Let’s have it all?!

Men cannot have babies – just in case there’s any confusion (my husband promised he’d carry baby #2 and that did not happen).  Women obviously are physically meant to carry children and emotionally equipped to raise them. But somehow during feminism’s evolution, the line between family and ambition became blurred.

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My friend, Brooke, recently gave birth to a little girl. Her and her husband both have college degrees and notable work experiences.  Before the birth of their daughter, Brooke and her husband made the decision for Brooke to stay home after their baby was born.  After an extremely rough delivery and even more difficult recovery, Brooke was still trying to make peace with their decision.  She felt like she needed to work because of her education. During a visit Brooke’s aunt made a comment along the lines of “I just don’t know how people have any value if they aren’t making money?” Good job of putting guilt and stress on a woman who is a new mom trying to find her way through motherhood and hormones! Brooke’s aunt happens to be a big wig at a good sized company and never had kids. Maybe the comment was interpreted out of context, but regardless, what the hell does that mean?! And why do people think they can say whatever they want?! Brooke’s aunt actually doesn’t get an opinion about kids and working – she never lived through it.

Very few mothers are able to stay home in today’s modern world due to financials.  A 2012 Gallup Poll surveyed women to get an idea of how many women are staying home to raise their children (Follow the link if you want all the specifics – Gallup Poll for stay at home mom’s). The numbers are staggering compared to the 1950s.

Women’s rights have evolved immensely in the past century.  Bra’s have been burnt, girls have been beaten, and women have been killed in an effort to gain the same rights as men. But have all these efforts, sacrifices, and breakthroughs resulted in serious unintended consequences?

A woman’s traditional role is wife and mother – the family caregiver.  The traditional female role has made an earth-shattering evolution that has reshaped morals and altered family values.  In this always progressing digital world women are now expected to have it all; get an education; have a full time career; maybe get married; maybe have kids; maintain a perfect physique; have a perfect house; homemade dinner on the table; etc, etc, etc! The list is so lengthy it’s impossible and exhausting to even attempt to complete!

Feminism has given women the right to choose to – participate in sports; achieve a higher education; to excel in the workplace; have children; get married; buy a house; wear what we want. We are no longer just baby factories. Hallelujah!!

However, the evolution of a woman’s role has changed society’s perspective on women who want to be a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM as many call it).  “I’m just a mom” is not good enough for society, everyone wants more. But woman again, should have the right to proudly choose. A woman can have a college degree, follow a career path, then choose to stay home and raise her children. Being a SAHM, let alone a career woman, is a full time job with no sick days or vacation days. And guess what, we can even choose to go back to work after our children are in school or stay home!

No matter what kind of pressure society, or in most cases, family members put on us – choosing to work or stay home is our choice. Raising children is truly the most valuable thing a woman can do, even if we don’t make a cent in the process. The return on investment is priceless.

The most important thing is to make peace with whatever you or your family decide is best for you and your children. This means – WE CAN HAVE IT ALL!  But be ready, whether you decide to work or stay at home – it’s going to be an exhausting ride!

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Believing in hummanity

Before having children my husband and I truly asked ourselves ,”Do we want to bring children into such a cruel and dangerous world?” “Why on Earth would we want to have babies when the human race has evolved to be heartless and selfish?” We’ve all seen daily horrific acts of violence and terrorism playing out on the news and sometimes in our own communities.  School used to seem like the safest place for a child – now parents have to worry about cyber bullying, bomb threats, shooting sprees, and other human created terror where our babies are being educated – not even movie theaters or marathons seem safe anymore. “Who in their right mind would want to have kids in such a scary world?!”Its easy to be scared and hard to be brave.

After much thinking and soul searching, my husband and I came the same conclusion – even though the world is frightening, we would do our best to raise children who had capabilities to change the world for the better. Lofty goals, yes, but shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land in the stars. We knew and hoped that how ever many children God blessed us with, they would have every opportunity for greatness.

The world only seems like a dark, dismal place if we let it.  Our world is what we make of it for our children. Doom and gloom stories lead newscasts.  A professor of mine once proclaimed “If it bleeds it leads!”. When are media outlets going to realize heart touching stories are just as compelling as heartbreaking sagas?! I want to hear about the lady who, out of the goodness of her heart, raised thousands of dollars for a family in need … I know these stories are out there! We deserve to be informed (with unbiased, uncensored, truthful facts); we don’t always want bad news – GIVE US SOME GOOD NEWS! Help people believe in humanity again.

Besides the news, us moms have people in our daily lives constantly forcing us to question our mothering skills and our direct link to humanity.  Its amazing how a mother-in-law, grandmother, or even a friend can make you feel like the worst mother in the world.  Aren’t they supposed to be in our corner? They surely know how hard being a mom is? Maybe we don’t give them enough credit, or maybe we set our expectations for them too high.

Despite all the negativity in our society, there is great news – there are normal people in the world! People who empathize with others, compassionate people whose spirits and peace far outnumber the evil and spiteful.

Just when I couldn’t become more disillusioned, I finally had a girls night out and met a girl who was 35-years-old, a lawyer, and absolutely gorgeous. After some ice breakers, she informed me her husband of tens years left her a few months back – he had been cheating on her with numerous women, one of which was her good friend. They were even in the process of finally starting to try for kids after years of focusing on their law careers. She was completely blindsided. At the end of the conversation she was so thankful and professed, “Its so good to meet people who are normal. It helps me believe in humanity again.”

Human nature leads us focus on the negative more than the positive; but imagine the world we would live in if more people took their individual struggles and tried to find the silver lining. Even when our wounds are raw (like my new friend’s), we have the ability to follow her example by finding grace, dignity and triumph during tragedy. Easier said than done, but even a positive effort can change perspective!

Our decision to have children became easy – but being a parent is tough and the most difficult, rewarding thing a woman can do.  As moms we have to guide our children with our hearts and intuition, but also teach them the world can be scary and wonderful all at the same time. I hope my children come to think of me as compassionate, understanding, loving, truthful, loyal, protective, giving, and most importantly admirable – the opposite of the few monsters in the world.  Children first see the world through the eyes of their mothers.  Stay positive but don’t ignore the world, because we can always find light in the darkness. And remember, the good really do out number the bad.

The day my husband and I became proud parents.

The day my husband and I became proud parents.