How to be a Female

This week I have seen several articles and post about how hard it is to be a woman in the 21st century. How there are so many pressures. How life is generally harder on women. How we need to drink to dull the pain of our own existence. How media portrays an impossible image and asks us to reach the same perfection. I’ve read these things with some interest…and some complete wander. I mean, can it really be THAT hard to be a female?

Here is what I have deduced from my own meditations on these works: Women (in the U.S. and other first world countries) feel constant pressure to do more, and be better. Women should not feel this way.

I’m going to write about first world women, because that’s where most of the focus was in the things I read this week. I will not pretend that women in many other countries around the world make up their problems, or that their problems could be solved with a new way of looking at things. But I am going to assert that both of those statement are primarily true in the developed world. (If you think that is going to anger you, or cause you to need counseling, you may wish to stop reading here.)

Before you start throwing “women’s rights” stones at me, I do believe women in the U.S. are entitled to some of the basic rights of men. But as far as I know, there are no states that forbid women to walk alone with no escort, prohibit women from voting, keep women from attaining drivers’ licenses, or disallow women from seeking any degree, career they wish, etc. But, I do not believe men and women are created equal. We aren’t from a biblical view. We are not the same from a scientific view. We are really not the same.

My husband has worked 80 hour weeks since April or May. He leaves by 5 or 5:30am many mornings, and does not get home until 8-10pm. He works outside. His pick-up is his office. The world is his bathroom. He takes a lunch and bottled water every day. It’s hot. It’s dusty. It’s sunny. He runs on very little sleep. I COULD NOT DO HIS JOB. Let me make that very clear. I have done long days outside in the heat, and humidity. I have worked long hours in the sun. I have lived on a sandwich and chips. I COULD NOT DO HIS JOB. By this time in the summer, after months of his schedule, I would very likely be in a hospital. The sun, the dehydration, the stress, the hours, the lack of sleep — they would all become to great for my female body to bear.

I stay home with our two children, and work on incubating our third child. I deal with fits. I clean up the same messes every day, sometimes more than 3 or 4 times a day. I change diapers. I wash dishes. I cook meals. I wash laundry. I read stories. I haul children around town, in and out of car seats in hot, cold, rainy, windy parking lots. MY HUSBAND COULD NOT DO MY JOB. Sure, there are many stay at home dads. But mine would go insane. after the third melt down of the day he would probably need the nut house. He has stayed home before. He’s cleaned up puke. He has fixed little lunches. He has changed some rank diapers. But he could not do my job, day in and day out (nor would he want to. I’ve asked.)

So, there ya go. Two little differences in men and women. Now, I know there are plenty of differences between women, alone; and men, alone. I have female friends who could not and would not do my job. And I know many men who could not, and would not do my husband’s job.

But this blog is about women, so we need to get back to that subject. According to what I have read this week, the only way for many women to even survive their life is to drink, and to fight light wild beasts in the work place. I disagree with both statements. A) I don’t drink at all, never have. And B) We are not the same beings, so why do we hold ourselves to the same standards in the professional world? To me that is like asking a giraffe and a lion to perform the same functions in the ecosystem. We really aren’t the same. Do I keep repeating that point? That must be because I want YOU, yes YOU women on the other side of this screen, to quit comparing yourselves to men. WE ARE NOT MEN. We are strong! We are bold! We can make other human beings inside our own bodies! (Try that, dudes!) We can turn heads with our confidence and grace! We can change the world in so many ways! But we can’t do any of these things if we are all wrapped up in trying to be something we are not! Just think about that…

Moms, wives, teachers, professionals, hairdressers, nurses, waitresses, mail carriers, artists — women, we need to just stop trying to be anyone besides ourselves. We need to quit competing with men, and more than that we need to quit competing with one another. I am no fashion model. (Unless boot cut jeans, tennis shoes, and t-shirts are a great trend they just don’t mention in fashion magazines, and on the runway…Could I be so lucky???) I know women who always look adorable. No matter what they wear. And they make bold fashion choices. I’m scared of clothes. I have no idea what pieces go together, and when I can wear fall stuff, or if I need to stash my winter things and wear spring, or maybe it’s still too early?! I just never know. But you know what I have learned? None of it matters. Not to say i don’t have days where I hate every garment I own, because I have more days like that then I care to admit. But wearing what some one else wears, will not make me that person. Besides, there is something very striking about a woman who can dress in plain, ordinary clothes, and still wear a confident smile.

I am not a secretary. I could never do receptionist work. I HATE talking on the phone. I really don’t like people. I can’t stand stupid either. Why would I compare myself to another woman her loves her job in that role? I love to be home with my kids (most of the time.) Why would another woman who doesn’t even have or want children compare herself to the things I get done at home while she is working a job she enjoys? Horses scare me. Why would I compare myself to accomplished riders? You see my point? We are always looking around at what everyone else is doing and thinking “they have it all together. I need to be like them.” Mean while those same women are thinking the same thoughts about us, or about the lady across the street, or about whoever!

You know what makes it hard to be a first world woman, in the 21st century? Women. We do this to ourselves. And it’s ridiculous! I am not you. You are not me. I am not my sister. She is not my cousin. My cousin is not her coworker. The coworker is not her friend. Her friend is not me (unless it is ME. ha!)

Quit trying to be who you are not. Quit trying to dress to impress a certain crowd. Don’t break yourself at work for a promotion you don’t even want. Quit spending money you don’t make to look like some one who has more. Just quit. Just be you. You, the strong, bold, head turning woman who is passionate about what you are passionate about instead of chasing other people’s dreams. Just be you.

