Sorry for the long delay between posts; there have been a lot of transitions and other writing opportunities that sapped my energy from here. Since last writing, I have: stepped down from my career, moved across the country, and continued to grow a new human in my belly. Go big or go home, right??
Needless to say, these past few months have been loaded with personal growth, as any one of these transitions alone would bring on. I am hoping to share about my experiences in a series of posts, but today I want to focus on how this move has challenged my unconscious views of feminism and the value of traditional gender roles.
I have now been working from home on an extremely part-time (generally less than 10 hours per week) status for a little over a month. Instead of rushing out the door at an ungodly hour in the morning, working an 8+ hour day, then scooting off to a worship team rehearsal, an archaeological society board meeting, or a krav maga class, as I did for years, I now spend my days at home. The chores and errands I used to squeeze into my days off are now my main source of occupation. I am being faced with my many deficits as a home-maker and wife on a daily basis, realizing that I never took the time to learn how to cook or keep house properly because I never really placed value in these tasks. I was too busy pursuing the American Woman’s Dream, running the world and leaning in, thinking I could have a career and raise a family and find “me” time and participate in my church and have a social life and and and…
And I couldn’t. If you try to grasp everything, you will end up with empty hands.
In a very physical sense, my hectic lifestyle was unsustainable and harmful. I haven’t written about this before, but I suffer from a mild form of epilepsy, and the frequency of my epileptic episodes is a good indicator of my overall health. In the months before moving here, I was having almost daily simple partial seizures. Since moving here, I have not had one. This is just one in a myriad of ways in which trying to “have it all” was doing me more harm than good. For what shall it profit a woman, if she gain the whole world, but lose her health?
I needed to prune away the excess shoots in my life and focus my energy on those that will bare fruit: my family and my extended family in Christ.
With this comes a re-evaluation of what I consider valuable. I am slowly learning to find joy in the “traditional” roles of a woman and in truly squashing my pride to place the needs of another above my own. Running our home is not a chore imposed on me by the patriarchy, but a necessary part of adult life that allows my husband to enjoy his time off while he provides for us financially. It is also a much more efficient way of life than trying to divvy up work, chores, bills, cooking, etc. between two people who really just want to Netflix and chill at the end of the day. I treat my housework like any other work, keep it within the time parameters of a 9-5 work day, and then we both get to relax and enjoy more family time and more personal time in the evenings. There is satisfaction in maintaining a clean, welcoming home in the same way there is satisfaction in completing work of art: the progress is physical and, once complete, can be enjoyed by any who view it.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to degrade those women who work away from home or insist that all women should be homemakers. By no means. We all have different callings, talents, and interests. But I hope I can help redeem the image of the homemaking woman and encourage others who find themselves in a similar situation.