Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feminism, I have a bone to pick.

Feminism, I have a bone to pick.

While I understand some very important changes have taken place over the course of women's rights and I honestly appreciate those who have struggled to get women's rights out there on lots of things.  I still have a bone to pick and I suggest that we don’t quite have it right yet.

From where I sit, I see some flaws.

Honestly, feminism took mothers from the home to the work force and essentially we have ended up with homes without the very core of what makes them, well, a family.
I won’t say families can’t be raised with their mothers working or that all mothers shouldn't work. Clearly we have several generations who have done just that and well, here we all are, still continuing on as a human race. But are we better for it?

It’s my opinion that we are now often forced doing what we wanted the freedom  of choice to do (work) and now looking for the freedom to be able to choose to stay home and raise our family. For many families it is now next to impossible to survive on one income. Forcing mom to work whether she likes it or not. Meanwhile, many women are STILL expected to pick up the majority of the household duties and child rearing.

Those lucky enough to be able to afford to stay home are well, often ill prepared for motherhood, and "domesticality". In the feminist movement we have shifted our priorities from the home to work field and have lost lifetimes of knowledge that helped us cope with our responsibilities as a wife, as a mother, as a woman.  So you get to stay home now…. but how many of us really know how to do that anymore? In the days of old there were finishing schools and home economics classes. Mothers trained their daughters how to manage their home with grace, balance their marriage, children and house and prioritize. They passed down generations of recipes and fed their families with food they prepared themselves and their families were healthier for it.  Is this sounding like a fairy tale? It should, those days are all but gone. Now these valuable set of skills are hard to find, if not impossible. Women have been left to flounder around trying to figure it out on our own and often failing miserably. This affects our marriages and dare I say, our own self esteem as we feel inadequate and we continue to pass down our lack of skills to our own daughters.

Another set of mothers are the ones who have managed to stay home despite income restrictions. They’ve found creative ways to make money from home and are often tight on the bills and strapped for cash. They can’t afford many of the fun things they thought they would be doing with their children and their idea of a stay at home mom meets reality and their dreams become a sad fantasy. They stress because they always wonder, are we going to make the bills this month, they feel guilty for wanting to stay home and think maybe they should just go back to work. Did you read that? Let me repeat that. They feel GUILTY for something like wanting to raise their own family! It saddens me that what was once a right to stay at home with your child is now a very hard choice that often comes with many sacrifices leaving the mother and father to feel like they aren’t getting things right. It’s a struggle.

We now live in a rushed society, children being raised by childcare centers, schools and I shudder, the media. TV’s baby sit our children while we try to make just enough time to get it all done.  We pop in microwave dinners and sit around the TV, this is our family time as we all crash from a long days work.  Not to mention consuming crazy amounts of unhealthy fast foods.

Is this REALLY what we wanted? I have to wonder, am I the only one that feels duped?

8 comments:

  1. No-you're not alone. I strive to make dinners from scratch without using processed food. Before I had my baby a few months ago, I would bake bread every couple days too. My husband & I were just commenting today about how no one teaches their kids how to do laundry or how cooking is a dying art. In the old days, moms would do it, but in our modern day, stay at home dads are more common, but they don't know how to cook anymore than mom does. (I'm biased-my oldest son wants to be a pastry chef & my husband is going back to get a culinary degree.) Sure, Food Network's ratings are through the roof, but only because people see it as fantasy & unattainable. I don't know, but when Rachel Ray & Sandra Lee look ideal, shoot me. :)I got a little off topic here, but the whole TV babysitting, processed food eating in front of the TV thing ticks me off.

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  2. I agree with you Crystal. I've been asking this question over and over again. While feminism was great 'in theory' there a alot of flaws that no one completely thought through. I actually would've loved to lived back in the day when women stayed home and raised their families and cooked amazing home made food from scratch. I am one of the few lucky moms that gets to stay home with my babies but I have very limited cooking skills and feel very inadequate in the kitchen. If only it were still an 'option' to go to work for those very career oriented women and those of us who want to raise our own kids could stay home. I wish there were still Finishing schools. I would definantly hit one up! haha.

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  3. I agree with you as well, Crystal. When I first quit my "day job" to raise my son, I was overwhelmed. I still feel as though I don't have enough time to "do it all." I have begun learning more about simplicity parenting and the Waldorf education approach. I love it. I still run my website as best as I can, but I try to keep my son and family my main focus. Best of luck to all the mom's who just want to stay at home and raise their own children!

