I’ve been stumbling across a lot of posts lately from stay at home mothers who feel let down by, judged by, or excluded from feminism.
I can see where the frustration comes from here. Feminism is out there saying that you can have a career and do whatever you want; and so what are you waiting for, get out there sister and run the world! And sometimes people are literally saying that it’s the ‘wrong’ choice to stay at home with kids or to forego a career for whatever reason – although more often they’re just condescendingly talking about the ‘compromise’ of stay at home mothers choosing family over work.
This perspective leaves out the [very real] possibility that what some women really want is to stay at home with their children and give them the best start possible. That isn’t the choice I’d make*, not because I think it’s a bad or inferior one, but because I just know that I’d resent it as a compromise – and I think that children are better off with happy parents who give a good example of leading a fulfilling life, rather than resentful ones who stay at home with them (that’s just how it would be for me, I’m not making a call for all women). But as a feminist I think it’s really important to stand up for the choice of any woman – that’s what choice is all about, and to exclude some choices as ‘bad’ just starts to unravel feminism from the other end.
Despite what modern society tries to tell us, we can’t have everything. We can have anything, but that’s not the same thing – to have one thing, you have to give up the possibility of having something else. That’s not sad or annoying or outrageously unfair, that’s just life.
“As a feminist, I believe that feminism’s goal is to allow women the same options as men. Men can choose to be teachers or CEOs, and women should be able to do the same. With those choices, however, come sacrifices for both men and women. When we choose our jobs, we also have to prioritize, and if a woman — or a man — wants to spend more time with family, that might mean that he or she might have to find a new career. However, choosing your family over your career does not make you less of a feminist.” (Emphasis mine)
*I am not a mother. This is hypothetical. I also reserve the right to change my mind on what I do with my time once I become a mother. That’s kind of the point here.