Google+ Authentic Parenting: Feminism, Career And Parenting

Monday, March 29, 2010

Feminism, Career And Parenting

I have lost my cool with my old friends from university. I chatted with a good friend of mine who told me about a conversation he had with these girls from my university years. Apparently they are appaled and shocked by what I post on my Faceboob, i.e. articles about extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding when they are teething and the family bed. All this is so very appaling because I am valuing parenting as a full time job, which is anti-feminist. (And because frankly, none of them would want teeth close to their nipples).
I am talking about a bunch of single career-driven girls who still linger in the same bars they hung around in when they were students, with no family plans in the near future (yes it is also totaly anti-feminist to marry or have kids before your thirties - I got married at 23). Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against being career driven, except when it means you are doing something every day you don't like for the mere reason of moving op the corporate ladder, because that's what a liberated woman is supposed to do. If you are doing a job you love and you want to move forward in that, hurray to you! I celebrate that.

Yet, I think the idea that you can combine a career and parenting is an illusion. I agree that some of us do need a job to support our family. But, there is a difference between having a job and aspiring to a career. A career means you are completely devoted to moving up. If you are completely devoted to one thing, you cannot in any way be devoted to the same extent to another, so if you say you want a career and children, than you are neglecting at least one of them.

The arguement that being an attached parent is anti-feminist is just plain bullshit. Feminism as a means to liberate women from their furnace is a thing from the past. If you still think feminism is about working your ass off to 'make it' in a 'men's world', you have missed your train and should have been born in a different era. While this was a great cause for our post war grandmothers, it was a flawed cause and it is a mindset that should have expired a long time ago.
Feminism shouldn't be about trying to equal men in their careers, it should be all about choices. (Read Feminism is more than working outside the house) Feminism should be about creating a world in which a woman is allowed to choose her own path - wether it lies in parenting or in a job. How can you be feminist and only fight for the right of some women?
Bashing other women for the choices they make in life is simply anti-feminist. I think if women would grant each other the light of day just a little more, the feminist movement might just go forward, rather than backward.

To me, the single most feminist thing to do is parenting your children. For is it not in childhood that one's notions and conceptions of the world rise. So if you want to be a feminist in the sense that you want to create a difference in the lives of women of future generations, what better place to start then with your own children, and especially with your boys! Braking gender stereotyping that lead to biased treatment of men and women starts in childhood. How can you expect that to happen if you allow someone else to raise your child?

If this offends you, you are not a feminist, you are an egoist! All you really care about is wether your choices will be validated, not wether women have a choice.


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12 comments:

  1. I agree with you :)
    Thank you for writing this article.
    Luísa

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  2. YESS YESSS!!! thank you perfect analogy!!

    I have a small business I'm a mum I don't need to compete with anyone male or female I'm just happy doing what I do.

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  3. Just wondering about what your opinion on my situation would be (by the way I am a fan of your blog and FB page). I like how you pretty much always say parent your child instead of mother your child. I work a full time job in a field that some would consider very career based. My husband stays home full time with the kids. He is not their mother but he is a parent. How can we all win when we all want to be parenting our children full time. Who brings home the "bacon"? Do I have a right to make my husband leave his children? Don't I have a right to be with them all day? OK I'm off my soap box. I support women's choices. That is what it is all about.

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  4. Susan, as you have noticed correctly, I talk about parenting your child. I think it is highly beneficial for a child to be around a parent most of his time, instead of being handed over to strangers, especially when that child is little (by which I mean under the age of two). I do not however specify if that parent should be the mother or the father, because I think both are equally capable of taking care of their children. (although I think - in an ideal world - as long as the infant is exlusively breastfed a mother should be around)
    You and your husband have made the choice for one of you to stay at home and the other to work outside the house. And this is perfect. Never ever will I tell you it is the woman who should stay at home. As long as the child is in the care of a parent - or even someone very close to the core family - I think the child is being perfectly cared for.

    I am not opposed to pursuing a career. I completely get that drive. I just think one should not choose a career over their children, because in that case you better have none. In your case, as I said, the children are taken care of, so your situation is not what I was getting at.

    In an ideal world, we would all get to parent our children around the clock if we so desired and still gain enough money to make ends meet. Sadly, we are not living in such a world (yet?). I do think that whatever your income situation is (at least in Europe), it might be worth considering to have one parent SAH or at least work less hours, as long as the children are small. Or find a trusted person to care for them (sister, grandparents...). Often this option is even financially beneficial.
    I find it mind blowing to PAY a person to RAISE your child, especially because most often they are raising half a dozen at the same time and that is completely out of your control.

    Anyhow... You don't seem to be the kind of person to judge other women for raising their children and taking the time to breastfeed them until they are done (otherwise you won't be reading my blog, now would you)

    Did that answer your questions?

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  5. Thank you. This is just what I needed to hear. Although I know giving up work was the right thing for me to do for our family, it sometimes feels like I am looked down on. I know this is the most important job in the world, and it is good to hear someone else reassure me of that!

