Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gender Proof

I've been thinking a lot about gender roles, in relation to our views on womanhood, motherhood in this world of ours.

I have a friend, a mother, that says that companies shouldn't have to pay their employees who make the choice to have baby. At first I was a little shocked. I mean, when I was working I counted on my maternity leave benefits to help with the adjustment. Then I thought about it again, I realized... she was right. If we are truly responsible for our actions - we won't ask anyone to foot the bill for our choices.

I've also talked to a few friends who have told me that they can't wait get back to work after having their babies. They tell me it's so much easier at work. They feel more fulfilled. It's so much easier having a nanny watch their kids. After all, all they need is quality time, not quantity.

I've also talked to friends that have to work. They struggle with guilt and heartaches being away from those they wish they could share each moment with. Sometimes they admit they make out their job to be grander, and more important to them, to ward off the trial of working. It's the ... "if I can make it look like I'm happy working outside the home, then no one can feel sorry for me". Sometimes they sidle the line of, making those that don't work feel like working outside the home is so chic.

There's also the issues people have about gender equality in the work place. Some studies show that it's still very unbalanced. Other studies show that given the ebb and flow of a career in a woman's life...and the consistency of a man's career... the salary difference, isn't so different.

So why all this hullabaloo? I'm beginning to think that society, in some respects is trying to adhere to a natural, higher law.

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

There is a divine design, a plan for us in our roles. I think that when we stop fighting what we know is true, we no longer have this need for outside validation. We don't have to scream and shout to prove we're okay doing something that we know isn't in our nature. I wonder if our souls make us uneasy when we fight against our gender realities/our divine natures. I think that if we realize what our inherent strengths are, and focus on cultivating them that we'll discover more peace in our lives, and more gratitude.

Gender is important. If it isn't why would there be gender in the first place? When we embrace our gender, our role in the plan of families, we no longer need to receive validation from the outside world. We'll just, go and do the things we know that the Lord has commanded. I suppose that's when we'll really be gender proof - immune to the competition, comparisons and confrontations.


Nathan said...

Good points. Finding joy in motherhood reminds me of when I first started exercising. If someone had asked me whether is was "good" or as enjoyable as what I'd previously done with my time, I would have said no. But over time you learn to recognize different kinds of joy. You start to want to exercise, not because "you've been conditioned to," or because "it's all you're cut out for," but because it produces a real kind of pleasure that just takes cultivating to be able to appreciate. That's what motherhood is like (and fatherhood, I guess).

That's why it's a little exasperating when people get offended when others recommend that everyone should exercise, motherhood wise. "I'm just not meant to exercise." Well, exercise is good for everyone. We might have to tailor our workouts to our own schedule and abilities, but it's still an inherent desire and need in all of us. That's what motherhood is like, even if it takes some time before it begins to feel that way.

Jeffrey said...

I love this post! Thanks for your clear writing.

Queen Scarlett said...

Nathan - good example with exercise. I might need to make myself get to the gym, but once there it's cleansing and I leave happier. ;-)

Jeffrey - thank you both... it's nice to see some guys around here.