Friday, June 16, 2006

A Call to Arms

There are moments when I think she's right. Like when I've picked up yet another banana peel casually left on the end table in the TV room. Or, when the dishwasher is "dirty" but not full, yet everyone piles the dishes on the counter without even looking. I think of my expensive and hard-won education sometimes as I wipe strawberry jam dribbled down the white kitchen cabinets. Endless possibilitites floated in front of me in my younger days . There are snips in time when I feel like an adult again because someone made a positive comment on my writing and wonder what it would be like to work where I'm appreciated.

So, who is she? Linda Hirshman thinks women who stay at home are wasting their education and should be in the work force. At one time, I think I might have been insulted and angry at this interview I found in Newsweek, but not anymore. She seems intent to continue the Mommy Wars, mom against mom, who's right and who's wrong. Women, she claims, need to be working and filling positions of power. Women are better educated than ever, yet our personal lives haven't changed much, she claims and women still do the brunt of the housework and child rearing.

Here are her three rules: "Prepare yourself to qualify for good work, treat work seriously, and don’t put yourself in a position of unequal resources when you marry." Oh, but wait, there's one more: "Have a baby. Just don’t have two. " So, in order to rule the world, today's women should marry a man that is either very into gender equality, or one that is so weak she can hen-peck him into submission. And, we can have but one child - her breadcrumb thrown to us from the table of plenty.

Where would this lead me? Which of my children would I not have had? Lauren, who plays Chopin with enough feelings to make adults misty-eyed? Anna, my sensitive child that writes and draws beautifully? How about William, the one that teaches me to enjoy the day and look at butterflies, and laugh. Yes, we might have a bigger house, more things. But we wouldn't have each other.

I won't debate each of her points. I have many thoughts on them, but my son awaits for some time in the sandbox. Yes, this engineer will be building roads, but in the sand. You see, Ms. Hirshman, I'm not a data point. I don't want to leave my child for the boardroom. I believe in Heaven, but I also believe in another type of immortality. Long after I am gone, I'll live on inside each of my children. They'll remember my words, they'll remember our times together, they'll remember laughter and tears. I'll live in them. And I will change the world, one child at a time. Your writing is for me a call to arms. I will call each of my children to my arms, and tell them that I love them. Stick that into your study.


pita-woman said...

Gee, I got all teary-eyed reading that last little bit.
Enjoy your time in that sand box with your son, because before you know it, he'll be shunning it.
It's kind of the same, but not exactly... the way I feel about our dogs (my children). Sure, we could have a bigger home, or at least, a cleaner home, but I'd miss out on so much joy, love, and sloppy kisses if I didn't have them.
Must go dab the tears now.

Anne said...

Amen sister!

mommaof4 said...

I second that AMEN.

Anonymous said...

I, too, read that article. Personally, I think she is hiding her TRUE feelings! I think she wishes she could be on the other side of the Mommy Wars!! I've got 3 degrees, but they compare nothing to being there with my 4 children as they grow up. And I'll really make her "toss her cookies"; I'm home schooling them to boot!!! I'm touching the future ... what better job is there?!

Mom of Twins and 2 more!!


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