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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Feminism Redux

What a weekend! I was busy from beginning to end. I spent Shabbos in Boro Park, which is always interesting. We touched on quite a few hot topics, and feminism was among them, which is a topic that I have a lot of trouble with. Then yesterday I was fortunate enough to Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller speak to the Providence, Rhode Island Jewish community on a similar topic. I don't consider myself a feminist. But...I do have a problem being told that my place is in the home. I have written about it before, but I have recently been challenged on my stance once again. The truth is, I don't know what I am going to want once I actually do have children. At this point, just the thought of being a stay-at-home mom full-time makes me feel stifled. I can't imagine being at home with my children all day long, I just think that I would get antsy and need a break. And part of me feels that I have been working too hard at school for too long to throw away those career aspirations in exchange for being a homemaker. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with staying at home with one's children. If that's what you desire to do. I think it's an incredibly difficult job, and no one should devalue that role. But I don't feel like it's the life for me. I feel that I would be a better mother if I am not with my children all day. But...I also don't want someone else raising my children. I want to show my children that I care about them, am devoted to them, and I want them to have both quality and quantity time from me, because I think it's really important. So, with that in mind, why does it bother me so much when I hear someone say that a mother should take care of her children and the home? I think it's not so much that I have a problem hearing that, but I have a problem when I hear someone say a woman CAN'T successfully have both a career and a family. Because my response to someone saying I can't do something, is to prove to them that I can. (Part of the rebelliousness discussed in my last post I guess.) I was discussing this with my rebbetzin in Providence, and interestingly enough, she agreed with me. She grew up in a very traditional home, and she herself does teach part-time, because she loves it, but has spent time as a stay-at-home mother as well. And she said, from her experience, as much as she agrees that it is woman's nature to be nurturing and take care of the home, she also has a really hard time hearing that a woman can't do whatever she wants. Because no one says that to men. Though they certainly have other challenges. So, the truth is I kind of agree with those that say a woman can't do everything, but I just want them to say it differently. It's about semantics. I don't want to be challenged on what I am capable of doing, because I know I'm capable of a lot. And to suggest otherwise makes me feel limited and underappareciated. But when it all comes down to it, though I still am not saying I will stay at home full-time, I do agree that my children will be my responsibility and I want that. I accept it. I guess I'm not such a feminist.

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