I don’t know how to be a feminist…

I am not in the habit of responding to what’s trending. I don’t want to get into that habit either. It just so happens that this topic is something I think deserves a good discussion. 

I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. I’m hardly feminine some days. I hate doing my hair (but do it anyway), I belch like Homer Simpson, and I like greasy burgers, beer, and Springsteen (wait, that makes me an American…never mind). I just read a blog about feminism, motherhood and marriage specifically, that I think made some great points but the tone was so off it did us a disservice. 

Amy Glass writes a blog on Thought Catalog. She wrote a blog titled ,“I Look Down on Young Women with Kids and Husbands and I’m not Sorry” (http://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-glass/2014/01/i-look-down-on-young-women-with-husbands-and-kids-and-im-not-sorry/). I read the article and I wasn’t as inflamed as other readers or bloggers that responded. I clicked on her other blogs and read them too. I wasn’t hungrily eating them up, rubbing my hands together with an evil laugh, muttering, “more! MORE!”  but I was reading her blogs and taking note of every decent point she made and shaking my head because she missed a great opportunity to drive those points home with any experience. Talking about mothers and wives and how we screw it all up while not being one is like talking about how men screw up standing and peeing and not having a dick to aim with. 

Ms. Glass made some really good points! She talked about how men focus on careers and women have to leave work early to take care of the family, women let themselves go, we lose ambition, we lose mobility and freedom, we complain about how hard life is, we will never be equal to men because our word play is holding us back. AMEN! A-FUCKING-MEN.  Oh crap, this is a feminist article…I meant A-FUCKING-WOMEN! Now let me break this down…and use some experience… 

Once I got married I did have to sacrifice. It was a choice I made knowing I’d have to make sacrifices. What Ms. Glass missed though was that there can be balance. Maybe balance is the wrong word. It is possible to do all the things you want, maybe just not the way you wanted to do them? 

When Gwen was born, we took her to Oktoberfest in Munich. She was two weeks old and we were on our way home from the hospital in Landsthul, Germany to Vicenza, Italy. It was a quick trip to Munich on the way back, and also did a little castle hoping on the way home. We had to! I wasn’t about to let my little bundle of joy begin her life and end mine. I traveled all over Europe with Gwen for three years after that and loved every minute of it. My only regret is that she is too young to remember any of it. I never imagined touring Europe with a small child, but I did. I made it work. I learned a lot about Gwen, myself, and how to take a tour of the catacombs in Rome with a baby with colic as did EVERYONE on the tour with me. Lucky people. After that we stuck with wide open spaces. 

I continued to work because I loved my job and I loved the people I worked with. I had an amazing boss then and continued to be blessed with great bosses, understanding of our situation. I had to be the one to stay home with Gwen when she was sick. One friend (and coworker) would tell me, “Enjoy your day off with your baby.” What sage advice! Enjoy that time. Even if I’m covered in barf, it’s a day to hold my precious girl. I would miss travel opportunities when Trent was away but it was OK because my boss never did schedule that business trip to Hawaii. I couldn’t stay late but let’s be honest who wants to?  People want to get home. They want to be with their families. Do men want to stay late? Do men want to be the ones that are always seen as ignoring their families? I had to make concessions but I didn’t have to fight for my rights in the work place either. I was already respected. I didn’t resent being a mother or a wife. 

I’m not saying it is all la-dee-da Shang-gri-la work and be a mom superhero. It wasn’t. It was gritty and I was furious about things sometimes. I’d come home, the dogs would have chewed everything from the kitchen to the doorway, Gwen would have a nose bleed, Trent would be sitting at the counter asking where dinner was, oblivious to the chaos around him, and my boss would be calling at the same time. Those are the days I would walk right back out the door, phone still ringing in my hand, and say, “I don’t know what you’re having, but I’m going to Applebee’s.” We have choices. Some days those choices are mediocre margaritas, it IS a choice. It is also a fact that it happens this way, women sacrifice. If it wasn’t a fact the internet wouldn’t have been ablaze with the picture of that dad doing his daughter’s hair. We don’t typically see men this way because of that fact, and many of us haven’t been married to that guy. It’s not fair to beat up Ms. Glass for pointing it out.

I get a lot of shit for wearing make-up/ doing my hair, and this is a point I agree with Ms. Glass on. Look your best. We feel better about ourselves when we look our best. No one got mad at Suave for that commercial about letting ourselves go and getting ourselves back with Suave. Mom’s talk about letting ourselves go all the time, how harried our lives are and this is where the complaining comes in. We ARE guilty of this (and with good reason so don’t unfriend me just yet). Why put on nice clothes when they are going to get blood stained and puked on and insert the list here ________ . I get it. I also get the Parisian style of parenting where the mom’s put the effort into themselves and children benefit. Better Homes did an article years ago about 5 couture items you should have (yes, as a mom), that make you feel like a million bucks when you’re covered in puke, on your way to Walmart to get children’s Tylenol at 10 pm. Airplane crash mentality people! Take care of yourself first so you can better take care of others while you are covered in barf.

I was content putting my dreams to the side and living the life I chose. In reality being a forensic expert for the FBI,  or an assassin, would have been a lonely choice. I did lose ambition though and it cost me. I got stuck in that rut of go to work, come home, feed everyone, pass out, wash, rinse, repeat. I chose that as much as I did everything else and I won’t get mad at Ms. Glass for pointing that out.  We all need to read this article and take a deeper look at ourselves and make sure we aren’t falling into a rut. She could be helping us if we let her.

She is absolutely right with word play. That is hurting us. I think she nailed it when she said doing laundry is not as important as being a doctor or building a business.  I’m not doing laundry. I’m managing a household. I’m running a business here. Managing a household “used” to be a job (ask Mr. Carson). I hire people to do things, I have accounts payable, distribution, refurbishment, the list goes on. I’m not homeschooling my daughter, I’m the administrator of her education. How did I work full time and run this house? I have NO idea! We can’t demand equality and respect if we meekly say things like “I’m a stay at home mom”. Who invented that term? I don’t even stay at home! We downplay our roles with verbiage while complaining about their difficulties and it only makes sense if we start discussing antithetical parallelism.

Maybe I don’t know the struggles of a true feminist. Maybe I live in a world that’s more fulfilling than hers because I have amazing love, understanding and satisfaction. Maybe I didn’t and I just chose to see or react to it differently? I do know women struggle and I will never deny that. I also know we shouldn’t look down on each other for our choices (except at maybe Walmart). I think true feminism is supporting those choices and learning from each other, our experiences. The richness of those experiences, with children, and husbands, without them, we should be able to talk about them and help other sisters in their fight for their rights for equality where there is disparity. 

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