, until I was a teenager that I could not do something because I was a girl. My mother unintentionally raised a feminist. I really hate the word feminist. It seems to imply female superiority. I do understand that basically it just seeks female equality and was coined in a time when women were the down trodden masses while being simultaneously put on a pedestal and told they had the minds of kids with nice tits. Still I dislike the word.

When I was in college I was having a conversation with a girl in a campus Christian group called Ki Alpha. She was engaged to be married, I think. I was talking about my family and chose my words incorrectly. I said: "My mother is just a stay at home mother." (At the time she was not being licensed for dentistry in the US). The girl became very upset with me and felt like I was belittling stay at home mother hood. She explained to me, in a way I recall as hostile that she was intending to be a stay at home mother and how that was in her opinion the greatest job a woman could have. I explained to her that I meant no disrespect and my mother was a great stay at home mother and all that. That it was a perfectly respectable life choice. I never spoke to her personally again.

Since then I have been a stay at home mother for many years by default. For her it was a choice. Raising kids was going to be her career, her goal in life. She got a college education to raise her kids, that is fine. For me it was not a choice. I never dreamed of being a stay at home mom. In fact I was never really was sure I wanted kids.

I have thought since my conversation what got her so upset with the little, miss chosen word just. Many stay at home moms are always on the defensive about it. I wonder if it was that she had been criticizes for her plan before, maybe she thought having job instead of staying at home with the kids was unforgivably selfish for a woman or that she was not entirely confident in her choice. I will never know the answer to that.

I guess I understand her upsetness in a way because once after a Sunday school class in a Baptist church that dealt in successful marriages. It was taught by a couple who had been married a mere nine years and the husband acted like he needed to convince himself that he was the boss of his wife by saying "Christ, church, Christ, church" all the time (when he said Christ he pointed to himself and when he said church he pointed to his wife). If one is the true leader of something one does not need to posture like that, mmmkay. Their basic message was that after marriage a woman should never work and the man should be the primary, and only breadwinner and their way was the only Biblical way to do it. Needless to say I was extremely upset after this class. A girl asked me what I had thought about the class and stupidly I told her the truth. She told me that I had a problem with submission and I was too prideful. I did not reply to her.

I firmly believe in a parent's right to stay at home and care for their kids and not working. I also believe in my right to want to have a dang job. Maybe all those dear mommies and working women need to get the chips off their shoulders so I can talk about my lack of a career freely with the words I choose with out getting a tongue lashing from someone more righteous. It is so hard to trust Christians sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. "Their basic message was that after marriage a woman should never work and the man should be the primary, and only breadwinner and their way was the only Biblical way to do it."

    I can see why you were upset. Even in the Old Testament it gave demonstrations of how women busted ass. If you put some dainty, apron-clad, submissive, prissy, over-hygienic June Cleaver in that time period, she would have been seen as mentally, physically and emotionally weak and superficial as well as lazy and spoiled.