February 18, 2010

SMART WOMEN

Some recent reading that has made me excited about the task before me and happy that I will finally have a job towards which to apply my meager thinking skills.

I really feel this is the task I was born to undertake.

First, Smart Women

This isn't a politically correct thing to say, but I knew - even at 18 - that I wanted to marry and have children. What's more, I wanted to raise my children myself. It made absolutely no sense to me to place a home and family last on my "to do" list when it was first or second on the list of things that were important to me. And it made no sense to me to spend years and years prepping myself for a high powered career I would have to give up almost as soon as I attained it.
[...]
I raised two fine sons and ran a household well and efficiently. And my support enabled my husband to have a family and concentrate on his career. A lot of folks sneer at that sort of thing, but I always wondered why society would want only the "stupider" sort of women to raise the next generation.

Second, at The Thinking Housewife (a site I might need to read more of).

Teach your daughter that grades will not be the most important factor in her future. It is important for her to learn for the sheer pleasure of knowing too, not just to win approval. Someday she will be a woman and engaged in the project of loving a man and starting a small society together. This is primary. All she learns can be put to use in this task. Every interest she has and every scrap of knowledge will be of value. Let her know how exciting it will be for her.

And thirdly, from an anecdotal history of Abigail Adams:

How could America produce "Heroes, Statesmen, and Philosophers," she wanted to know, if it didn't also produce "Learned women"?
[...]
Abigail never doubted that women were men's intellectual equals. ...  Unlike the radicals, she believed that women found their highest fulfillment within marriage and the family.  With a better education, she said repeatedly, a woman would be a better wife and mother and contribute more in the long run to the well-being of the new nation than if she were uninformed.  Well-educated women, she insisted, could help their husbands safeguard republican liberty; they could also rear boys qualified for leadership in the young republic and girls who in turn could become the devoted mothers and wives of patriots.

Posted by: Sarah at 09:03 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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1 "I always wondered why society would want only the "stupider" sort of women to raise the next generation."

I love this. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling mom to three (soon to be four) boys. I also graduated magna cum laude with degrees in honors and psychology. All the time I hear comments about "wasting my degree ... blah, blah, blah".  I think these people are absolutely nutty! Really? They'd rather my children be in a factory type daycare setting? Their minds, values, and personalities being formed by someone who barely graduated highschool and is making $7.00 an hour?

Two speeches I think you'd like:
http://www.nationalcenter.org/TRooseveltMotherhood.html
I love this whole speech!


http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/Social_Reform_B.C.html
Written in 1927, this part at the end has shown to be eerily prophetic:

The advocates of Birth Control are in revolt against the conditions of human life ....  They seem to express a sympathy with those who prefer "the right to earn outside the home" or (in other words) the right to be a wage-slave and work under the orders of a total stranger because he happens to be a richer man. By what conceivable contortions of twisted thought this ever came to be considered a freer condition than that of companionship with the man she has herself freely accepted, I never could for the life of me make out. The only sense I can make of it is that the proletarian work, though obviously more senile and subordinate than the parental, is so far safer and more irresponsible because it is not parental. I can easily believe that there are some people who do prefer working in a factory to working in a family; for there are always some people who prefer slavery to freedom, and who especially prefer being governed to governing someone else. But I think their quarrel with motherhood is not like mine, a quarrel with inhuman conditions, but simply a quarrel with life. Given an attempt to escape from the nature of things, and I can well believe that it might lead at last to something like "the nursery school for our children staffed by other mothers and single women of expert training." I will add nothing to that ghastly picture, beyond speculating pleasantly about the world in which women cannot manage their own children but can manage each other's.


Posted by: Heather at February 18, 2010 09:58 AM (9k/pz)

2 Ching and I were talking about "life" the other night at 3 a.m. and I said I felt like I hadn't accomplished a damn thing in the past ten years.  Then I thought to myself - well, other than be a good wife.  And she said, well, you've taken good care of me.  And with the army and the moves and civilian jobs...  it hasn't been easy.  And now - with Pinhead on the way, I finally get to do the one job I've been waiting over eight years to do - be a mom.  I can't wait.

