7.07.2006

Musing on Life

I usually try not to blog about my personal life, because to be frank, it's pretty boring, but several different things have got me thinking about my own life direction a lot recently. The whole Linda Hirshman controversy of stay-at-home moms vs. working moms prompted me to read a couple of books on the topic, and think more about what I want from life.

Short term goals are easy: I want to get the most out of my summer internship, maybe get a few articles published. I want to do well in my classes next year, and keep my GPA up so I have a shot at grad school. I want to be a kick-ass opinions editor for the school paper, and hopefully get more people involved in writing. I want to actually learn how to salsa dance, instead of just clumsily following along. I want to date a Citadel cadet (only half-joking on that one; I have a serious weakness for military types).

Long term, though, things get slightly more blurry. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to get married and have kids; I've also always wanted to be involved in politics. I am a hard worker as long as I feel that what I'm working for has some greater goal or value, and have every confidence that I could really make a difference working in politics. At the same time, I also know that I want to raise my own children. That means actually being at home with them when they are young, being the one who shapes their morals and their characters, being there when they get back from school so that they don't come home to an empty house.

My friends joke about the fact that I would be a great housewife/mom (mostly because I actually love cleaning and cooking; they give me such a sense of satisfaction), and perhaps because I am such a perfectionist, I don't think anyone could do a better job of raising my kids than I could. To Linda Hirshman, though, my goal of wanting to raise kids means that I am wasting my education and my life. The real question that I ask myself is where I could do the most good, where I could have the greatest impact. Generally, I come to the conclusion that both are equally important.

I've read too much on the effects of daycare on children, and seen firsthand the issues of kids I babysat, to really believe that you can work full-time and not have it take a serious toll on your family. On the other hand, I know that working on concrete projects is a very fulfilling experience for me, and that it would be hard to just give up a career, even for a relatively short time.

Basically, I am faced with the same problem that most women face; where am I going to place my priorities? At this point, I lean towards family. I realize that being a stay at home mom will require sacrifice (older cars, less money to spend, subjugating self to others), but isn't that what life is really all about? It's somewhat out of fashion to acknowledge the necessity of making sacrifices, especially if you are a woman. After all, staying home with kids, changing your last name when you get married, aren't those concessions to the patriarchy? Shouldn't we be able to have it all (kids and career), if men can? This, of course, is ridiculous, as most men also make a sacrifice. They give up experiencing much of their kids' childhoods in order to work to provide for their families.

When/If I get married, I want kids. I understand that this will mean cutting back work or quitting entirely for a time, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. I'm not betraying a greater feminist ideal by wanting to be the one who oversees my children's development from incessantly wailing infants to incessantly whining teenagers; I would be lying to myself if I convinced myself to let someone else have that valuable job while I pursue a career.

So, that's my ramble. I've been told I plan things too far in advance, that I shouldn't try to figure out my life when I'm just a sophomore in college, but it can't hurt to be prepared. If I know what I'm to get out of life, I have a better idea of where I need to go and what I need to do. I already have the internship, now I just need to find that Citadel guy.
-The Quartermaster

2 Comments:

  • I don't like it when women term themselves as "feminists" but obviously aren't.

    The traditional "feminist" movement doesn't celebrate things feminine or work to ensure that feminine traits are valued as highly as masculine, they activly work to undermine the feminine.

    What is especially confusing is that they verbally abuse masculinity as the root of all evil, while advocating those very same traits in women.

    They actively work to turn women into men lite, entreat women to supress their feminine qualities and emulate or cultivate the masculine...all the while undermining their own efforts by berating and belittling men for their masculine traits.

    You can believe that men and women are of equal importance while fully admitting that we are inherently different. We have different hormonal balances, different natural aptitudes, proclivities and interests, and different physical and emotional traits.

    Men and women, in their natural and instinctive roles, are not subordinate to each other, are not in competition with each other and are not detrimental to each other, they are complementary to each other.

    This is true in matters of the home, matters of the heart and matters of childrearing.

    You seem to have come to this understanding on many levels. Don't call yourself a feminist just because you feel yourself equal in importance to men, that goes without saying. Calling yourself a feminist intimates disdain and repressed embarrassment about those very traits that make you a woman, and active dislike of the traits of men.

    I love, cherish and honor my wife for her femininity while recognizing and acknowledging that we were never intended by God to be the same...our differences complement each other perfectly. Even when our differences cause disagreements, we recognize that each of us have valuable insights that, when taken together, can overcome any obstacle.

    Her more emotionally driven and compassionate outlook is no less correct than my more dispassionate and logical approach, it is only different...sometimes I need her to stoke my emotions and compassion...and sometimes she needs me to point out the logical solution in the face of strong feelings.

    I don't feel like I've expressed myself very well, but I'm going to stop rambling anyway. I'll forgive myself, it's pretty early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet.

    By the way, You could do much worse than a military man for a mate. Of course, considering that I'm a retired 21 year vet, I might be a bit biased on that subject.

    By Blogger Sailorcurt, at 6:42 AM  

  • You've expressed yourself quite well; you've also very accurately put into words the reason so many young women of my generation reject the 'feminist' label. It isn't because we don't understand our history, as feminists try to explain, nor is that we don't appreciate equality. Rather, it's because we see the differences between men and women in our everyday lives, in our dating experiences, in our classes, etc, and we understand how silly it is to try to say that men and women are the same. Women who reject the feminist label often do so because they see something beautiful in their femininity, and something equally wonderful, but different, in masculinity. Maybe that's why I love military men. To me, they represent some of the best parts of masculinity.
    -The Quartermaster

    By Blogger The Triumvirate, at 3:18 PM  

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