Why "disappearing" into motherhood is NOT a betrayal of feminism
My youngest babies are almost 5. I'm coming out of the Little Years. A season of life is changing and I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life. I can already sense the changing seasons. All my children are in school I have more time to focus on my writing. I just finished my first book and I'm ready to start on my second. But may I just say? THANK GOD I WASN'T TRYING TO WRITE A BOOK WHILE MY BABIES WERE LITTLE. I'm going to say something "controversial" here but I really think it needs to be addressed, especially in light of this recent article which claimed mothers were "disappearing" because....wait for it..they (gasp!) used pictures of their children instead of themselves on their FB profile picture.
This is precisely where some feminists get it wrong (and I say this as a feminist).
84% of women WANT to stay home with their children. Most women WANT to raise their own children. Most women do NOT see it as a "sacrifice" of female identity to throw themselves wholeheartedly into raising their babies.
Instead of berating mothers for talking about strollers at dinner parties, why not understand that when a woman is raising her babies--THAT IS WHAT SHE TALKS ABOUT. Just because I didn't feel compelled to Keep Up With the Men while I was raising little ones doesn't make me a "disappearing mother." What I talk about at dinner parties doesn't define my feminism any more than the pictures I post on FB.
I am so incredibly SICK of feminists demanding that women Be All Things To All People At All Times. How is this any different than the oppressive patriarchy we all despise? So, I give birth to a human being and suddenly, I'm supposed to follow the feminist rule book about NOT talk about what I pack in my kids' lunch? Because that's NOT what the MEN talk about?! Give me a break!
Come on. This is sexist tripe. This is reverse sexism! Feminism shouldn't require women to act like men, talk like men or be like men. Feminism should CELEBRATE femininity and let women BE.
Yes, I wrote a book. And yes, I am well-read. And YES, I am educated.
But do you know what the truth is? MY CHILDREN MEAN MORE TO ME THAN ALL OF THAT.
There is not ONE book, there is not ONE thesis, there is not ONE damn dinner party that is more important to me than my kids. Real feminism does NOT force me to choose between my career and my children. My children will win every time.
And if I post pictures of my children on FB it's because my children are IMPORTANT to me. Hell no, I won't apologize for that.
Also, womanhood has seasons. During the season of young motherhood, I was so BUSY that I couldn't even hardly catch a breath of air. Now? My children are getting older and yeah, I can write that second book. I can keep a social calendar. I can attend dinner parties. So, what? I'm more feminist now that I'm a "working" mom? Ridiculous.
I will never, ever, EVER regret the ELEVEN years I spent as a stay-at-home mom. Those years are just as much a part of my feminism as my newly emerging writing career will be. I will NEVER regret all the firsts I witnessed. I will NEVER regret "sacrificing" my "identity" for my children during those years. To be honest, it was a pure gift to be able to stay with them. The most precious gift of my entire LIFE was that I was able to give myself wholly to my children during their early years.
And if it meant that all I could talk about for eleven years were strollers, lunchpails, diaper rashes and preschool--THEN SO BE IT. My feminism encompasses the WHOLE of my female experience.
Yeah, it's nice that I have a writing career now. I'm super happy about it. But I am so thankful that I was able to embrace those early, little years of my children's lives without feeling pressured by ridiculous, strident feminists to ALSO keep up with everyone else.
I "disappeared" into motherhood and I'm damn proud of it.