I would like to start by saying this post is in no way about men vs. women. There are lots of dads out there that are amazing and equal partners in parenting. Dads offer different needs and perspectives that a child needs throughout their life. So again this is in no way about dads. Dads are great!
What it is about is “feminism”. The so called word is suppose to offer women equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and to have just as many options as men have. (Again… not men vs. women) This idea sounds great, right? Since becoming a mother it has become apparent to me that feminism is just another way of saying “women need to do it all”.
The definition of feminism is:
the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
The reason why my opinion has changed since becoming a mother is because I woke up one day a few weeks after my daughter was born for our usual night time feeding and thought to myself “feminism sucks”. What was my train of thought? I had many…. but to start with I was watching my husband fast asleep as I take our crying daughter our of the room and thought to myself “How can he sleep through this?”. I started to realize that as much as we want to evolve into a society where everyone is equals in the workforce, politics, parenting etc. biologically we are still very different. My husband cant breastfeed our daughter in the middle of the night, or birth our child. He isn’t biologically wired to react differently to her cries or deal with the hormones of just having had a baby. I could go on and on about how each provide different essential for their child but I think we have all heard that discussion. Here is where my frustration comes… its not from a father vs. mother point of view but instead from a mother vs. mother view.
Women now days have so much pressure to be the perfect mothers, employees and member of society. Are where do we get this pressure from. Other mothers!!
I sat there thinking that in order to be the “perfect mother” I had to breastfeed if I wanted my baby to have optimal brain development, carry her in a swing if I wanted her to feel loved and secure, cook all organic food if I wanted to provide my body and in essence my baby with the optimal nutrition, care for the house to provide a clean environment for my family, provide my husband with the attention and admiration in order to nurture my marriage and on top of that all I have to be working full time. And looking ahead over the next few years throw elaborately crafted birthday parties, make all organic baby food and encourage my daughters development with the best and of course all natural baby toys. It all seemed very overwhelming. The thought of having to take on all this at once and do it with a smile on my face had me completely in tears. Why do we put so much pressure on mothers??
I have to admit…. I may have been one of those judging women who had no sympathy for mothers in the workplace, who silently judged women who didn’t breastfeed wondering why they didn’t realize how great it was for their baby, who wondered why some women let their babies play with ridiculous toys, or let their toddlers watch TV … the list goes on and on and on.
And it hit me… when did feminism change from “women have options” to “women need to do it all”. Women now need to be the perfect mother, perfect wives, perfect housekeepers and perfect employees.
So I want to take the time to say. I’m sorry to the mother I judged in the grocery store for buying baby formula, the mother at the fair carting her baby around in the stroller instead of a sling, the mother in line at target who’s child is playing games with her phone, the mother who has made the difficult decision to become a stay-at-home mom and most of all I’m sorry to myself for already being so hard on myself.
I had to continue to remind myself that it’s OK to not be perfect. Its OK to struggle sometimes and its OK to give yourself a break. Women don’t have to do it all, and it they want to, all the power to them. But lets focus back on what feminism is really all about. Its about giving women options. Options to decide on what career path to take, to decide when they want to get married and to whom, when they want to have children, if they want to continue with their career once they start a family, if they want to breastfeed and most importantly its about allowing women to do what makes them happy and what is best for their family. Whether that’s a high power career, a part time job or no job at all. Whether they want to breastfeed, formula feed or pump. If they want to cart their kid around in a sling, stroller or buggy. If they want to raise their family on a farm, in the city or in the suburbs. You have options, and you don’t need to feel bad about embracing them. Let your choices empower you. Isn’t that what feminism is all about?