Saturday, February 20, 2016

Can Women Have It All?

I came across two articles this week about feminism that made me think about women "having it all". One was "Are You An Accidental Feminist" on Crosswalk that I absolutely can't find right now. The other is "Having It All Kinda Sucks" from The Huffington Post. You should read at least The Huffington Post piece.

The thing about "having it all" is that it's impossible. And it always has been. There simply aren't enough hours in the day for anyone to manage a full-time career with kids and taking care of the house. It was never supposed to work like that. Feminism was supposed to give women more choices, not rope us into doing more than is humanly possible.

Instead of trying to have it all, women need to look at what God wants us to do. And there are so many options available to us in the 21st century!! Life isn't perfect; women are still underpaid compared to men in some spheres, but it's so much better than it used to be. Married women are still doing the lion's share of the housework, but men are much better about stepping up to help and, with good communication, many marriages are finding a reasonably equitable sharing of work.

I'm sure you've figured out that I don't believe that the Bible teaches a Victorian view of sex roles. Instead, God is creative and made his children to be creative as well. Men and women are to listen to God and figure out how he wants us to live our lives.

PWM and I are an example of a non-traditional family, at least for the first part of our marriage. We got married before my third year of medical school. When we had our first child, Rosie Girl, in residency, PWM became a stay at home Dad. When the kids were old enough for school, they did preschool, but then PWM homeschooled them starting at age 5. All this time, I was finishing my residency and starting practice. I loved practicing medicine and I did it for about 10 years.

Everything changed in 2006 when my migraines turned into chronic migraine and I couldn't work any longer. PWM (completely without complaining) went to work for about a year, then started a college program so he could get his teaching license. I became the stay at home parent. PWM ended up starting a tutoring business and then we opened a yarn shop. Rosie Girl graduated high school (from homeschool). Then, the school board superintendent came and asked PWM to teach math in the local high school. So, PWM teaches at the high school and Wild Man goes to school. We look a little more "normal" now

The way things worked out for me and PWM is just one of a myriad of ways couples can structure their lives. And I'm pretty sure that God is cool with whatever works for your family. God teaches us that we are to be content (see the book of Philippians), but you can't do that when you are working 60 hours a week, trying to spend some time with your kids and doing all the house work. When do you even have time to be content? 

But what about single parents? How are they supposed to even survive? I've never been in that situation. What I do know is that God is good and will provide. I also know that even single parents need to pray and be honest about how much "all" is needed. And how clean does you house need to be? What are your priorities and how can you structure them to give you rest and time with people? And who can help you? We weren't meant to do this parenting journey alone.

Women, we can't have it all. Maybe over the course of a lifetime, we can eventually have it all, but having it all at the same time is a pipe dream. Pray, pray, and pray some more. God knows what's best for us and he'll guide toward what we need. (Even if it's being on disability for chronic migraine which I totally don't understand . . . )

What are your thoughts? Can we have it all? Should we try to have it all?

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