I hear a lot about how women don't have the opportunity to have both a career and a family.
But, I would say that women DO have choices in this area, and it is going to be up to them to decide what they want, and then be big girls and deal with the consequences.
Here's what I mean.
Choice #1: Be a stay-at-home mom. Some women LOVE making a home for their family and raising their kids FULL-TIME. They love creating environments for learning and comfort and refuge. They love to create dishes that are fun, nutritious, and pleasing to the eye! They love to homeschool their kids, or they love to send their kids to school and do stuff in the community that requires a volunteer position. Or, maybe they don't really love these things, but they see the value in it and see that it is the best for their family if they don't spend money on daycare or if the kids have a parent there teaching them instead of sending the kids to daycare.
Choice #2: Be a career-focused mom. Some women don't want kids. They'd rather pursue other worthy and important aspects of the social realm. They want to work themselves up the corporate chain, whether for money and security, or for self-satisfaction, or to prove themselves to others, or for some some worthy cause that advances the Kingdom of God. Maybe these women work 40 hours a week, maybe 60, maybe 80. Many of these women are going to be the breadwinner of the family, or an equal contributer. Some of their husbands are going to be stay-at-home dads.
Choice #3: Be an involved mother and a career woman. This woman tries to balance being there for her family, raising kids...and being successful in a career. This choice is hard. Some of these women don't have supportive husbands who will give up their career for her desire to have a career. Some of these women need to work, along with their husbands, to put food on the table and a roof over the family's head. Others really are torn between the deep desire for motherhood and for a career. Many of these women have probably not had serious conversations with their husbands BEFORE getting married and BEFORE having kids about what they want. Many of these women feel the desire to work, but the desire to have kids, and feel like their work is being sabotaged because they won't/can't put in the long hours required to keep promotions and "keep up with all those men who are getting raises". Many women feel resentful about this...many because they want the best of both worlds.
Here's what I've been mulling around in my head...many women have choices about their role in the home. The problem is, this conversation is not had before getting married, and many women are married to men who are not supporting them. But, these women have choose to marry these men. It's so sad that there are some jerks out there who think that women have to be in the home no matter what the woman wants. But, maybe we just choose not to marry them?
Again, I have had the privilege of having a great husband who is supportive. He understands my desire and need to work outside the home. But we both understand the need and desire for our kids to have us at home with them for the first couple years of their lives. Jake is very ambitious too, and has desires to pursue a doctorate degree so he can research and further the field of education. And we have chosen the hard road ... both of us are moving MUCH slower through the career-path...both of us make sacrifices to not work or work part-time in order to meet the needs of the kids or each other. We understand that we're not going to be top achievers in our fields at ripe young ages. We get that us going in and out of the workforce is going to limit our opportunities for advancement. I feel blessed that Jake has entered into this ebb and flow of sacrifice and career-seeking in order to help us both feel fulfilled and our kids blessed.
OF COURSE, not everyone wants our lifestyle (lol, and sometimes we don't either), nor should everyone adopt this. But, maybe if families would be more willing to re-imagine what fulfillment and sacrifice would look like for BOTH spouses and for the kids, then women would feel like they have less choices.
By choosing one thing, we're sacrificing another. That's the choice we're making. So, let us choose wisely, communicate well with one another, and understand the consequences of the choices we're making.
CAVEAT: I KNOW this is an "idealic" post, and not everyone is in a place where they can choose. I do get this. However, I think this post could apply to many women in their circumstances.
What do you think? How has your family decided to work out this balance? What are some things that I'm not taking into consideration?