I’ve been rolling around ideals about my identity for some time now. Struggling with my decision to stay at home. Struggling with the images I put in my daughter’s head. Struggling with a place for a strong, empowered woman in a traditional home context. I’m educated, I’m strong, I’m willful. I’m also a woman who cries, gets irrational and stays home to clean the house and care for her children.

I no longer think these things are mutually exclusive.

I’ve recently started reading The Red Tent and find the role of women almost empowering. The community of females working together to care for the families; The work, actual hard labor, it requires to be in this role of caregiver: That alone is empowering.

But to find a group of women, online and in person, who share your views, help raise your children, walk through life with you: that is where empowerment becomes confidence. And while I appreciate, and admire, and respect and live up to, the role of being a strong woman, that does not include being a woman for woman’s sake or working in a job because “it is my right”. It’s also my right to choose to stay home, to care for my family and to be a woman.

Did you hear that? I’m ok with being a WOMAN. I’m ok with being a GIRL. I’m ok with having boobs and hormones and PMS. I’m ok with makeup and wine and shaving my legs. And I love that I’m a woman and that means I am not a man and I’m more emotional, hormonal, and social. I love that I care about hair and makeup. I’m ok with that. Being a feminist does not mean I have to be equal to a man in every way, but rather as a New Feminist, a feminist of the 2000’s. It means I am strong, confident and capable with being a woman: A life-giving, home-making, emotional-at-times woman.

And that’s what I want to pass on to my daughter, who will enjoy not only equality but strength in who she is: a woman.

Comments

  • February 15, 2008

    I JUST posted on the same topic!  Women and men are different.

    And IT IS OK.  We are MADE THAT WAY.

    xoxo

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  • February 15, 2008

    Amen

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  • February 15, 2008

    I think we’ve actually gone back somewhat in time.  We are back to the original women’s movement of the late nineteenth century when women were fighting for equal rights and equal opportunities.

    The Feminism that evolved through the early and mid twentieth century is very different and is what created the perception of the militant feminist.

    I’m going to think on this a bit…there’s a post here for me…

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  • February 15, 2008

    *nods* I too struggle with this issue as I will be going back to school but know that I want to stay home at least part time with any future babies I have. How do you even begin to balance the expectations of society and what you want? BUT! I am okay with it I know that I will do well in my choosen field(veterinary medicine.

    Oh, and if you’re ever up this ways drop me a line!

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  • February 15, 2008

    OMG, this is such a loaded topic and I get dizzy when I think about what I want to say about it. Thanks for getting the ball rolling. I plan on posting about it at some point…the words are still swirling around in my head. I whole-heartedly agree and THEN SOME. I personally think something got screwed up in the 70s. I’m not exactly sure what, but somehow things got twisted and now it’s up to us (as in this generation) of WOMEN to set a different example for our children. As in it’s OKAY to be a Mother and a Wife and it’s fine to have a job where you don’t punch a clock and work for someone else’s agenda. (contrary to life in the 80s where perhaps some of our initial expectations might have been set.) Even when you’re a SAHM or a WAHM, you’re still the CEO when it comes down to it! <dammit!>

    I have a son (but want a daughter some day) and I say the same thing about what I want to pass on to HIM. It’s also important what kind of role models we are to young men as well as the gals because they also have their place in the society’s views of women. All I can say about that is I thank God for my Mother-in-law and how she raised her sons because my husband is so supportive of everything I do and I just think a lot of that has to do with the relationship he has with his Mom. I always think that it’s super important to look at what kind of relationship a man has with his Mother. (Wish I had known that when I met my ex.) It was one of the things that sold me on marrying my loving husband. (His little sister - now SHE’s the force to be reckoned with!)

    Anyhow, kudos to you, I hear ya roarin’ loud and clear!

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  • February 15, 2008

    One of the greatest benefits of the times we are living in is the ability to choose.  Choose what is best for us… best for our families… best for our children. The fascinating thing about being unique individuals with unique personalities is, surprise! we all have unique needs too and what’s right for one family isn’t necessarily right for another.  Although sometimes I feel pressure from one side or another to feel or be what “they” want, ultimately I’m the one who has to live with what I do and become.  I’m really glad to live in a time and place where I can freely make those decisions.