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  4. Totally agree. Feminism is about FEMALE CHOICE - whether it be staying home or working. My mom worked up to three jobs at a time as a single mother, made many of our clothes (up until middle school), cooked & taught us how to do it all as well. Honestly, I never thought I'd be a SAHM growing up. The plan was to work. The award for the top grade in FCS class & being VP of the FCCLA was a foreshadow I didn't recognize (all those acronyms=home economics)! It wasn't until I was married to an Army officer that I felt comfortable with the plan to stay home full-time. While I do not feel cheated by my childhood, I wanted my kids to have the most fulfilling experience I could offer, which was staying home; it was fortunately financially viable. There's such a huge community of SAHMs in the military that it's almost like being transported back in time! Being a SAHM is the norm really so support is great. I love cooking, baking, trying new things in the kitchen, heck I like keeping a neat, clean house as old-fashioned as it sounds. We plan on 3 more kids & all - boys or girls - will be taught how to cook, clean, launder, etc. To lilbunny, come down South, there are still those that "finish" young ladies (seriously). I hope that society will soon get to a place where the choice of home, work or both, really is a choice for all.

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  5. Wow, FINALLY someone pointed out what needed to be said. Good job, Crystal. I was raised in the 70's, and boy were things different! My Mom taught me a lot of things, and I am so-very-hard trying to teach my girls similar values and how to appreciate what you have. I know before long, y girls will be independent and pulling away from me, but I begged, borrowed and almost stole so I could stay home with them. I would be, IMHO, be possibly suffering under someone else's values and/or incorrect guidance of my children and I just couldn't take that chance.

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  6. Thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling for a long LONG time! I am a SAHM but I am one of the one that's pinching pennies wondering if we'll make our bills each month. But honestly, I didn't have kids to have somebody else raise them so while they're little I'm going to college and once they're old enough to go to school I'll go back to work part time. Now if only my cooking skills and my basic domestic skills were better.

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  7. I have 5 children and wanted to stay home and not have to earn the $. This was not possible by the time I started having children. I had to supplement our income so I opened a daycare. It was a great daycare and I have many, many incredible memories and life long friends from it. I even ended up running it long after I needed to, mostly because I had such empathy for the moms who couldn't stay home with their own children. I provided the closest thing to "home" there could be under the circumstances. Crystal is correct about the way things used to be. I lived that time as a child. "Women's Lib" seemed like such a worthwhile movement at first, except that it wasn't. It cost us our innocence and took away the right of Men being Men and Women being Women. The movement should have been, "Equal Rights Movement"; meaning, that regardless of creed, color, sex or what not, if you can do the job, this is the pay for it. Instead, it took our mothers out of the home, insisted that "men get in touch with their feminine side", made mother's the bread winners as well as double hatted them, and then left the women too tired for really important things in life like, raising children and creating the "fun,happiness & peace" in the household, and left the men feeling inadequate. Home used to be one's Sanctuary. Now, most households are stressed and are slaves to the clock and the next payment due. Children are our future, as we were to our parent's generation. Anybody who belittles the position of "Mother" by saying or implying that "you are JUST a housewife" is not a society friendly person. I believe that that is what happened to our society and I do not think it was an accident. We are far easier to control when we are tired, stressed and distracted. When I was growing up there were manners, traditions and children played outside safely. Your neighbors helped you raise your children by watching out for them,and you did the same. Children rode their bikes to visit their friends and you could trust that they would come home safely. There were no "play dates" you had to drive your children to,they played with the children in the neighborhood & from school, and you KNEW those children. There was no need for private schools because the schools could do their jobs because the PARENTS did theirs. Mothers volunteered at school and were involved in the forming and the bettering of the community. People cared, and it showed just by walking down the street, people were friendly, they smiled at you and helped you if you needed it. You didn't even have to ask! That is the WORTH of, "stay at home moms". There didn't used to even be such a term. And men could be men, less fighting in the home because everyone had a specific job; dad earned the $ and protected the family and mom made home stable and happy. In that way both parents raised the children, all of it tied in together. I am not slamming those who want to work outside of the home, in no way am I doing that. I am simply saying that a while back........we were hood-winked. We now no longer have a comfortable power of choice.

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