I am a feminist.
I feel like over the past few decades that word has really been drug through the mud, but like my idol Malala so wisely said, “We all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality”.
I believe that women should be able to have the same hopes, dreams, and opportunities as men do without the barriers that hold them back today.
So how do I come to terms with being a stay at home mom instead of a woman-empowering career? Easily.
Feminism in its purest form is giving women the ability to choose whatever they want to do without criticism or discrimination. Right now, while my child is young and my family needs a house manager, I have chosen to stay at home.
My life and my career are not over. I had to come to terms with the fact that this is a very short amount of time. Yes, I may have given up some opportunities, but I am ok with that. I only get this time with my daughter once. She is only going to be learning and growing and snuggly once. I definitely miss having my job and having a skill set that I could be proud of. I do feel like many people look down on me and other SAHMs for our decisions to exit the work force. I recently stumbled across a facebook user that boldly stated that SAHMs “didn’t have any skills to begin with” and that if we did we wouldn’t have given them up so easily to be at home (I don’t know what he thinks women should do during birth and those weeks of recovery, or what helpless babies are supposed to do without their parents, but I am not going to waste the time or energy trying to understand his misogynist bullshit.)
To you other SAHMs out there, let me tell you something. You are not defined by your job or your children. You don’t need to stop shaving your legs or work 80 hours a week as a CEO or stop wearing bras to be a feminist. You can choose to do whatever you want to do and make whatever your sacrifices you want to make for yourself and your family. There is no “ideal picture” of a feminist, because that is every woman (or man) that fights for equal woman’s rights and does not let societal pressures keep them from their dreams. If there was a “standard” feminist, that in itself would be against the very idea of feminism, which again is equality and FREEDOM and diversity.
To all you future mothers out there or younger women that are just starting to flirt with the idea of feminism: do not let yourself be forced into a certain path just because everyone else is doing it or expects it of you. Allow yourself to dream big and think outside of the box. Just because something makes someone else happy does not mean it will make you happy (even something as fulfilling as having kids). But don’t feel like you are less than if your dreams seem small, they are not. Whatever makes you happy and feel passionate is important and valid.
I am a feminist. And you are too, no matter what your choices.