She was surprised because she thought I didn't look old enough to have all that under my belt - she thought I looked 25. What an ego boost! Then I mentioned that as a matter of fact, I also had 6 years in the military and three kids. So basically, I've kicked ass AND took names. Which led me to the point of wanting to continue to work while raising my kids.
|© Photographer: Ken Hurst ||
She was surprised and mentioned that no one seems to value just being a mom anymore. That it's almost looked down upon for a mom to stay at home with her kids. That women weren't even allowed to work when they became pregnant in her day. "You stayed home and never returned to work again." "My mom stayed home with us and I enjoyed having her home with us kids."
Where to begin? I listened and then politely told her that when I was growing up in the 70s, it was expected for women to attend college and have careers. (At least in my part of the world - the Pacific Northwest.) Having a family and being a housewife wasn't pushed on us. At least that was never my experience. My mom worked throughout my life and raised us as a single mom - that was my model.
I explained that the women who came before me had already fought for women's liberation and my generation took it for granted that college and the workforce was the norm. I didn't say more about it, the conversation changed, but I know my friend who was sitting next to me was biting her tongue. She's a single, working mom - gasp!
I don't take offense to her questions and point-of-view. It just strengthens my resolve to be a role model to my daughters and other young girls who have passions and aspirations other than being moms. I don't feel it's bad to be 'just' a stay-at-home mom, but if you have the drive to be something, you shouldn't feel limited or judged for continuing your career when you become a mom. It's also nice to have a network of friends who are also working moms that understand the unique challenges and that can cheer you up when you're feeling particularly guilty.
I remember vividly in grade school choir, listening to the 1972 album Free to Be You and Me and I loved it! All of the songs center around equal rights for men and women and they are incredibly fun and entertaining. I've introduced my chickadees to it and we love singing along to the songs. To partially explain my reasoning for not being a domestic goddess as well as my drive to succeed, I can thank Free to Be You and Me!
|World's Best Girl-Power Album|
|1. Free to Be...You and Me|
|2. Boy Meets Girl|
|3. When We Grow Up|
|4. Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron|
|5. Parents Are People|
|8. Ladies First|
|9. Dudley Pippin and the Principal|
|10. It's All Right to Cry|
|11. Sisters and Brothers|
|12. My Dog Is a Plumber|
|13. William's Doll|
|16. Girl Land|
|17. Dudley Pippin and His No-Friend|
|18. Glad to Have a Friend Like You|
|19. Free to Be...You and Me (Reprise)|