    Loved that book, by the way.

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  • February 16, 2008

    Right on, girlfriend. 

    *Some* people have a hard time believing that staying home is *actually* what I’ve always wanted.  *Some* people think it’s not “feminist” of me to stay home.

    GAH to those people!

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  • February 16, 2008

    I agree. I have a college degree and a full time job. I’d rather be home playing peek-a-boo and I’m ok with that.

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  • February 16, 2008

    There must be something in the water, I was having an internal struggle (that, OK, I outed on my blog) about being a SAHM yesterday but wondering what qualifies as a “career”.

    And, yes, feminism is about choices, not 9 to 5.  We have the option to check the “all of the above” box if we want to.

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  • February 16, 2008

    Right ON, my friend! As a Women’s Studies minor in College, I always struggled with the thought that I wanted to be a mom and stay home to raise my kids.  I came to realize that believing in women’s rights & equalities means that you believe women can do ANYTHING they want.  Including, being President of the US (maybe sooner rather than later) or being a SAHM. 

    And I’m so glad that you’re okay with wine.  That, in and of itself, makes being a mom SO MUCH EASIER sometimes! :0)

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  • February 16, 2008

    BRAVO!!

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  • February 16, 2008

    Right on, momma.  Personally, I think that’s exactly what the real feminist is: a woman who doesn’t mind BEING A WOMAN: this means understanding that we ARE different from men, and that’s just fine!

    A little kid in the neighborhood recently asked me, “So, you don’t have a job?”  The boy standing next to him (a few years older) responded before I could, “DUDE.  She’s a MOM. She has a JOB to do ALL DAY LONG.”

    That kid’s mom? RULES.

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  • February 16, 2008

    feminists get to make choices. I’m grateful I get to make a CHOICE. woot!

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  • February 16, 2008

    I think this is an ongoing struggle for many, if not most, women. I find it hard to be a career oriented professional at times. At least as hard as I find it to be an almost stay at home mom. I turn down work all the time in the professional world in order to keep my time away from my kids minimal. I get frustrated sometimes because I want to build my career, open a private practice, really DO IT the way I WANT to do it. But I have these two little ones that I’m obligated to.

    Other times I want to bag my career for now and really give 100% to being a mom. Not have to divide my attention between work and kids, just REALLY DO the mothering thing. I get frustrated with work nagging at me almost constantly (I do all my administrative work from home office) and sometimes wish it would just go away.

    If I try really hard I can keep it balanced. It works for me 95% of the time, and the reason it works for me is because I know I have choices. At any time I could decide to put my kids in daycare or public school and really do my career. At any time I could quit my career and really do motherhood. And at any time I could choose to maintain being a 30% career oriented professional and a 70% stay at home mom. Sometimes it’s actually the choice that becomes the struggle for me. I WANT TO DO IT ALL!

    Apparently my current formula is working as I’ve maintained my current arrangement for 4.5 years. If I had to choose between work and my kids, I would choose my kids—no questions asked. And yet, I am quite thankful to have the choice despite the stress even that can sometimes cause.

    I think the best we can do for each other as women and mothers, is support each other in figuring out what works best for each of us and our respective families. It’s not a one size fits all deal.

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  • February 16, 2008

    Clap, clap, clap.  And I’m standing up too.

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  • February 16, 2008

    I am proud to be able to stay at home and raise our four kids.  I have the rest of my life to work.  If I want to.  Great post!

    BlogHopping Along…

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  • February 16, 2008

    Awesome post. I’m totally feeling you. I am often trying to figure out how to say this exact thing, and you’ve done it!

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  • February 16, 2008

    The Red Tent??  One of my favorite books of ALL time. 

    I absolutely agree with every single word of this post.

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  • February 16, 2008

    Brava, girlfriend. We totally think along the same lines.

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  • February 17, 2008

    I love that you’re giving yourself props about being a woman.  But you’re not JUST a girl and a mom, you know?  You’re a friend, an inspiration, a source of information for other mothers, AND you’re working - from home - and helping support your family.  You’re doing so much more as a woman that you should be SO proud of.  It’s a very cool thing that a stay at home mom can raise her family well AND bring in some bacon doing something she loves to do. 

    wink
    xo

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