24 January 2012

mother dearest

I come back to the same topics time and again. Not too long ago I wrote a post on the topic of expectations for women, and I touched upon the subject of mothering. Recently I read an article in which a woman, and a mother, expressed her feeling on the heated debate between women over how to mother. (I like the word mother as a verb...) She expressed the guilt she felt as a mother, and a woman, both when she made the decision to stay at home with her daughter as well as when she chose to work outside of the home.

I won't explicate all of my thoughts on the subject... especially because I have done that before. But as a daughter, a friend, a sister, a woman and, perhaps someday, a mother, I would like to share a few parts of this article that I found particularly powerful:

"My daughter is watching me AND you to learn what it means to be a woman. And I'd like her to learn that a woman's value is determined less by her career choices and more by how she treats other women, in particular, women who are different than she is. I'd like her to learn that her strength is defined by her honesty and her ability to exist in grey areas without succumbing to masking her insecurities with generalizations or accusations. And I'd like her to learn that the only way to be both graceful and powerful is to dance among the endless definitions of the word woman... and to refuse to organize women into categories, to view ideas in black and white, or to choose sides and come out swinging. Because being a woman is not that easy, and it's not that hard. . . .

". . .when you yell about how much peace you have with your decisions, it just doesn't ring true. The thing is, if you're yelling, I don't believe that you've got it all figured out. I don't even believe that YOU believe you've got it all figured out. I think your problem might be that you're as internally conflicted as the rest of us about your choices. But instead of kicking your own ass, you've decided it'd be easier to kick ours.

Which is tempting, but also wrong.

So, maybe instead of tearing each other up, we could each admit that we're a bit torn up about our choices, or lack thereof. And we could offer each other a shoulder or a hand. And then maybe our girls would see what it really means to be a woman."

I think as a society, and especially as women, we need to do a better job of loving and supporting each other. We know how much pressure there is on us. We know how hard some decisions are to make. Lets love and support each other. Lets make decisions not because of pressures and expectations, but in an effort to do our best in our personal circumstances. And lets respect the decisions other women make, whether or not they make the same decisions we do.


Chelsea said...

I like this a lot, Kendal! I've always believed that what's right for me, is not necessarily right for someone else, so I should try to not judge other peoples' decisions. On that note, why do people care so much what other people do??

ktb said...

Very good question. I mean, there are times when I think we should care (like when people do things that have negative affects on others or on society or on the environment...but even then we can't control people just by wanting them to do the right thing...) but in general, I really relate to what the author in the article says: I think the people who push others the most tend to have some kind of insecurity or fear about their own choices. And even if we do "care" what other people do, I think the best way to influence others is through love, kindness and support, not judging! Love you!!