This morning, I got a text from my cousin telling me she was starting to make felt ornaments for her children. Putting aside the fact that she is not in a position to have children, it struck me that I never thought about making felt ornaments for my future children. Mainly because I fully expect my future family's Christmas tree to be covered in a smorgasbord of ornaments like my own family's is - complete with thumb prints with smiley faces drawn on, laminated and then tied with yarn; pictures of us through the years; other creative endeavors my parents cherish dearly and even prefer over bought ornaments.
But back to making ornaments. Or making anything, really. A college friend of mine is sewing her wedding dress. I respect that, but am in no way capably of doing so myself. Another friend recently expressed interest in doing that as well, actually. Today I fixed tea; does that count for anything?
|Me woman! Me make pancakes!|
In this area, I wonder if I have more in common with my two brothers, only with more tact and graciousness. I think my brothers would live in a cave and not notice, as long as it had wireless internet, food and a place to sleep. Come to think of it, so would I... does that make me less womanly?
I've been thinking about this lately, mostly at night while I am up late reading and writing after work. I wonder if I am going to be pulling late hours to do my research after I get the bumpkins into bed. In high school, I received the nickname "Sally." One of the reasons (among the many) was because I was constantly carpooling my five younger siblings around, which apparently makes me comparable to a housewife. I think carpooling will be the least of my duties as a mother, but certainly one I have had plenty of experience in juggling alongside other tasks.
In college, my undomesticated side became ultra-exposed, when I learned I should have been able to bake bread or sew on a button by the age of 18. Allow me to express my yearning for a home education class or two now. Four years later, I graduated without gaining either of the above skills. I moved away from home and realized that I had my own kitchen to cook in. It was tiny. My mom called it a "Julie sized kitchen." I ate a lot of raw vegetables and fruits, grilled cheese and many bowls of cereal. My actual cooking adventures usually involved the smoke alarm unjustly going off.
|Yes, this is how big my kitchen was.|
I am starting to think, when the time arrives, domesticity will be thrust upon me, and I will like it because it will be my way of building a loving home for my future family. It sounds like a challenge, and I accept. I also look forward to the little people gripping my legs when the firemen come for their weekly visit and saying, "Mommy tried again!"
When I was growing up, it was always made clear that becoming a wife and mother was always expected, but secondary. Career first, and then you can have a family. Cooking is optional; hire someone to do it is better.
I am starting to see the flaws in this plan. Cracks really: I'm barely 24, have been published in multiple national papers and journals, and I completely freeze up at the thought of cooking pork chops.
Therefore, I would like to share an idea, born from the actions of my doctor, who went to medical school when she was 40 and her kids were more grown, and from my paternal grandmother, who got her Master's in English when my Dad was in high school.
Exceptions aside (my own mother, for instance, would be a very unhappy person if she wasn't working and thus fulfilling her purpose), I think it better to reverse that order: prepare yourself mentally so that you can teach your children and edify yourself and the people around you, be prepared to go back to school when the time comes, and perhaps work part-time. Later, when the children are grown or mostly-grown, there will have more than enough time to pursue something more full-time.
On the plus side, I can overcompensate for my lack of domesticity by sharing my voracious reading habit with the little minds; teach my children logic, reason and theology; play soccer, tennis, dress-up, cards and Monopoly; make homemade play-dough; correct their homework; take walks in the park; color alongside them with my own set crayons and colored pencils. Then we'll clean up our mess and play Simon Says until Mommy Say So.
Do any other [female] readers feel this way? A pressure to work first? Family "later"? Putting emphasis on what we do and not who we are?