Posted by: Beth at February 18, 2010 10:07 AM (Xd7j/)

3

A friend had a conversation just the other night with a man whose son cries after school each day. He raises his hand in class, you see. He knows the answer. "Does anyone OTHER than Billy know the answer?" the teacher asks with disdain. Or parks him in an empty classroom so his intellect won't insult the others, one assumes.

Their eyes are open, now, to the other options. You can stay home, you can raise your own child and, yes, teach it. Vacation when it works for your schedules, teach through experience, and love them all day long, every day.

Anything else seems like a very poor trade-off to me.

Posted by: LauraB at February 18, 2010 10:40 AM (F24xe)

4 My mother had seven children. At several times in her life she was asked by other, very rude, women why she had so many.  Her answer was always this, "the world needs the type people my children are."  In her later life she referred to this often and would then add to us, "what would I do now without my children?"
Yes, we are all intelligent people who are not afraid to speak out, and have raised children who are intelligent and not afraid to speak out. We are also compassionate and caring. Our mama taught us well.

Posted by: Ruth H at February 18, 2010 01:57 PM (KLwh4)

5 Great post, Sarah. I agree with Ruth. I think the most important job we can have is to raise intelligent, responsible and caring children. I don't believe in leaving their development up to the random caregivers we would encounter through our frequent moves and situation changes. This truly is the greatest job we will undertake and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to stay home with my kids. I know you will make a great mom! So excited for you!

Posted by: Jen D at February 18, 2010 02:18 PM (h8XAc)

6

I <3 Abigail Adams and *I* needed this perspective today.  It is so easy to feel like I am accomplishing little.  I need to be reminded how important my job, and the gifts that I bring to my job as a mother really are. 

Posted by: Val at February 18, 2010 06:47 PM (JPt9E)

7 Thank you so much for posting this. On particularly tough days, I begin to question why I stay home with my children, why I homeschool, and why I'm doing everything contrary to the way everyone else seems to be doing things. It's nice to read a little affirmation from time to time.

Posted by: Val L. at February 19, 2010 09:03 AM (F4Qv7)

8

I find value in all of your posts, but this one in particular spoke to me. As many others have commented, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay at home with children without having to justify why you do so. It always amazes me when people wonder how I could have walked away from my career, or how I could stay home all day with two small children. How crazy is that??? I did intentionally have them, you know! And now, they wonder why we are choosing to send our oldest to a university model, classical school for kinder in the fall (part-time private, part-time homeschool education). Why is it so difficult for people, especially other women, to understand why we are investing so much time, love and care in our children?

And btw, I'm a good friend of Heidi's and a faithful reader/lurker. You inspire me and I'm so thrilled for the next chapter of your journey to begin. Praying your husband is home soon and for the safe arrival of your sweet baby.

Posted by: Kathy at February 19, 2010 10:27 AM (3v7Fv)

9 I completely agree with your post, parenting is such an important job... and I think that part of the fall out of feminism was the total rejection of things previously in the stereotypical women's sphere. But, I also don't agree with some of the tone of the comments prior to mine. And perhaps I'm just sensitive. I chose to return to school part time when my daughter was 3, and prior to that I was a stay at home mom. It was a very tough decision to make, I loved being at home with her, but I felt that it was the right decision for me and my family. There is something to be said for pursuing a dream outside of motherhood, and I don't like the all or nothing approach that seems to reign whenever this topic comes up. Either you are painted as a terrible mother who couldn't or wouldn't stay at home, or conversely you are seen as an unintelligent, unmotivated person without a career for investing instead in your children. It's no win. There, now I feel better having written it. I'm so excited for you to start the journey of motherhood, Sarah. You're going to love it

Posted by: dutchgirl at February 20, 2010 12:01 AM (Yg8bq)

10

Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU.

This post, and the links, and the comments, make my heart so happy!!!  Motherhood really is the most critical occupation on the planet, and the *most worthy* of our investments of time and talents.

Dutchgirl, I didn't pick up an "all-or-nothing" vibe from these comments; we know what works for *our own families*, and I don't think your getting more education means that motherhood isn't your top priority.  FWIW, I'd like to become an ND; someday (probably at least a decade out or so, LOL...) I'll have time & money to do that while Kiddo is working on his reading or a research paper, since I'm teaching him at home, too - we can work on our HW together!

Posted by: Krista at February 23, 2010 01:21 PM (sUTgZ)

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