Thursday, November 15, 2012

A path to follow

To the dear friends who wrote and inquired about our safety - we are as safe as can be, and not in the area the rockets are currently targeting. Not that it makes much difference: Israel is a small place, and I don't believe there is a single person here who can feel detached from the ongoing war. 

Still, we are trying to keep life as normal as possible, and I've even had time to do some reading lately. Usually I either read non-fiction (books about plant medicine, nutrition, child education) or classical fiction, mostly Russian. But this time I stumbled upon a detective by Susan Isaacs, called Long Time No See, and read a dialogue between two middle-aged women which I felt could be entertaining to some of you (I did use some slight editing):


"I don't understand all these women you're speaking to. What do they do? They're all thirty-five, forty tops. Whatever happened to jobs? Remember jobs, Judith? Remember all those husbands in 1972, yours and mine included, who said 'My wife isn't going to work,' and how we stood up to them and that idiot mentality. So what are all these women doing home?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked. "They're raising their children."

"I see. And may I inquire precisely why we went through a revolution in women's rights, why we bothered to have our conscience raised? So our daughters could sit on a bench in a playground and talk about whether Pampers or Huggies hold poopy better. That's how they talk: poopy and peepee. Four years of higher education, graduate school - a whole world of possibility open to them - and they elect to sit on a park bench and talk poopy."

"We fought so our daughters could choose - "

"We fought so our daughters would be allowed to do the work for which they were suited. Now what happens? They go to law school, medical school, business school and become lawyers or doctors or number crunchers for how long? Three or four years. But the minute they see they're just another cruncher or whatever, that they're not having fun, whatever that means, that they're flying to Milwakee with their knees squished and will never get near the corporate jet, what do they do? They up and quit."

"Who's supposed to raise their children?" I inquired. "An illegal immigrant who doesn't speak English, who they underpay and overwork?.. I raised my kids, before I even finished my dissertation. And if you can remember that far back, you were freelancing, not working full-time."

"But we didn't have a path to follow. They do. Because we cleared it."

"Maybe they don't like that path."

"Maybe in a few years men will be saying, 'Hey, how come they're letting all these women into law school and medical school and into the hot jobs on Wall Street when all they do is work three years and quit? That's not fair. Why can't those places go to men who will stay the course? And they'll be right."


I think it's a very illustrative piece about the older generation, which only saw the promises of feminism, vs. the younger generation, their children, which lived with its price. You can give women "opportunities", but - on a general level - many, many women are best suited for a job of being a wife and mother. So many that if given a true choice, the whole feminist doctrine will fall to pieces.


A Servant of Christ (who tries to be humble) said...

I am happy that you are all safe where you are, and I appreciate reading your blog.

I found it very telling to read the conversation about feminism. I am 36 and a stay-at-home homeschooling mom.

While it "feels good" to have the freedom to make a choice in many instances, it is as the bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.

I choose instead to be a Titus 2 woman. And how much more fulfilling it is!

Tammy said...

I woke up this morning intending to come here and ask how y'all were doing. I'm so glad to hear that you're safe. We'll be keeping your family in prayer, and all of Israel.

Very interesting dialogue, and very accurate as to views on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Praying for your family. Praying for safety and for peace.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your family is well and safe.
As for the dialogue...being a stay home mom is great until husband loses his job, husband becomes disabled or gets cancer, husband divorces you, or husband gets hit by a car and dies. Many homemakers are ill prepared to support their families when such tragedy happens and then the children are thrust into poverty. Also, bear in mind Anna, that your girls will be teenagers while you are still in your 30s which is quite young. What will you do with your time when you are 40, which is VERY young and healthy, and your daughters are out of the house with lives of their own? How much time is really going to be spent on cooking and cleaning once your daughters are gone? What will you do to occupy your time and give you socialization?
For many women, work is not only about money but it's about sustaining social interaction during the day, engaging in intellectual pursuits, and feeling productive and like they're contributing to society. Though my salary is meager, I work because I love my job, because I am thanked and appreciated every day for the work that I do, because I learn from it every day, because I genuinely love my work and love the autonomy earning even my meager wage gives me. I love not having to ask for money and to spend it as I see fit. When your daughters are out of diapers and go to school, you will need outside stimulation as cleaning the house does not take 8 hours a day! If you choose to homeschool because you selfishly can't bear the thought of your children not being dependent on you, even then, your daughters will one day turn into adults and get married etc. Most moms who homeschool usually do it because they have no identity outside of mommyhood and want their children's dependency to be extended. Rather than go out and get lives of their own, they infantilize their children setting them up to suck at life by denying them social interaction and catering to their every spoiled whim. Those mother then have breakdowns when their children either move out to get jobs, start college, or get married and build homes of their own.
Furthermore, it is selfish to only stay within your own home and not use your talents to benefit anyone outside of your own home. Please re-read proverbs 31 and you will see a woman who invests in real estate and deals with merchants and generates an income. Especially in today's world with internet and telecommunting, people can now work from their laptops at home with flexible hours and combined with the fact that we have washing machines and dishwasher our ancestors never had )as well as fewer children), there is no excuse to economically overburden our hard working husbands.

