the she series: she started it all

If you want to thank (or blame) someone for all these women blog posts, I’m going to introduce my sister-in-law Megan. Haha! But really, she did help spark my blog idea when she shared an article about women and education. A few weeks later I found myself in a conversation about the same topic with friends.

Both opinions were a little surprising for me to hear, especially the politics pulled into it. And overall it just made me think: WHY ARE WE TELLING WOMEN WHAT TO DO??

And then came a blog idea I could not stop thinking about, and of course I had to ask if Megan if she’d be so kind as to contribute. And of course she was, because she’s always kind. And also thoughtful and smart–and much better than me at keeping her cool over political issues.

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BEING A MOM

Motherhood itself is tough, but can be very rewarding. It changes your life big time and in ways that are difficult to explain. Motherhood is helping to shape me into a more humble, compassionate, selfless person. Traits honestly I didn’t know I was so lacking in until I became a mother. I also think motherhood has helped me be more empathetic with all people in general.

There are many demands on mothers. Some demands are nonsense and hurt your self-esteem. I know I’m guilty of falling into the mindset of feeling like I need to plan perfect birthday parties, be a wonderful teacher, be in control of everything; be crafty, fit, a terrific cook…to hell with it. Children need love, provide that love for them. There is no perfect mother, just women trying to meet the needs of their children.

At the top of my list of insecurities is the feeling that I’m not “successful,” in a career or as a mom. Finding balance in life is the most difficult part of being a woman for me… but that can apply to anyone really. I guess as a Mom, feeling that I am primarily responsible for my children’s well-being is also hard. What a pressure that is, when rationally I know my husband is equally responsible and I should be better at sharing the responsibility.

BEING A WOMAN

In today’s society, a college degree helps individuals be successful. I would love to see less high paying jobs requiring college degrees, and more focus on trades or on the job training, but until then I think it is important for women to have a college education regardless of if they plan on being a housewife or stay-at-home mom.

No one can know what life is going to bring them; and I believe having a college degree helps women increase their earning potential, and will make them more marketable if their original plan to stay home doesn’t play out. I consider a college degree an investment in itself. I believe education is important and as mothers it is important for us to teach our children the importance of education. Earning a college degree is one way we can demonstrate the importance of education to our children.

BEING A FEMINIST

I have to laugh at this topic a little. There are so many different definitions and degrees of feminism, and I’m not sure everyone would consider me a feminist. But I consider myself a feminist because I am for women’s rights.

In my own life, there are two are two examples of gender bias that immediately stick out to me:

1] I was told I was perceived as being bossy during a job performance evaluation. No one would ever call a man “bossy,” but because I am assertive on the job, feel comfortable giving others orders, and can get others moving to reach goals, I get labeled “bossy.” This happened years ago but I will always remember it.

2] During a job interview, I had an employer ask me if I had anything that would keep me from getting to work on time. When I said no he proceeded to ask me if I had any children…pretty sure you’re not allowed to ask that in a job interview. I bet if I was a man I wouldn’t have been asked that question. It felt like he was implying if I had children I wouldn’t be as devoted to my job and may have issues with attendance. At the time I didn’t have children, and I’ll always remember how awkward it was. Because it was in an interview I responded politely, when really I just wanted to tell him it was none of his business.

I want equality for men and women definitely in the sense of equal pay for equal work and the right to feel safe in society; women should be listened to and valued the same as men. I do believe however that men and women as a group are different and have different strengths and weaknesses, not to say that all women or all men share these gender traits. Just read “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Phifer or “Real Boys” by William Pollock, to open your eyes on how much our society shapes individuals into gender roles and learn about many of the inequalities that exist even for the youngest children. If the fire department comes to rescue me from a fire I don’t care if it’s a man or a women as long as they can carry me out.


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