As a woman I know that I should be grateful to the Gloria Steinem’s of the world. They have made many more things possible for me. Justice O’Connor went to law school at a time when there would be no job waiting upon graduation. The question that I have been pondering lately is am I grateful?
The women’s movement came into full swing in the 60’s. The women of the day burnt bras and demanded to live as free as a man. Some wanted to live in the turbulent sixties forever. With the free love mentality, the accumulations of worldly goods are bad, and to sing Kumbaya for all eternity. We wanted equal treatment across the board. The problem is we are not equal. We never have been and never will be. Priorities are different for men and women, men are generally physically stronger, and the heavens know we display emotions differently.
What exactly have we gotten from this? The pill and abortion on demand are just two examples of this. Both have allowed women to have the same freedom sexually as a man. So the free love of the sixties has been able to continue. But since that time we have seen the rates of teenage pregnancies explode. Men abandoning their responsibilities as a father seem to be almost acceptable these days. Children are born today and the father is nothing more than a sperm donor. The cost of the freedom of free love is high. Women, who bring children into the world on their own, will have a much harder time financially. The hill she will climb will be that much steeper; especially if you are poor.
Women have been led to believe that they can have it all. Be free sexually, have a great career, raise children, and all the creature comforts that America can provide. Our children have paid the greatest price for this mentality. We have become a me oriented society that places high values on what we have instead of who we are. Our children have come to expect the $300 air jordans, the latest and greatest cell phone, the newest video game systems. The year-old game box is no longer good enough. We need to upgrade. We go out make our money and then buy the plasma TVs that we now use as babysitters for our children. We raise our kids to believe the same story that we were told 40 years ago. You can have it all.
Mother’s lives are so busy. Working, taking care of the home, tending to a marriage and children is how we spend our days. We feel guilt when we are not at work; we feel guilt when we are not at home. So basically we are running though our lives feeling guilty. That guilt justifies the facts our children are becoming ruder and more demanding. Go spend a day watching families interact in a mall today. Our kids demand not just stuff, but the good stuff. The guilt that many mom’s are living with make it possible to justify giving the clothes, buying the soda you don’t think they should have, allowing disrespectful behavior and just plain giving in as it is easier to stand your ground. Heaven forbid that we allow people to see our children have a temper tantrum. Let us just give them ice cream before dinner so they don’t cry. We don’t want a stranger to think we are a mean mommy.
Maybe it is time to realize that we can’t have it all. Not simply because we are women, but because of the responsibility we have to others. That is part of being a woman. Our nurturing side should be embraced, not dismissed as a weakness. We women need to stop feeling so guilty about saying no. Stand up and put your priorities in the proper order for your families needs. Make the tough choices and stand by them; and then maybe we can realize that we indeed can have it all, just not all at the same time.