Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am a stay at home feminist

I thought I was done here, that I had nothing to say other than to list activities that I am planning to do, but will very likely not finish. So instead of making a boring post I searched Dobson and lies together. What I found myself caught up in was an argument about stay at home moms. This is a charged subject for women of the childbearing age. Both sides that I read today had it wrong.
When I had children I wanted to stay home with them, not for the benefits it would give them, but for what it would give me. Children are only yours, truly yours, for a short time. If you don't think eighteen years is a short period of time, have a child. In that first year so much happens and it doesn't slow down until that child is grown and out of your house. I didn't want to miss any of this time. When my children were little I took them almost everywhere with me. I ran a daycare out of my home so I could contribute to the household income without leaving them. I loved everyday that we spent together. Now I am back to work. The boys are older.
Strange things are happening, I went over twenty-four hours without talking to Jason this week. I dropped him off at school Monday morning. He left school that day on a bus for a basketball game. I was at a school board meeting when he got home. He was asleep when I got home. I peeked in and watched him sleep before I went to work Tuesday. He had a home game that night. I sat in the stands and watched. We didn't talk at all until after the game which was around eight that night. I am so glad I had the years I did with him.
One day a friend, who also stayed home with her son until he started school, commented on my decision to stay home and watch both of my sisters kids while they went back to school. Someone else mentioned that it was nice that my sisters could work and go back to school because I helped them with free child care. Both of my sisters now have degrees and are doing well in their careers, and I am so proud of them. My friend said, 'Yeah, but she (meaning me) is still at the same spot.' Monetarily I was at the same spot, but I have a better relationship with my nieces and nephews than most people do. I don't just love them because they are my sisters kids, I love them because they a people I have spent huge amounts of time with. My sisters know that there is someone else in the world who loves their children a great deal. Knowing this is peace of mind for a parent. I too have that same peace of mind because of the close family ties this arrangement has made. When Lee left on his trip to Europe last summer Miss Universe cried as much as I did. If the goal, and mine is, is to love life and be surrounded by people I love, I am so much further ahead than most people I know.
This whole subject has not been brought up so I can convince others to stay at home with their children, or to say people who made the choice to go back to work are wrong. It is to say that every person, regardless of their sex, should be able to make the decision that is best for them and be supported. I am a feminist. Women should have equal rights under the law, in the workplace, and at home as a man.
When my brother decided to stay at home with his children he didn't have to face the accusation of derailing a whole movement. It was said of him, and men like him, that it was great that we lived in an enlightened society that didn't see raising children as only women's work. I agree with this statement, but why should men, even at home, have the advantage? He didn't have to defend his decision. Women should not have to defend their decision to stay at home either.
As for the statement that suggested that mothers choosing to stay at home could lead to an all male supreme court or congress, well that is a bit far fetched. Every mom is not going to choose to stay at home. Not every woman is going to choose to have children, and mothers who do choose to stay at home will most likely re-enter the workforce after their children go to school. All of these women should be supported and applauded for making choices that work best for them instead of just accepting whatever rules society lays out for them.
As for the other side, that instead of using well thought out arguments tries insulting their opponent, well they aren't even worth listening to. They aren't trying to help stay-at-home moms they are just trying to use them as a weapon to tear down all that the women's movement has fought for. They said the woman speaker could have come straight out of the 60's or 70's and used the term 'old time bra burning feminist' as an insult. As a woman I applaud those feminist from the 60's and 70's. It took strength to burn your bra when women were supposed to be standing behind their man. If not for those 'old time' feminists we would not be where we are today and I won't let their legacy become an insult. Hooray to all women from the ones who burned their bras to the ones who stay at home and raise children because they choose to.

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