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  6. I completely agree with this statement: "Bashing other women for the choices they make in life is simply anti-feminist."

    Yet in your next paragraph you state: "How can you expect that to happen if you allow someone else to raise your child?"

    That sounds like bashing to me, and dilutes your message.

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  7. @ Tacey, that is a feeling a lot of SAHM get, I discuss it in this article: http://mamapoekie.blogspot.com/2010/02/ramblings-of-lazy-housewife.html

    @ JenDett: That's a question. It is to incite people to think about the issue.

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  8. I'm so in love with this article. I'm glad to see that other people have or are seeing the problem with burning the bra. Burning the bra was to symbolize the quest for equality...I've yet to meet a man wearing a bra in the corporate world.
    I'm totally with Tracey, sometimes I do question the decision I made and the worlds take on leaving sales executive h*ll to be a full time parent. Then I get a quick notice from my baby and he smiles and I smile and realize... I'm not wearing a bra!

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  9. Stopping by from SITS and wishing you a great day!

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  10. @ aNEWma, I love how your comment, cracks me up!

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  11. I really enjoyed this article. Im really enjoying reading what you write. I love your honesty and your dedication to living up to your ideals and educating others about it too...

    2 months ago, I would have totally and utterly agreed with everything you wrote in this post. Well, I now agree with 99% of it. I will clarify what I mean. My son is 18months old. I still breastfeed, and cosleep. I attend to his cries promtly, most the time (Unfortuantely, I have to go to the toliet sometimes lol). Actually, in the first few months, I would not even go to the toilet if he was crying....

    BUT, he refused to go into a sling and never stayed asleep in our bed until he was 8months old. So, we had him in his cot next to us. I never left him until he was 8 months old and that was for 5 hours with his grandma once a fortnight to go to uni. I got my uni work done whilst he was asleep and admittingly, I would leave him next door at his grandma's alot for the week before the exam's. I would go see him every 1.5 hours....

    2 months ago, we found out my sons kidneys have not grown in a year, and made some really strict decisions about smoking again. We never allowed it before, but became relaxed when he was 10montsh old, to allow them if someone else was caring for him and he wasnt near it. This time we asked to not do it throughtout the day because it stays on their clothes. She refused. And, I was in the middle of semester. So, I looked at daycare for 3 hours a day, two times a week. I made a commitment that if he was more clingy or withdrawn or cried etc I would stop immdediately. This is completely against my ideals and what I would have wanted. HOWEVER, after day one, my son would get excited when we arrived. He would jump out of my arms and want to go and play. He cried one time because he wanted to stay and play....

    In my humble opinion, this has been beneficial for him. I would never ever ever keep him there if I thought it meant others were raising him or if his behaviour had changed. He also, does not push boundaries there and stopped pulling hair. The carers use my clothe nappy system, and goats milk if required. They use my BPA free cups for his water too.

    I do not know if we can place every child into this one box and say that we are doing harm to them. It cannot be that black and white. I think we need to look at each situation and look at it individually.

    I do agree with almost everything in this artcile, and I am more than open to grow and develop my views. I have just found for me, that even though I intended on doing everything the attachment parenting way, I have only managed to do most of it. Does that mean my son is nt securely attached? Of course not. Does that mean he is worse off? I don't think so.

    Feel free to critcise me, as I am always open for growth and change.

    I think for me, that I need to have something else to stimulate me. I feel as thoug, I enjoy motherhood more, and that cant be a bad thing. I wish I could just give up my hopes and dreams if finishing my degree, but I do not feel that it is hurting my son. I am with him most times and only near by if I am not, so I can't see why I need to let go of my dreams for an ideal that may not be any better for him anyway?

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  12. I won't criticize you, Naj :)

    No women can only be a mother and nothing else. We all need to find a way to be a woman next to being a mother (and a wife too, but that's another topic)

    Pusuing passions or having interests beside being a mom is only natural and even nescessary to enjoy life and being a parent

    being a mother doesn't need to be a sacrifice.

    However, I was talking about careers in this article and that is a whole other ballgame. Career isn't just about pursuing passions or interests, it's about fighting your way to the top, and that is not something you can do halfway... And IMHO parenting is not sth you can do halfway either, so if you choose to have both, either one is going to suffer.

    On the daycare topic, I was referring to putting your child in daycare in order to liberate the time for that career. We all know that making a career doesn't come in nicely packaged hours, say 9 to 5

    I do believe daycare - or any form of alternative care, and in your case I agree that daycare was the best option can be a good way to give some spare time to mother/father (or whomever is the child's principal caregiver) to be himself aside from being a parent. I also agree that some sort of group care can be a nice outlet and a way for kids to meet other kids.
    But what you are talking about isn't daycare for 12 hours a day and 5 days a week, which is the type of care I was talking about and which I believe not to be in the childs best interest

    and thn another note, there are some awesome daycare options out there, but sadly, they are scarse, and often it is the parent conforming to the principles of the secondary caregiver instead of the other way around

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