Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stuck... Finally unstuck?

I read a Patheos post a few weeks ago and shared it on FB. I have to admit it was snarky and probably threw a lot of people off that know me on the surface. I think though it had some points and overall, I liked it.
First off, I want to say this is coming from my own experience. If I offend someone I'm sorry, but I need to put this all together so it's out of my head.
I once went to a Bible study for women at the church I was part of at the time. Most if not all the women at the study were 15 years or more older than me. The topic came up of work life and how women were oppressed in this measure. Essentially, the women's liberation in the work place movement. At the time, I really couldn't think of a time that I had been oppressed and I was a science grad student. It was really weird for me to fathom anything different because at the time all the doors had been opened for me. I mean sciences seek out women because it makes them look more well rounded or better and I was one of those women that benefited from this.
When it came to education I could have as much as I wanted as long as I applied myself and did the work. I could do that. But somewhere in there I chose to be a stay at home mom post PhD. I got the degree but wanted a different life. And there I still am today. I have been told countless times that I should be doing something else with my life in the sense that I'm wasting my education, but I'd still choose this gig any day.
When I finished my degree and truly was at home, I had a hard time. My world was upside down. Honestly, as hard as it's been it's been really good for me. After 4 years, I can actually cook from scratch more often than not. I can knit and fashion out a lot out of duct tape and glue. I go back and forth on what is the best way to keep my house nice, but essentially I can keep it in running order.
When I was a grad student and essentially going to work in the lab for long hours each day, there was much talk of what I would do post schooling. Professors thought I would be a professor, others thought I should at least keep my head in the game and do something part time. I knew deep down I wanted to be at home, and some folks let me know that was a frivolous pursuit if I actually told them this truth.  Others said my career was done for if I had children. It was the opposite side of the liberation movement, at least in my experience. A few people really were supportive and I thank them for that. They were the ones that got me through the transition.
The real thing is though, I'm not sure if it's the Internet's fault or if it's the progression of society, but it's definitely been so much harder for me to be a stay-at-home mom day in and day out than getting a PhD was. I essentially love what I'm doing the hard parts and all, but man somehow the filling of sippy cups and the changing of diapers and keeping up with the messes is so much more challenging. Maybe it's the actual guiding the children in their learning, but I felt entirely unprepared going into this motherhood thing.
I'm not sure if we really can be prepared for motherhood, but I wonder if more could be done to connect us with others going through similar things and definitely somehow learn practical life things before adulthood. I learned a decent amount of things because well being 1 of 4 kids, there were chores, but I didn't really get to learn the domestic arts because they weren't stressed. I could cook from a box but that was it.
I want to change the cycle with my own children. I probably won't do it perfectly, but I at least want to try. I do think a lot of policy in society doesn't really allow for a good work life balance. When it comes to really wanting women to be science, I think instead of throwing pink science toys at young girls which aren't reality at all, present the real thing and real life applications. And when they are a twenty-something in the throws of science or some other awesome career, maybe actually allow them to take a full year off or have work from home allowances, be kind to them when they do start a family or heck, give them paid maternity leave.
I feel like we are so focused on our economy and it might not be individually so, but policy forces us to be that we forget that family and the little moments really matter, the time spent with them. Now, I admit to being one extreme with the homeschooling stay at home mom semi crafter, but I do think others more in the middle may be able to identify here.
Its not a perfect world we live in, we all know that, but I think we can do better with how women are treated in roles of family and work. Maybe the pendulum has gone to the extreme one way and is slowly swinging back. Maybe sewing and homemaking will make a resurgence from the few that have kept those things going. I don't know, but I pray it will be better for my daughter as an adult to have a family and choose what line of work she wants, whether it to be at home or be a senator or a museum curator, instead of worse.

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