Friday, February 5, 2010

Old Fashioned Progressiveness

The other day I was reminded that some still hold the notion of women being old fashioned, or even unaccomplished, if they make the decision to stay home with their children, and I want to know why that is. This concept is something I have not considered or been bothered by for some time, but the provocation I feel from this assumed idea resurfaced recently when I realized a friend of mine was upset by an anonymous comment made on his blog post. The lady (I assume) responsible for the remark was insinuating my friend's thoughts "[take] us back to a time when women were expected to stay home and were taught to hang of every word of their husbands," simply because he appreciated the fact that a girl he once dated loved his funny stories, particularly ones about odd things that happened to him. The point of his blog entry was far from her implications about it in my opinion, with my interpretation of it being that despite strange and bad things coming to pass, situations inevitably occur just as they should. Nonetheless, I can't deny her wayward comment struck a nerve.

Honestly, I want to know . . . what is wrong with wanting to be the one who spends the majority of my kid's time with them? By staying home our family has a great number of advantages including flexibility, more time together, and less stress (for the family unit that is). There are obvious drawbacks as well, most of which affect me, but what is a bit of sacrifice for a few years if it means the overall betterment of my children's well being and our family as a whole? Sure, we could have more money if I held a paying job, but then again Jon has a great occupation and we are budget conscience, so we still live comfortably on what he makes alone. Obviously if I produced an additional income we could buy a bigger house, have nicer vehicles, and go on more exotic vacations, but we do not need these luxuries and do not believe having any of these indulgences makes our lives any better, or makes us any more important for that matter. Personally, I am not forwarding my career or putting any money toward my retirement at this time, both of which are things I would like to accomplish, but why do I have to make such accomplishments now? I plan to go back to school, I plan to have a career, someday, but right now for me, it's my kids who are my focus. I will only ever get this one chance to savor these adorable moments that fly by me each day. In the end, it doesn't seem like that much of a sacrifice at all.

Now I know these convictions do seem conservative, but are they really? I actually consider myself to be a fairly progressive person, and even pride myself on it at times. It is not of my opinion that women stayed home "back in the day" because it was right for their kids or their family, not that they couldn't or didn't think it was befitting so to speak, rather they were mainly inclined to stay home for the reason that was in fact the norm of their time and even as the commenter said, "expected" of them. However, today I believe it is more the standard and even sometimes anticipated that women to go to work and kids to go to daycare. Consequently, aren't I being progressive by doing something so seemingly old fashioned? If truth be told, the implications of this abovementioned woman's comment are almost as suppressive as the allegedly once held belief that it was a woman's duty to stay home with her children. I, on the contrary, don't believe it is an obligation at all; alternatively it's a choice that Jon and I were fortunate enough to have in this two-income trap world. Jon and I know how privileged we are to have this opportunity and we are grateful for it each day.

Finally I want to make it clear, if I haven't done so already, that these are decisions I believe are in the best interest of myself, my kids, and my family, and that it is a choice made for my family alone. I am not a mom warrior on some war path trying to convince every woman that it is better for the world if all of us moms stayed home. I stay firm in the belief that we all have choices in this life, and the decision for my kids to be at home is one I made long before I started dating Jon, at a time when I was just being hopeful that I would indeed one day be privileged enough to meet the right person, get married, and have my beautiful babies. It was not pressed upon or expected of me; it was just something that was inherently important, if not instinctual. In fact, it was primarily imperative that my kids be home with one of their parents, meaning I could have easily been the one making the daily commute to my job if the circumstances had been different. I won't deny that I always hoped I would be the parent to stay home, but being the progressive person I believe myself to be, I was surely in favor of the stay-at-home dad as well.

So at this point I guess it is all in the perception of the reader as to whether my thoughts are old fashioned, progressive, or maybe a bit of both, but that is the beauty of humanity, that we all see things through a different pair of eyes. It would be a very boring world if we didn't.

1 comment:

  1. Kami, posted this comment under my fb link to this entry:

    great blog. Thank you. I def. feel I am in the minority staying at home. I have often thought it was more the progressive thing as well as I watch all my friends feeling oppressed by needing the 2nd income for "stuff". My decision is based on what works for Mark and I. And truth be told, if I can stay at home forever that is what we are going to do. I love my home and being the CEO of it!

    AND...seriously..wasn't all the womens lib. stuff about giving women the freedom to do what they want, not necessarily what men do. I what you love and love what you do