On being an educated stay at home woman and mom

So, there is this post on Facebook that went slightly viral, shared by a friend, about being a stay at home mom despite of the ‘high and long’ education a woman has earned and undergone.

This reminds me of a similar story shared by my husband a few years back:

“There is a family who have two sons and a daughter but could only afford to send one of them to a higher education institution. Who do you think getting the ‘family scholarship’?”

Being asked with the question, I contemplated my answer quite carefully. Considering the setting of the story is in a patriarchal community, the answer would be obvious that it was one of the boys since the girl would eventually be expected to play her domestic roles in the home front only. Wouldn’t you think so?

“Yes, the setting is in a very patriarchal family. Yes, eventually the woman would be in charge of the domestic duties. But no, it was the girl who went to school instead. The reason: being a stay at home mom is the hardest kind of career. You need to be smart and educated for that. You are going to be the first and the main source of education for your family (children). You are going to be the confidante of your man, and most of the important decisions made by your man are based on the consideration that you provide. That was why the parents made that decision.”

Let me tell you what i thought about this answer:

  1. Being an educated woman, does not necessarily mean that you should use it to build your career outside of your home and thus neglecting the well-being of your family.
  2. Woman should be educated. I know some defender of the belief that school is not the only mean and place to get your education ( information and knowledge diet). But it is a good place to start nonetheless.
ON A SECOND THOUGHT, SCRATCH ALL THOSE POINTS. HERE’S WHAT I DID REALLY THINK:

The shallow feminist in me screamed in agony at the sound of this. You know, because as good and glamorous as it sounds, the answers that celebrate women’s right to education are still pivoting on the idea that man is the number one and that woman should ensure this happens at all cost. Even if it means woman get better education than the men themselves. Eventually, the woman should step aside and let the sun shines on the path her man is taking.

Why can’t a woman take the stage and be the star instead?

And then i sit back and think: why does this thing annoy me that much?

I think it stemmed from the traditional roles distribution between genders in family — a model in which the man should handle public affairs while the woman the domestic ones — and my stance toward it. I used to think that there should be equality between genders and we should rethink this roles distribution model. And then i thought even harder back, soooo hard my head hurts! (I shouldn’t do any thinking since i suck at that, right? :p), ” why do i scream off equality when they are — possibly — already equal?”

Those ‘feminists’ who screamed for emancipation think that public affair is better than domestic one, condemn the stay at home woman’s decision saying that it is a step back from their glorious mission. See, we have been for so long led to believe that being in charge of domestic duties is less good (note that i don’t say ‘worse‘ here) than being the breadwinner.

This belief is echoed perpetually by both sexes that we feel guilt-tripped by the things we enjoy doing: being a stay at home mom/wife, playing the ever underrated domestic roles. Moreover, we always feel the need to defend the decision to be a stay at home woman every time on many platforms.

So we fought head over heels to validate our existence by competing in the world we are not enjoying. And if for a reason or two we couldn’t do that, we resort to an offence strategy: we become bitter. As if we are trying to compensate the inadequacy that we are made to feel, we condemn those who go out chasing career in public affair lines. Saying that those women forgetting the nature of their being, selfish, snarky, and call them with other names.

I am all up for women’s right, women’s equality. But i think, instead of trying to change the role-distribution-model in our society, we should rethink the way we see the role itself. We need to change our perspective. I don’t think that one role is better than the other. By association, I don’t think that one of the missions in feminist movement should go to that direction either. I think, emancipation should liberate women to exercise their right to freely choose whatever it is they enjoy.  <– gee, i think I’ve used up all my big words stock in this sentence, haven’t I?

There are many of us who are lucky enough to be in a relationship with the traditional roles distribution model (woman domestic, men breadwinner) whose husband could provide for the family. However, there are still many of us out there who have to work hand in hand with the husband, or even let the husband be the stay at home dad. i think that is okay. i don’t think that should be the basis of us judging them just to make us feel better about the decision that we make.I don’t think it should be the basis of us judging and measuring our merit and self-worth either.

We don’t need to do that, ladies. Freedom is liberation!

OH, AND ANOTHER ONE:

Right now i am in the acceptance stage of the fact that we live in a men’s world, very patriarchal society. However, if you have a daughter, it is all the more reason to protect her even though in this un-ideal world, you can only do so forever. When she’s married with her own family,  you are no longer in charge of her well-being and you can only do so much to meddle up in her family affair. Therefore, if you love her, you should prepare her to stand up on her own, and education you give right now is the ultimate shield and shelter for her later.

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