feminist: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
Pictures and emotions are quickly formulated when the word feminist is used in conversations. Some cringe, some sigh, and some smirk. I was brought up in a conservative Christian atmosphere and taught that a feminist was one who didn’t like to submit to men and didn’t respect God’s law of order.
A Contradictory Image
As I grew into my teen years, I studied women around me. I saw wives, seemingly full of femininity in their long skirts and homemade cookies, covertly run the family. Make no mistake, although the husband looked the poster for patriarchy, he dared not step out of line. The family kept too busy to get involved with church and ministry. I rarely saw love exchanged in their marriages, but the order and routine were exemplary.
On the other hand, I saw women in pants, going to work, and dropping kids off at daycare. Husband and wife working together in the church, ministering to the downtrodden and homeless. Bubbly, full of smiles, and out on date nights. I dreamed of having a marriage so happy.
I was confused.
Fast forward many years. I married and accompanied my husband to the rigid churches that disparaged any uniqueness or individuality. All husbands and all wives had a list to follow to certify themselves as holy.
I almost forgot. Context. I’m a bit unusual. My Myers Briggs personality type is ENTJ. According to the research, less than one percent of women fall into this category. ENTJs are most often found as strategic leaders, motivated to organize change.
Houston, we have a problem.
During the early years of marriage, I plunged head first into following the list of rules, becoming what I thought would produce the perfect wife and mother scenario. I had five kids in seven years. Check. I learned to make bread and sew clothes. Check. I had dinner on the table every evening at five o’clock, made homemade desserts, and kept the laundry done. Check.
I was so unfulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mother and spending time teaching our children. But because of my personality, I typically had the entire house cleaned top to bottom, dinner in a crock pot, and the kids’ homeschooling done by ten o’clock each morning. I was bored.
I volunteered at the nursing home, joined choir, taught Awanas, organized church gatherings, and still had another eight hours in the day to fill.
I taught myself computer programming, scrapbooking, and graphic design. I began taking on side jobs. I excelled in my thoroughness of understanding complex programming needs and finding solutions. I was in high demand and making over six times my husband’s hourly wage.
I no longer fit in.
Although I loved my work, I struggled with inner conflict. My success in business went against everything I was taught growing up. As this side of my life flourished, my friendships with other women became distant, and harsh words were spoken in jealousy.
I didn’t fit in anymore with the rigid church. About the same time, I began questioning the strict rules and the misguided interpretation of Scriptures. We left that church and found grace in another church.
My children were now in middle school and approaching teens. The oldest were daughters, and they watched as our lives transformed. Grace took hold, and I began to blossom in the new-found freedom of individuality.
Well, I guess that qualifies me as a feminist mom. A woman who believes she is equal to men, confident in her God-given abilities, while leading her children to a better understanding of how to live life responsibly, with respect and service to the opposite sex.
As homeschool moms, we should be above allowing simple terminology to define us. Instead of fear or knee jerk reactions, we should be looking to set a new bar on what it means to be a mom. You know what they say, the hand that rocks the cradle…
Maybe I'm a feminist after all.
I’m thankful for all that I learned during that season about becoming a mom, wife, and homemaker. The Lord is always at work, and I believe strongly that each season is for a reason.
My daughters are all but grown, and my sons are now teenagers. Due to my experiences in the conservative Christian world, coupled with my vocation in the homeschooling world, it was imperative for me to reiterate to my kids a balanced worldview.
God created each of us equal in his economy. He desires to be glorified through each of our distinctions. There are no cookie cutter answers, nor is there a place for Stepford Wives in this worldview.
I’m teaching my daughters to embrace the talents God gave them and dream big. Ironically, when asking my daughters what they want to do in life, all three have indicated a desire for careers that will allow them to stay home so that they can be mothers at the same time.
I’m training my sons to recognize and respect the beauty and strength that women of faith should exhibit. They are also taught how to load a dishwasher and vacuum the living room. These boys are prepared to lead a home and run it as well.