Monday, August 24, 2009

More than what you say I am

Taking a moment from my newly established routine (one that I'm desperately trying to cultivate to controlling perfection) to check email and thought I'd throw a blog into the blogosphere while Josiah plays on the floor. He's on his back under this hanging contraption of monkeys and what is that? a zebra? Monkeys and something striped (?), slowly rotating 360 degrees on his back. I lay him down facing one direction and slowly but surely he turns himself completely around and back again. It's so funny looking down after only two or three minutes to see him in a completely new location.

I got heated this morning. Not a hormonal hot flash, but a hot-under-the-collar kind of heat. Watching the "Today Show," they were praising the new generation of women having babies in their fifties due to personal preference and career goals. They touted facts about men having babies well into their seventies (something I recently heard actually does increase the chance of birth defects and mental delays in the babies), and they had a new "feministic" (a Kathleen-coined word) attitude about it being so wonderful that these pioneers feel free to start families whenever they want. But how sad for their children! The mother they interviewed has a four year old daughter and is approaching 56 years of age. She said she waited because she wanted to pursue her career to the fullest extent before having children. Once she felt "financially satisfied" she decided to have a baby. Now her little girl has to endure the cold hard facts that mommy may not be there for graduations, wedding, and the birth of her own children. This woman sits on top of a pile of earned income feeling fully confident in her decision, but how very sad for her to potentially rob her daughter of time with her. Enduring life hurdles without a mother is so sad.

I read a book once that talked about the importance of daughters having a mother in their life for the milestone years, and a Disney producer was interviewed. He said the reason Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Jasmine, Belle, Mulan, etc. don't have mothers is because they are all princesses who are strong in spirit and mind but in order for the story to work (for them to need some kind of rescue, be it by a fairy, a spell, a wish or a prince), they have to have a very tragic limitation in their story. What is the saddest limiting factor of all? They don't have mothers. Not a single one of them.

But apparently we live in a culture that encourages this kind of "brave pursuit of having-it-all". Or so they said on "Today". Completely ignoring the obvious- the fact that eventually time will catch up with them and either drain them of energy when their children need them the most, or death will claim them- they went on to applaud these liberated women who seek to prove that you CAN have it all. But in truth, you can't. You can have only what God blesses you with, and when we take our lives into our own control and try to squeeze in all the earthly goals we'd like to accomplish before we die, we miss God's will for our lives. Something is compromised, whether we realize it or not. You cannot be the most amazing CEO your company has ever seen AND be the most loving, giving, and available mother your child could possibly have. One or the other must suffer. And God designed it that way.

In Max Lucado's book Cure for the Common Life, he says that when we teach our kids that they can do anything and be everything, we're lying to them. They can do whatever God allows them to do, but they can't do everything with our full hearts, minds, and bodies unless it's what God has willed for us to do. Sure, you can force yourself to be a chef, and you may be a good chef... but what if all along God was calling you to be a teacher? If you'd answered that calling and fulfilled God's will for your life by picking up the natural tools your Creator stitched into you from birth, you might have been absolutely amazing.

But we as people want what we want, so we'll settle for "good," "average," or "ok" when we could be stunning.

Another (shorter) rant that set me off this morning was the fact that inevitably whenever they spotlight one of these trailblazers seeking to completely redefine feminism (I used to think it was simply a movement that would allow women to do whatever they wanted- whether that meant be at home with their children or on top of a skyscraper welding steel), they don't use facts or statistical data to support their stance, they just tear down other people groups - other women- to justify their choices.

This morning they didn't say "Having children in your fifties is a new trend which statistically raises more confident and intelligent children and increases family values by allowing more time spent together due to retirement". Instead they ignored the hard-core data about Down Syndrome risks, IUGR babies, chromosomal abnormalities, and the toll age takes on a woman. To support their push, they threw out "facts" like "A woman in her fifties is more likely to be a better mother because she has already completed most of her career goals, so she won't be resentful of her child like a woman in her twenties or thirties. She's less selfish than her twenty-something counterpart as well. And more mature." Those aren't facts! Those are just opinions that completely alienate mothers ages 20-39! My career goals are to be a good mother right now. I've said it before, all I ever really wanted was to be a parent. My career goals may change in the future, but because Josiah exists, he is my job. Period. And I think God created it that way. I don't think I'm selfish or distracted or resentful. And I'm one of those "immature" 20-somethings they spoke about.

I'm not opposed to them presenting women who choose a different path from mine, but I wish that when magazines and talk shows turned the spotlight on working moms, older moms, single-by-choice moms, or gay moms, they wouldn't use hurtful opinions about stay-at-home moms, married moms, straight moms or young moms to support their lifestyle choices. I love what I do and how I do it and who I am because I feel it's what's best for me, Travis and Josiah, and I feel like this is what God is calling me to do. Not because it's better than some other woman. If you have to tear down someone else (like 20-somethings or SAHM's) to justify your choices, perhaps there's guilt or the lack of a better reason behind it that you need to investigate within yourself.

Do what you want, but leave us out of it.

End daily rant!



Anonymous said...

I agree with you Kathleen.

Speaking as a woman whose mother died before my Sophomore year in college, before my marriage, and before my children were born, I can tell you that what these women are doing is tremendously selfish.

Every milestone in your and your brother's life made me wish for my mother.

I can't help wondering how this women will handle the sleep overs for 8, the track meets, the football games, the dance recitals, and all of those other things that provide so much love and enjoyment, and require so much work. I wonder if she will be there for the high school graduation. Will her mind be there? Will her daughter, who should at 25 be buying her own house, and teaching a child how to learn to ride a bike, instead be picking out a nursing home, and teaching herself how to handle her mother's oxygen tank?

My mother was fairly young when she was taken by cancer, so I don't blame her for leaving me, but if she'd waited until retirement age to have me, I wonder if I could forgive her for abandoning me.


Cimarron said...

Thank you for the encouragement. It has been very frustrating. But, when Aaron and I both gave it to God, the phone, literally, started ringing. His timing is perfect.

And, I totally agree with you on this post. It is terribly demeaning and frustrating to hear junk like that coming from the mainstream media. It's considered taboo to want to be a stay-at-home're supposed to want a career and pursue money. I don't get it. Selfish is probably the best word to describe it.