'The feminists told us we can have it all. And now we have it 'all' – ulcers, migraine, incredibly stressful lives where it seems that the more we accomplish, the more there is to do.'
This is a snippet from a conversation I had with a friend the other day. Do you want to know the conclusion we came to? Despite everything our culture teaches, it seems we can't 'have it all' without compromising our health, sanity or convictions.
This is another time when I feel it's important to say I'm not judging anyone's personal choices. I want to avoid acid remarks and finger-pointing, and focus on the important issue I'm going to bring up today.
Even with the efforts of radical feminists, I don't think there are many women who actually reject the idea of having a family, or say family isn't important to them. But the idea that we can have it all without any aspect of our lives suffering along the way is, in my opinion, quite dangerous. I think that saying, 'oh, go ahead and get a full-time career, you can juggle a marriage, children and household successfully along the way, and you can have a baby whenever you want' is much more dangerous than 'career is a better choice, go forsake your family!' – Why? Because honestly, can you imagine a decent woman stand up and say, 'hey, I choose to neglect my family, I don't care if my marriage suffers, my laundry piles up and my children never see their Mommy!'? But she can be tempted to buy into the I-can-have-it-all idea.
I honestly believe that most working wives and mothers aren't selfish, irresponsible women who don't care about their duties. I think it's more like, 'family first, sure, but I must also have work, career, self-fulfillment, community activities – those are important as well! How do I squeeze it all into my life? Well, I'll manage somehow!' or even 'I realize my duties are suffering, but I must have that extra income, and I must find employment outside my home, because otherwise I'm worthless! All my life, I have been taught I have no value if I have no paycheck – how do you expect me to change this now?!'
I believe each and every child is a beautiful blessing from God, not a burden. Let's make an observation: how many career women have large families? How many graciously embrace every child God sends their way, at His time? Now, let me make two disclaimers: one, I think that being a keeper-at-home is important and worthwhile not only for mothers, but also for childless married women and for unmarried daughters. And two, I realize that some might not share my conviction about any form of contraception being unacceptable.
Having said this, let's imagine a young woman who is planning to get married, doesn't know of any existing fertility problems, has moral difficulties with contraception (or more like, doesn't think she should postpone God's precious blessings)… and wants to have a glorious career. She knows that if she remains in good health and God blesses her, she might have six, ten or more children in the next twenty-something years. Do you see a problem here?
Obviously, something has to go. So, what options does she have? One, decide that her duties at home demand her full attention and focusing on her family's needs. Two, compromise her convictions and say that preventing conception isn't too bad after all and that the money she earns can pay for hired help around the house. Three, try to have a more flexible schedule and squeeze in her career into gaps of time she has here and there… please notice that I'm not about to list all the options this woman has and tell you which one I think is better .The point I'm trying to make is that obviously, she can't have it all and something just has to go.
This isn’t only true for women, of course. We are all only human beings and none of us can 'have it all'. Buying into that illusion might lead us to feeling inferior – when it's quite unjustified. The question is what choice we make. It's like getting rid of clutter: we decide what is important enough to remain in our lives, and what takes too much space and must go. Because if we don't, we'll be burdened with extra weight that will hinder our progress and won't allow us to focus on what's truly important.
Kelly from 'Families against Feminism' sums it up wonderfully:
'She can't have it "all", if all means a full time career outside the home, and a happy, healthy husband, children, self, and home. But praise God, she can have it ALL, when she joyfully submits to the will of God. She is then freed up to exercise her enormous talents, creativity, gifts and abilities in ways she never thought possible when she was enslaved to another man.'