Anonymous said...

An excellent piece - People are always asking why I left being an obstetrician and do you want to know why?

I realised that I did not HAVE to be - I could just be a normal, unassuming wife and mother seeking and serving God and not justifying myself constantly to the world. No 90 hour weeks, watching substandard care and and an unrestrained abortion culture. No pill-driven casual sexual relationships or whatever else the world has in store. I now know what I was made for, which ironically I could never learn in O&G

I trust in God's provision, direction and care He has never and will never fail His children.

God bless you


Ganeida said...

The reality is that very, very few people, men or women, have careers they delight in. Most have jobs to put food on the table & a roof over the family's head. Meanwhile someone still has to raise the children. Feminism is not all it is cracked up to be. While many feminists give lip service to *choice* what they really mean is the choice to work a paid job & let someone else raise the kids. Personally I think society is paying a high price for this particular insanity.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,
I am 63 years of age, children obviously adults now and I still find PLENTY to keep myself busy. If anyone thinks that a woman runs out of productive things to occupy her time with it's probably because she just hasn't been in that place in life yet. Reading, baking and cooking from scratch, being here when my unmarried daughters or husband arrive home, and having a nice meal on the table are all pleasures I wouldn't trade for anything. People who choose otherwise need not feel sorry for those who are stay at home women.
Mrs. L.

Mrs. Anna T said...

To Anonymous who wonders what I will do when I'm in my 40's: you made many points in your comment which I would like to refer to in a separate post, but for now I'll just say this:

What will I do when I no longer have little children to care for? I don't, and can't know for sure.

Maybe I will be more active in the community.
Maybe my husband and I will engage in some common enterprise.
Maybe, although it is sad to think of such things, my mother - who isn't getting any younger - will need more of my help.
Maybe I will plunge deep into my greatest passion, creative writing.

Maybe I will, one day, need all the help family and insurance can give me, and in that case I'm glad I have both.

However, none of this changes the fact that what I need to do NOW is care for my family and raise my children. The gift of the years I have already spent with them is priceless, and I will never regret that time, no matter what.

As for you saying people only homeschool out of selfishness, you are just plain wrong, sorry. Perhaps some do choose homeschooling for the wrong reasons, but I assure you most homeschoolers have completely different things in mind. The homeschooled children (and adults) I personally know are mature for their age, independent thinkers, and highly creative and interesting human beings.

Rebecca Grider said...

Feminism is not just about mothers having the choice to work outside the home. It is also about the choice that unmarried and childless women to have the career they choose instead of being pigeonholed by misogyny into a "woman's" field such as teaching, nursing, etc. Feminism allows me, a woman childless by choice, to be whatever I wish to be.

I feel that you're engaging in misogyny by stating that "many, many women are best suited for a job of being a wife and mother." Guess what? Some are not. And we deserve the chance to pursue whichever career inspires us most.

I am also curious as to your current view on women who choose to be childfree. A few years back I asked you what your view was in regards to marriage for a woman who chooses not to have children. At the time you stated that those who do not desire children should not be married as the purpose of marriage was to procreate. I wonder, now that it seems that you've limited your family to two daughters, if you have a better sense that perhaps having a multitude of children is not for everyone. Plus, if two children is the limit your husband and you wish to have, how is being childfree by choice thereby inappropriate. Just curious to see if your view has changed.

Anonymous said...

To previous commenters:
Working women also cook and bake from scratch. I work full time and cook 3 meals from scratch daily; it takes 15 minutes to prepare a fresh veggie omelette with toast, fruit, and coffee in the morning; it does not require being home all day to then 8 hours later prepare a simple healthy dinner. Sorry, I do it every day AND keep a spotlessly clean home in addition to working. Staying home to read for pleasure and to crochet, giving yourself a cushy life off your husbands' backs, is cruel to your husbands. A woman who loves her husband will not want her husband to die of stress and being the sole breadwinner is stressful.
As for the woman who is an Ob/ the USA there is a desperate shortage of doctors. By choosing NOT to practice medicine, you are causing needless illness death and suffering. If you have the skills to save lives but are choosing to indulge yourself at home, you are acting in a capacity that is immoral.Furthermore, you took the spot of someone else who could have used the degree to save lives, not bake cookies (which working women do, too).
You "stay home moms" are ridiculous! You place sooo much emphasis on the tasks you do at home when in reality, ALL working women do those same tasks!!! Anna--your posts on laundry make you sound silly; it takes 5 minutes to put clothes in a machine and press a few buttons: you aren't scrubbing clothes on a washboard like your grandmothers likely did. Ditto for the dryer. Take the clothes out, put them in a new machine. What's the big deal? I personally know mothers of 4 or 5 children who manage households AND work outside the home.
As for homeschooling...I will be interested to see a post on why people choose to homeschool. Seeing that you live in Israel and can send your daughters to Orthodox schools, keeping them away from negative influences is not an excuse. Teachers at those schools are also highly qualified so sub par education isn't an excuse either. No, you want them to be dependent on you. You long for more children and for whatever reason don't have more children, and so you want to keep your daughters babies forever to have an excuse not to work outside the home. Orthodox Jews place a high premium on the yeshiva and/or bais yaakov schooling system and homeschooling is only appropriate for children following prolonged illness or some other emergency.

