I am not the woman that you can see in old movies from the 50s and 60s. I am also not the woman that the feminist in me says I should strive to be. Let me explain.
I will never be a housewife. When I picture my life in ten or fifteen years, I cannot see a woman who stays home, cooks, cleans, and takes care of the children. I don’t see a woman who greets her husband when he gets home from work with a kiss on the cheek and a casserole on the table.
It’s totally okay if that is the future you want. I just don’t see myself being that kind of woman.
For one, I only enjoy cooking on rare occasions, and I would be an absolutely awful housekeeper, simply because I am one of the messiest and most cluttered people you could ever meet. I want to have children someday, but I don’t think I would be fulfilled by making them my full-time job.
I also don’t see a future where I am a high-powered, influential woman. This is the type of person that my inner feminist pushes me to be. I should be a woman working in New York City who makes just as much money as her husband and sees the kids when she gets home from work. I should wear power suits and be an eloquent speaker, working my way up the corporate ladder and one day running the company.
Again, it is great if you see yourself this way in the future, but I can’t.
One problem with these two scenarios is that, according to a lot of people, women can only be these two things. These are the two spheres that woman are so often thrown into. You are either a housewife, content to stay at home and take care of the kids, or you are a powerhouse stepping on others with your stiletto heel.
Why isn’t there a middle ground?
A couple years back, my mother and I had a serious conversation. At this time, I wanted to be a journalist living in Washington D.C. As I was discussing this with my mother, she suddenly got very sullen, and asked me the most adult question that I had ever been asked.
“Carly, what about having a family?”
This question made me stop in my tracks. And at the time, I was perfectly comfortable stating that I wanted a career, and if that meant not having a family, then I was okay with it.
As I got older and the future became clearer, I realized that I wasn’t okay with that.
The only future I saw had a husband and kids in it. But I don’t want to be a stay at home mom and have my family define me.
So what do I do?
Society tells me to do one or the other, but neither are perfect options. If I am a stay at home mom, I am lazy and unemployed. If I have kids and a job too, then I am neglectful of my children and my husband. If I don’t have kids and instead devote myself to a career, then I am power hungry.
There is no way to win in this scenario.
The thing is, men don’t usually get this type of scrutiny when it comes to their relationship with their occupation and their families. If they work full time, then they are providers. If they chose to not have kids, then they are focusing on their careers. The only time they receive a little bit of flack is in the case of stay at home dads, but that small group of men is receiving more praise than hate as of late.
I don’t care what you do with your lives. In my opinion, as long as you are happy, that is all I can ask for.
It took me a bit to figure out what my priorities are in life. I started to picture what my life would look like in several different scenarios, and none of them felt perfect.
I cannot picture my future without kids. I can, however, picture my life without being a journalist. So this is how I have decided to live my life.
We need to figure out how to stop labeling women in general, but particularly when it comes to what they want to do with their lives. It is 2016, for goodness sake, yet we are still defining a woman in regards to her familial relationships.
I’ll never be fulfilled being a housewife and I cannot see my future without children, and that is okay. I will figure something out that will make me happy. But if society cannot be content with my version of happiness and only sees me in a way that is bad, how can I win?