To Walk a Mile in Her Heels

Feminism has given today's woman the opportunity to choose. To choose what? Today, a woman can choose where she wants to receive an education and what field of study. Upon completing her education she has a variety of job opportunities open to her. If she chooses she may marry or not. She may have children with her spouse or not, or choose to become a single parent. If a married woman does choose to have children, she may have the opportunity (depending on finances) to choose whether to become a stay-at-home mom, or a mom who works outside the home. Why then can't a woman of today be happy with her choice? Why do women still feel the need to defend their choice to each other?

If women today were to accept that we are all individuals choosing paths that meet our needs both financially and emotionally, our relationships with each other might be more at ease.

Take a look at two scenarios: The first woman (Samantha or Sam) has one child and works outside the home.

At 6:00 a.m. the alarm clock goes off, Sam heads for the shower. Her husband has already left the house for an early meeting. She rushes to dress herself and her seven year old, feed him breakfast, drop him off at school and make it to the office on time.

At 4:45 p.m. Sam leaves the office to pick up her son from daycare and drive him to baseball practice. While he is at practice she has exactly 60 minutes to run a few errands before practice ends. Sam is not able to leave work early everyday, but has managed to work out a schedule with her employer. Twice a week she leaves at 4:45 p.m. in order to pick up son. On other days when she can leave work at a reasonable hour, (if her husband can pick up their son) Sam will try and take the time to work out at the local gym.

Once home, Sam encourages her son to begin his homework, runs a load of laundry and begins dinner. Her husband will be home in time for dinner, and he will help with the dishes and bath-time routine for their son.

Sam enjoys her work; she has chosen to keep her job after becoming a mother. She knows that if she were to stay at home, she would still be able to live a comfortable lifestyle, although a modest one. Her husband supports her decision to have a working career outside the home. Sam knows that evenings and weekends would not be as hectic if she hadn't kept her job. But this is the path that Sam has chosen.

Our second scenario is about Ashley. Ashley had a full-time career, then worked part time when her first child was born. Once her second child came along she decided to stay home altogether. Both children are now in school and Ashley has decided to seek a new career as a community activist/volunteer.

Ashley's alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. After taking a shower and dressing it is now 6:50 a.m. Her husband, like Sam's left the house early. She now has less than an hour to wake her two children, have them dressed, fed and arrive to school by 8:05.

After the children are off to school, Ashley begins her day of errands and volunteer work at the children's school. Ashley only has time to volunteer once a week at the school, because she is also a member of the Board at her church and is active in community affair work. Many of her meetings occur in the evening when it is up to her husband to feed and bathe the children.

Ashley has two hours a week for herself. One of which she plays tennis and the other hour a week working out at home. This is Ashley's free time. Contrary to stereotype, she does not have time to "lunch with the girls."

Once the children are picked up from school, the afternoon routine begins. Ashley's children have 45 minutes to relax, watch TV and eat a snack. Then it's time for homework, or Ashley puts on her chauffeurs' cap. Monday is dance, Tuesday is baseball practice, Wednesday is the local swim team, Thursday is baseball practice again and Friday Ashley recuperates, and the children have a play-date, which means there are now four children in the house.

In the evening much like Sam, Ashley uses this time to run a load of laundry, begin dinner and encourage her children to finish their homework. Her husband will be home for dinner and will help with the dishes and bath routine. After the children are in bed, she and her husband will fold the laundry while attempting to catch up on each other's day. Ashley will hit the pillow at 11:00 p.m. this evening. This is the path that Ashley has chosen.

Now these two women know each other. They each made a choice as to which path they would take. Yet, when these two women get together they each feel the need to defend why they are working outside the home, or why they have chosen to stay at home and give up working. Sam sometimes feels her friend Ashley thinks she is not a good mother because she is not at home with her child. Ashley on the other hand feels that Sam sees her as a woman who is not using her intellect. Are these really the feelings of the friend or are these their own thoughts and insecurities?

The freedom society now offers toward lifestyle choice has given way to groups of individuals having to defend their choice. Just take a look at the magazines a woman can choose from. When it comes to fashion or home decorating we enjoy viewing new changes for our style of expression. But when it comes to blogs, news feeds, magazines etc. for parenting, we see a huge diversity to choose from. There are those geared toward the parent as a whole, mom or dad. But in recent decades there are choices for the working mother and workingwoman. All these resources contain valuable information and are respected among society. But many of these have a limited point of view. This in turn can add to our segregated point of view.

Women who have always been known to be great communicators seem to have a problem discussing this topic with each other. Women today need to be thankful they have a choice. Respect your choice and the choices other women have made, don't judge.

As for Sam and Ashley, they should meet on a Saturday in between their children's sports games, go shopping, have lunch, and just be friends.