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The Spoils of Feminism

Much like the civil rights movement, the feminism movement has changed things a lot but has done very little to heal anyone — at least, not at the root of the issue (in my opinion).

I’m not a studied expert, but I’ve lived 30 years in a society bent on teaching me about my rights as a woman… that gives me a certain authority on how I view what feminism has done for me, and done against me.  Since I’ve been married, I’ve also seen what it’s done against my husband (twice divorced).

That’s right, feminism, I have a beef with you.

To all the women who have fought to grasp equality and rights and fairness in the workplace and at home, I appreciate the struggle you have faced.  You have done far more than I could probably ever conceive doing if I were in your place.  This is not a rant of superiority against you.

However…. what can we say to the hurts bestowed upon us generations of women taught a “new” set of rules — rules which declare “We can play with trucks too,” we should seek a college education, get a good job with a good salary, then find a husband to settle down with (one who will share the chores), then have children, and enjoy the fruits?  What a pretty “picture.”  We spend our whole lives chasing after it, and get angry or feel cheated or disappointed with any little piece that didn’t turn out right.

What can we say to the hurts known by the generations of men who have also been taught a “new” set of rules — rules which declare “Be a Good Boy,” sit still in class?  These men are told so little about being a man so that they no longer know how to pursue a woman.  Some get the honor of being dragged to the altar.   They have had their passion for a good fight squelched so deep that they have to watch movies or sports to get their fix.  (Making us a nation of spectators, has anyone noticed?)

What about the boy who wanted his mother, but that woman was told it’s better not to nurse — to put that child in daycare — to let someone else raise him?  What about the girl who has been told she’s the same, but is embarrassed that she can’t wrestle the same with her Daddy as her brother does — because she cries when she gets hurt?

Are we a society which has traded a belief in family for a belief in upward mobility — or is ladder climbing just the only thing we can still cling to?  Who really sits at home and enjoys their kids anymore?  What about those kids themselves?  I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “I miss them being that little” and then five minutes later, the same woman says “Oh, I couldn’t wait to get back to work.”

One woman is told how wonderful married life is (if you can find the right man) and then suddenly realizes she doesn’t know who she is, that this is not what she signed up for, and desperately seeks to go after school or a job where she knows she likes what she does.  The family is thrown into chaos.  The husband and children resent her.  But they don’t realize she was already resenting them, feeling trapped.

A husband, sick of the hen-pecking he’s gotten his entire life from women who have been told they can treat a man that way (not realizing they should be working to protect this man), leaves his wife’s “picture.”  The wife, genuinely blindsided, chokes down a bitter cup of abandonment and goes just a little more crazy each day.  Before too long, she has sunk into that dismal rut where men are hated and rejected, yet deeply longed for…

Men are not supposed to be these soft, sweet things that do the dishes and rub our feet “just because.”

Women are not supposed to have to fight for themselves.

Men are not meant to take whatever a woman throws at them and stay peaceful.

Women are not intended to fill a role and that be it.

Men are not all stupid pigs.

Women are not all catty bitches.

What is the answer?  Where do we get our healing?  How do we feed the masses?  I believe healing is possible… this is all just one more thing Christ died for.  There are safe places to learn Truth instead of Rules, like Living Waters, or just prayer with a friend!

But my biggest question: are these the spoils of feminism, or would it just be something else to rob us of our identity and purpose and freedom?

A Season of Plentiful Provision

This has been an incredible couple of weeks.

It seems that the moment I finished writing that list of things I miss, I was flooded with an awareness of those needs being met.  I am almost glad now that I was hurting before, because I have enjoyed not only the intimacy of asking the Lord for what I need or want, but also the acute specifics of his provision!  Wow!

Here are a few things that have happened:

1) Going to the late movies at 11pm :: I have had two nights of uninterrupted, late-as-I-want movie watching.  Of course this made for a few groggy mornings, but then, they were more relaxed and happy groggies (my own word) than if I had been “good” and gone to bed.  Thank you, Lord!

2) Drinking as much as I want (three crown and cokes usually) :: I’ve started taking my husband up on those offers to have a beer when I look frazzled.  He is so good to me.  Thanks God, for beer and for my husband.

5) Experimenting with my hair without worrying how it will affect others as much :: My hubby and I are contemplating giving me “breaks” from long hair… I would give lengths of it to Locks for Love and then have fun for a bit before growing it back out for his and my enjoyment.  That is not decided for sure…. I really feel my husband’s enjoyment of my locks comes first.  I like it long, and I am sure we will find a way to compromise here, but it’s nice to think about it afresh.  Thanks, Lord!

6) Not having to worry about what’s in the fridge or pantry :: Along with one of those movie nights came a day of NOT having to balance anyone’s calorie intake but my own and the baby’s (and he’s easy! lol).  SIGH.  🙂  How nice!  Thanks, God!

7) Not having to pay for a babysitter or even find one :: Courage afresh to ask around for sitters… pending finding them, but hey…. it’s tough on a tight budget, but — oh, and my stepson actually babysat for an hour while the baby slept, so hubby and I could go on a mini-date.  🙂  What an awesome kid!  Or, as we perpetually tease him, “What a nice young man.”  Thanks, Lord!

