As a little girl growing up in the 80s, I thought my purpose was to marry a man because didn’t every woman need a man to “protect” her and to have children. I wasn’t really encouraged to think about careers even though my grandmother and aunt had been nurses.
The designated role for women in my young mind was to grow up and take care of the family.
That idea of taking care of my family too though was centered around doing everyone’s laundry, keeping the house clean and tidied, grocery shopping and making everyone’s appointments, managing the household calendar and finances and any other bookkeeping like responsibilities, cooking and cleaning up dinner, and my husband would make all the money to financially take care of us and mow the yard for half of the year.
Now here I am almost 40 years later and all I can think is thank God that thinking has changed.
I am so glad my sole purpose in life is not to be everyone’s servant and feed the constant needs of my family. That may sound harsh, I know, but as the woman of the house it should not all be on me to take care of everything and everyone.
In my 21st century life it’s not.
It’s no longer my responsibility to do it all and that’s pretty empowering for me as a grown women and for my young daughters.
I get to encourage them to think about careers and to learn how to be financial independent and how marriage isn’t servitude but a partnership.
I’m so happy to see as my mom stepped out of the home to work when we were older and my friends that choose to be stay at home moms that the shift for women from servitude to partnership is becoming the norm.
Men are changing diapers, cleaning toilets, making dinner, folding laundry, and being the ones to stay home. Women are pursuing career ambitions, saving for their own retirements, and sharing rather than doing all of the work that goes into successfully running a home.
This is the new world I want for my daughters and the expectations I want my son to know as the norm when he finds his partner.
Yet even though some still push back against the sharing of duties and argue that the women’s place is still in the home, I welcome this new world that is different than the one I was first introduced into to for women in the 80s.
Though there may still be ground to break in breaking down and deconstructing gender barriers as a society, it really begins in our homes with our spouses and what we model to our children. If we present an equal balance of responsibilities and capabilities in our homes then our children will expect and carry that into their own homes as adults.
I want my girls to feel empowered to pursue their own career dreams, alongside their dreams of motherhood.
They will expect equality and nothing less in their household when it comes to family balance and jobs. I want my son to know nothing less than how to provide that to the partner in his household.
My children, whether they are boys or girls, will carry the same weight and expectations around the house just as their father and mother do.
It shouldn’t matter who are the boys and who are the girls. We are all expected to step in and help one another and take care of the house and all the responsibilities that come with running a home and family.
It’s not just a woman’s job to take care of it all and that expectation starts with what we model in the homes for our children growing up.