Carol @Health & Home & Heritage said...

Thankful that you are safe. My husband and I are praying for Israel, for great wisdom for your leaders--especially Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is helpful for us as women to think of our lives in terms of seasons. It simply isn't possible to have a full time career and nurture children and home at the same time. I am very grateful for the years that I had at home with my young children. Once they were in school my husband suggested that I return to work, part-time.

Every woman has to evaluate her situation--but it is helpful to think in terms of seasons instead of trying to do it all at once.

Mrs. Anna T said...


You say: "I feel that you're engaging in misogyny by stating that "many, many women are best suited for a job of being a wife and mother." Guess what? Some are not."

That is precisely why I said MANY, not ALL.

As for us "limiting" our family size... please keep in mind that just because someone already had a baby or two, it doesn't mean they can continue having babies. There is such a thing as secondary infertility. I hope you join your prayers to mine.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Just a note: while I keep the option of commenting anonymously open on my blog, if you choose to use it, I would appreciate it if you still posted under some alias ("Mary Sue" or "US feminist" or whatever). Otherwise, it's difficult to know whether you are the same anonymous or not (apart from the hate-spewing style).

For the record, I'm home all day and my home isn't spotless. *Smile* Not because I'm lazy, but because we have people living and working here on a regular basis.

Also, dear Anonymous, I would question why you made the assumption that my friend, the Ob/Gyn who chose to come home, lives in the US. Because she doesn't, and therefore, the shortage of female doctors in America has nothing to do with her.

Search my blog for the post called "Meet them: the Israeli homeschoolers". All my homeschooling friends around here in Israel are Orthodox, but NOT of the Bais Yaakov style. Those are Charedi. We are not. I hope you will consider doing some research on such basic matters before commenting.

Rebecca Grider said...

So if you recognize that not ALL women are cut out to be stay at home mothers, then can you see why feminism is important? For those women who choose to pursue a career instead of being a mother? For those women who find motherhood a terrible choice for them, why should they be limited in their ability to use their interests and gifts to their highest potential? That's what feminism is about all about: giving ALL women the choice to be what they most wish to be - whether it be a mother or a woman with a career.

If you agree that not ALL women are suited for motherhood,then it seems disingenuous to still decry feminism.

Bethany said...

As per Anonymous' comment "As for homeschooling...I will be interested to see a post on why people choose to homeschool. " As a former homeschooled kid and one who is interested in homeschooling, I can tell you that there so are many reasons why people choose to homeschool their children. Aside from reasons like learning disabilities and bullying: Teachers cannot always spend the time necessary with an individual child to help them learn best, public school curriculums are not tailored to individual children. Some parents homeschool so they're able to emphasize the importance of family and grow a closer family. Some homeschool because they want their children to be able to do more things they enjoy. Homeschooled children generally spend less time doing school work and get the same amount done as public schoolers. In highschool, I spent about 2.5-3 hours a day doing 'school' (working from a curriculum) and did all the subjects that those who got on the bus at 7:30am and returned home at 3 did. Homeschoolers have much more flexible schedules, so they can pursue their interests in a more comfortable way. Homeschooling facilitates families who move a lot or who want to travel a lot during the year. Homeschooling is also a great way for parents to instil moral and religious values in their children. Not that you can't do that while they attend public school, but homeschooling better facilitates it. As a homeschooled child, I learned that there are more important things than school, more important things that being popular, and that running around all day from one thing to the next is not how people have to live their lives. For older children, homeschooling is very self-directed, which is good preparation for university and life. Homeschooling teaches you that the school setting is not normal and not the sort of setting in which people will spend most of their lives.

For anyone who's interested, I spent a lot of my summer doing a homeschooling series on my blog: :)

Mrs. Anna T said...


The overwhelming majority of women get married, have children, and spend their lives caring for their families. A few don't. In the past, those would work as nurses, governesses, or would attach themselves to another family (such as, a sister's). Feminism, as a social movement, didn't focus on those *few* single women, in order to give them a better choice. It focused precisely on bringing the *married mothers* outside the home. Now the social expectation is for the married mother (majority) to also have the career focus/ambition of the single career-driven women (minority), which led to a major disruption of the whole social structure.

A 100 years ago, women like you were a minority and perhaps had difficult lives, which is a pity. Today, women like you are still a minority, but you have more options, which is good for you, but now ALL women are supposed to be doing something outside the home to be "worthwhile". So, I'd say feminism was perhaps a good deal for a few truly career-driven women, but not for most women.

Mrs. Parunak said...

I'm so glad you're OK. Every time I see a piece of news out of Israel, I worry about you and your precious family.