I often read Penelope Trunk. She is an interesting writer and often has an interesting point of view. I wanted to share her latest post as it’s a bit controversial but as women, we really need, to be honest with ourselves as to what do we really want. Supposedly we can have it all and are encouraged to “Lean in”, but ask any women who have two kids under the age of 5, a job and is still married, ask her how is she balancing her life even beyond the early years. It again goes back to my post “My friend Patricia. I’m sorry”. and her choice to stay home. Staring down the gun of an embryo transfer, I do question, why am I doing this? Why is it that as a woman I would like to be a mother? Fertility is such a funny thing, it makes you really think about your choices because they are right there in your face.
The question of what is a mother, does that always equate a mother and child? Can a woman equally have a strong relationship like this in a different form? I don’t know, because I have been on the other side, and the funny thing is, once you are on the other side, you can’t go back!
For three years, I took part of taking care of over 80 kids under that age 5, in an early childhood center, at times happy to have them go back home so I could take a break. I have worked with students since I can remember. I formed strong relationships and I know I have impacted their lives. I’ve learned lots about myself through my interactions with them. Is the term mother, just a reference to a mother and child or can it be towards another type of relationship? I mother my event clients. I coached them and take care of them, I house them and often feed them. I hear someone on the other side of this screen screaming at me, “it’s not the same thing”. No, it’s not, but honestly, let’s divide and conquer this mothering definition. As it stands, it means, “giving birth to”, “bringing up a child with care and affection”, a “woman in relation to her child or children”. A mother shouldn’t equate martyr.
Perhaps I’m on the side of this equation and I really don’t understand when I say, I want to be me first, then wife, then mother. Is this balance even achievable? In another viewpoint, assuming you find mothering rewarding……
“the meaning of being a mother is virtually endless. A mother is a protector, disciplinarian, and friend. A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make it as a competent human being. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most rewarding job a woman will ever experience”
I do believe that I (women) need to make a choice between that big ass career and a family. I don’t think it’s actually possible to be fully 100% engaged in both. Anne-Marie Slaughter, writer of a well-known Atlantic article about this, “routinely got reactions from other women her age or older that ranged from disappointed (“It’s such a pity that you had to leave Washington”) to condescending (“I wouldn’t generalize from your experience. I’ve never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great”)”.
It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says Anne, who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed (although this requires being argued too). If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, something has to change, specifically how women who don’t have kids are valued more than those with a family.
This is why Penelope’s post make me think.
The post below is directly from her blog, I just couldn’t chop it up, it was too good. She just makes me things about things I don’t want to think about.