During her Language Arts assignment today, I asked my 6-year-old daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. Her answer?
When I asked her what she was going to do as a mom she replied, “take care of kids.”
I love that her number one aspiration right now is being a mom, but it made me think back to something I’d read earlier. I can’t remember exactly where I read it or who wrote, but I remember the main idea well. The author pointed out that while we teach our daughters that they can be anything they want to be and be a mother, we are actually setting them up for disappointment in this area. Before you start thinking I’m going to say that a girl cannot physically do anything a boy can do, let me assure that is not the case at all. The point of the article I read was that we need to let our daughters know that they can be anything the want to be, but to also be realistic with them. A woman cannot give 100% of herself to a career and 100% of herself to being a mother at the same time. The time and energy she devotes to a career will come at the sacrifice of her family.
I understand the argument being made in the article; there is no way that I could be the mom I want to be and have a full-time career. I definitely think it is wise to be realistic with your children. If my daughter comes to me in 10 years and says she wants to be a doctor it’s my responsibility to support her in that, however I also need to let her know that if she chooses to do that she will never feel like she can give all of herself to her family if she chooses to have one. It’s not the same with our sons they are not wired the same, they are wired to be providers while girls are usually wired to be nurturers. Guys usually feel successful when they can take care of their families by providing food, shelter and clothing, while girls usually feel successful when they are able to nurture their families.
There are those who take this a little too far (in my opinion) and don’t encourage their daughters to prepare themselves for higher education, they tend to promote homemaking skills over academics. I disagree with this position. If you have not provided your daughter with the skills she needs for college and she decides she wants to go, you have set her up for failure in this area. I’m also not saying that teaching our daughters “homemaking” skills is unimportant. I think there is a balance we need to keep in this area; we need to prepare our daughters for anything the future may hold for them. To me, this means that we teach them how to keep a home, how to cook, etc. while also providing them the opportunity to prepare for higher education. We need to support whatever choices they make, but still help them to think about them realistically. I will never lead my daughter to believe that education is unimportant or that all she needs to know is how to be a homemaker; I think you can responsibly teach both. We do not know the plans God has in store for our daughters, so we need to be responsible and prepare them for whatever they may encounter.
My daughter is six and a half years old; she loves school and thinks that being a mom is the best job ever. I hope that as she continues to grow, I can help encourage her in all of this. I was never told there was nothing I could do, as a matter of fact I even have a Master’s degree, but I know that if I were working outside of the house I would be sacrificing precious time with my kids. I feel complete and satisfied with what I am doing, I don’t feel like I’m making a sacrifice by staying at home, but I do feel that if I was working I would sacrifice more than I could bear. I love being a stay-at-home mom and I know that it’s what God has called me to do at this point in time.
Just to be clear, this is not meant to bash those moms who do work outside of the home. I have nothing against that and I don’t feel that everyone HAS to be a stay-at-home mom to be a good mom. However, I think that if you asked them, most working moms would tell you that there are sacrifices they have to make. The main point I was hoping to make in this post is that we needs to teach our daughters to have realistic expectations when it comes to career and family.
What do you think about all this? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.