Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Life Choices: a Rant

Husband and I were on our way home from errands when he casually mentioned a bit of a financial argument between a mutual friend and his wife.

"Our system works great," Husband says.  "When you want something, you come and ask for it."

"Usually you say no," I blurted out.  Wait, who just said that?

Husband was equally confused.  "What?  No, I don't.  The most I ask you to do is wait a week."

He was right.  He very rarely says no, and I know that.  So why did I say it?  Where did it come from?  Clearly, I don't exactly feel deprived, and usually I get what I want, I just have to ask for it, and I'm good with that.  He keeps better track of the finances than I do, so I have no issue checking with him before making any purchases.  But, I had hurt his feelings and he started to question how I feel about the life we are living and whether I really was happy with our status quo.  It took a while, but I finally convinced that I'm happy, because I am.  So why did I bristle when he said that?  It's what we do, after all, and I'm good with it.

"It felt weird hearing it out loud," I said to Husband later.  "Really, I'm fine.  I'm happy.  I don't know where that came from."

It took a while of self-examination to find why that comment had fallen from my mouth.  It comes down to this: I hate having to defend my life decisions to other women.  As a stay-at-home mom, I face some really backhanded comments.

 "You mean you finished college?  And you stay home?  Wasn't that a waste of money?"

"Oh, you know how to bake things?  Isn't that cute.  I just buy my baked goods from the store."

"You won't come out drinking with us?  Aw, you poor thing."

But that's not all.  Those statements are kind compared to a rather snarky article that I just finished reading, titled "1% Wives are Killing Feminism and Make War on Women Possible." With really epic statements like "To be a stay-at-home mom is a privilege, and most of the housewives I have ever met -- none of whom do anything around the house -- live in New York City and Los Angeles, far from Peoria," [emphasis mine] and "I have to admit that when I meet a woman who I know is a graduate of, say, Princeton -- one who has read The Second Sex and therefore ought to know better -- but is still a full-time wife, I feel betrayed," and let's not forget "Being a mother isn't a real job," it's no wonder I'm sick to death of defending MY personal choices.  And what kind of bubble world does that woman live in, anyway, when she thinks that people like me turn over our kids to nannies, our houses over to servants, and just go be perpetual 14-year-olds?  Is she serious?  And then she says it's the housewives that makes the war on women possible?  Well, you know what?  I don't feel attacked by other housewives.  I don't feel attacked by men.  Who I do feel attacked by, more often than the author of the article would like to believe, are self proclaimed feminists who have decided that they know what's best for all women everywhere.  It seems to my tiny little stay-at-home mom, unfulfilled brain that it's actually sentiments like this that make the war on women possible and perpetuate the "Mommy Wars."  I don't stand here and judge other women whether they work or stay home, and I don't tolerate those that have that kind of sentiment towards me.

But, if we would just follow her lead, it seems, we'd all be happy, full-functioning adults.  Yes, by her definition, I am not an adult because I don't have a paycheck with my name on it.  Shame on me.  Clearly, I am leading to the downfall of society.

Now we circle back to Husband.  Why did I make such a hard (and untrue) remark towards him?  It was a knee-jerk reaction after hearing comment after comment after comment.

So here's the thing: I was presented with a choice, and I made it.  Other people will choose something different.  I don't judge them, and I certainly don't expect them to judge me.  We are all just trying to find where we fit in this life.  Right now, I fit right where I am.  May everyone have the opportunity to be able to just be where they function best with what they have.

In the end, I don't have power over how other people see me, but I do have power over how I see myself.  Yes, some people will rant and rave on how I'm a bad woman because I chose a traditionally female role, but guess what?  That's where I happen to fit.  I'm not going to push myself into misery to make someone I've never met happy with my life choices.  Being guilted into a role that I'm not comfortable in is no better than pushing a woman into being a housewife when she's miserable being one.  It's about choice.  I've made mine.  Now everyone else can make theirs.  I don't judge.  Accord me the same respect.

1 comment:

  1. I like your rant. You are so lucky to have the opportunity to stay home with your children and spend time with them in their formative years. I wish that I wasn't required to work so much and then be so tired when I have family time that I cannot give them 100%. Those of us who still hold family values are looked at as being off. Trust me more, of the females that I know, in health care, have to work and none of us are happy about it. I don't consider working to be a feminist privilege. It's dam work!!!