9) 100% lazy days :: I have had at least three full or nearly-full days of rest.  PTL!  That makes all the difference.

11) Buying things for myself without worrying how I’ll pay for something that someone else needs :: A huge area of my life now… and though I am sure the Lord has more to do for my budgeting in this area, a dear friend of mine generously invested in my wardrobe almost 3 days after I posted that (and NOT after reading my blog).  There are not words for this gesture.  I almost have to try not to feel guilty for being so blessed.  Thank you, Dear Friend.  What a gift.

12) Sleeping as long or as late as I want :: I am finding creative ways to get extra naps… one is to let the baby sleep with me, so he can nurse as long as he wants.  He almost inevitably sleeps longer that way.  And then I get a few winks too.  SIGH.  So nice.  Also, once in a while, putting the baby in the playpen and a movie on quietly while I sleep on the sofa so he can see me, helps too.  He doesn’t tolerate that for long, but hey — it’s better than nothing.  Thanks Lord, for that creativity, and for a baby that trusts me.

13) Cooking/baking as long as my energy will hold out, that being my only focus :: One of the reasons I used to like to do this was the quantity I could crank out on my own… well, recently I have started hanging out with some jr high and high school girls from church, who incidentally love to bake!  So, the nice thing is, they do half the work or more, we get to hang out, someone holds the baby, and I get to have a goodie to eat, to share, and to fill my home with yummy smells of buttery goodness…. SIGH…. Lord, this list is almost getting too long! (Wayne’s World: “I’m not worthy!”)  So much rest, so much joy, so much more peace.  Thank you, Lord.

16) Bible Study or prayer uninterrupted :: This one has taken a different sort of turn.  I realized that I have been afraid again of not measuring up to what Bible Study should look like.  I got prayer at church yesterday about this, with some good results… too much to go into here, perhaps more on that later.

18) Drinking coffee without worrying about how baby will act after nursing :: I’ve started planning to drink caffeinated coffee only when he’s NOT about to nurse or just after he’s asleep.  Just planning that has helped me to stay away from the caffeine the rest of the time, and enjoy it like the treat that it is.  Man, that makes it sound like I’m fixated on drinking coffee all day.  Don’t worry, I’m not.

26) Crying in privacy :: The amazing thing is, after realizing this enough to type it out, I actually allowed myself to cry in front of my husband the next day.  He had to be reassured that it was just a passing storm and it wasn’t his fault, but I told him it was just part of myself that he hadn’t seen much because I had been so shy about it…. good stuff.  🙂

29) Clothes fitting :: You already read the amazing answer to this one.

More to come, I’m sure!  Praise the Lord with me!  🙂

What I Miss…

There is a great post here which talks about allowing yourself to deal with the loss of pre-baby life “without feeling anxious or resentful.”  What it suggests is to make a list of the things you miss from being pre-baby (or I think, even pre-married) and then actively pursue talking out with a friend or your hubby which of them you could make a priority to reenter into doing if you want to.

So, here’s my list, and I’ll post eventually about how it’s going!  As a disclaimer, I think overall I am doing well in adjusting.  It’s been almost three years since I married my husband and a year-and-a-half since I got pregnant… and in that time, I’ve still had fun, I think there’s room for more though.  And I love being married and being a mom, not only of a stepson but also of a birthed son.

1) Going to the late movies at 11pm.

2) Drinking as much as I want (three crown and cokes usually).

3)  Going thrift store sailing on my own, or at least without having to worry that one more having to put the baby back in his carseat will make him melt-down.

4) Being able to model.

5) Experimenting with my hair without worrying how it will affect others as much.

6) Not having to worry about what’s in the fridge or pantry.

7) Not having to pay for a babysitter or even find one.

8) My garden time.

9) 100% lazy days.

10) Spur-of-the-moment late night dates.

11) Buying things for myself without worrying how I’ll pay for something that someone else needs.

12) Sleeping as long or as late as I want.

13) Cooking/baking as long as my energy will hold out, that being my only focus.

14) Working on crafts or projects uninterrupted.

15) Cleaning uninterrupted.

16) Bible Study or prayer uninterrupted.

17) Solitary walks and exploration.

18) Drinking coffee without worrying about how baby will act after nursing.

19) Not having to always keep a checkbook balanced.

20) Not having grey hairs from stress.

21) Not having dark circles from sleep deprivation (appearance).

22) Getting my nails done, or toes.

23) My massages.

24) Eating out more.

25) Working at restaurants being my exercise, and getting good food 1/2 off while learning about food, too.

26) Crying in privacy.

27) Wearing whatever I want (or don’t want).

28) Talking out loud if I want without getting any response.

29) Clothes fitting.

30) Listening to music or movies as loud as I want and not worrying about content.

31) Missions trips and world travel (although I have to say I don’t miss this one too much since I did an awful lot before settling down!).

That’s it for now!!!  🙂