The Dream vs The Reality

Growing up I had very distinct goals for how my life would go as an adult. Dreams, I should call them; not goals. Goals are targets that with planning can be achieved. Dreams are the first step towards goals but are often slightly too lofty to be easily plotted and achieved… but I digress.

Yes. I had dreams of how my life would be as an adult. My dreams started in a simple enough house, situated some distance off the road, at the end of a long drive shaded on either side by mature fruit trees standing in neat rows of sweet glory. Behind the house was a heavily shaded back yard of lush grass, and nice shrubs and flowers. The yard would be small and strictly off limits for dogs and wild children digging, climbing, and other wise wrecking the serenity. Outside the white picket gate would be shops and barns and all the play space children and dogs could ask for. At noon my farmer husband would drive up to the house for a lovely lunch. Afterwards I would go with him to help with fence mending, cattle work, or some other farm chore. In the evening we would enjoy another wonderful meal, then the children would wash dishes before joining my husband and me on the back porch for some family time…..

POP!!!

Back to reality.

The reality is I live in an old house that needs a ton of work. And while I did marry a man in agriculture, his job is far from free enough to allow him to be home in time for bed, let alone any meals! And the dishes thing… well, there is still hope for that, once the kids get big enough to be trusted alone.

The reality is, parenting will never fit into some tidy little mold. Parenting is much more often breathing things like “thank goodness duck poop washes out!” after lifting your 15 month old son’s Tshirt out of the washer. Because parenting is much more often discovering that innocent “mud” you thought he had on his hands and shirt while you picked the garden…actually came out of the south end of a north bound poultry.

Parenting is much more often washing wet panties because you told your daughter she just went tee-tee when she asked to go to the bathroom (that she loves) that is creepily situated at the back of the store in the stock room! Parenting is much more often apologizing as you pull said toddler from her car seat, crying because she is doing her best not to full blown pee her pants. So you have to let her tinkle in the car trash can. Only to turn around and realize the guy, who was supposed to meet you in that parking lot to buy eggs…is pulling up right behind you.

Parenting is realizing that some times day clothes make better swimming gear than swim suits do. It’s letting go of expectations for the morning, to go outside and blow bubbles and eat popsicles. It’s giggling at your little man trying to jump like his big sister. Parenting is cooking one frozen pizza for the kids and saving a second to cook to eat alone with your husband when he finally gets home at 9:30 or 10pm. Parenting is looking at your children attempting something you know won’t end well, putting a hand on your tummy to think “and I have another one coming!” Then smiling like a fool because the entertainment will continue. It’s none of the things we dream of… and yet, some how it is.

I still dream about that house (mostly the deep shade and lush grass part.) And I’m sure some day we’ll make that a reality. For now, I’ll just enjoy the ride. And eat the best pizza at 10 o’clock at night.

Breaking the Mold

Towards the end of June we found out we were expecting Blessing number 3!

I think I might be more excited this time than I was when we found out about number 2. Don’t take that wrong; I ADORE my little man. But I really worried how I would hold up as a mom once I had more than one child. This time, I’m still nervous about adding a child to the mix. I’m also WAY excited!!

To be honest, I’m still not sure I’m doing much of anything right as a 21st century mom. I was thinking the other day and realized *I’m going to have THREE kids*… I’m not sure why that is such a shock. Math isn’t really that hard after all. I guess most days I don’t feel old enough to be a mom at all, let alone a mother of 3.

I still picture myself as that college girl who was going to conquer the world… well, Kilgore College anyway. I still haven’t “outgrown” my high school wardrobe and pony tail. I’d still prefer my ol’ loud, pick-up over an SUV. Pizza should be a larger part of a healthy diet. And I still haven’t (probably never will) learned to hold my tongue when I see something stupid going down. How can I be expected to raise decent human beings?! Some how, I’ve been tasked with raising, training, teaching, molding, and releasing another generation of adults into the world. (Scary enough without considering the world I’ll be releasing them to.)

Some wise-cracker on Facebook the other day was going off about how “millennials shouldn’t reproduce.” He thoroughly ticked me off. Not because I’m a millennial. Because, based on his profile picture he is only one generation older than me. I have no problem admitting that *many,* not all, millennials¬† are self centered, entitled, lazy, etc. My problem is that the generation didn’t get there on their own. No, the generation before us…those guys RAISED us. So the guy going off on Facebook? Well, unless he has no children at all and has never in any way shape or form done one single thing around children; he can just look in the mirror. We had parents! Or grandparents. Some one raised us! And the ones that gave a dern (like my parents and those of many of my friends) they raised us right. The ones who didn’t care; or who so mistakenly believed their only job was to make their kids happy and provide every tiny request… those parents created the millennial generation so despised by the world. It has nothing to do with when we were born and everything to do with how we were raised.

That whole paragraph just to say I do not intend to turn out 3 more adults who think the world owes them something just because they exist. My children will, in fact already do, work for things. They will have chores to do; not for pay, but because when you are an adult there are things you must do at home, that no one will ever pay you for (take out the trash and clean the potty, for example.) My children will learn to take responsibility for their actions. Yes, that means I tell my children things are their fault on occasion. My kids will be taught respect, manners, and morals. If in the end they walk away from those things; I ultimately have no control over that. But it is my very most important job to make sure that all of those things are instilled in their minds.

If the current standard is to allow kids to be kids. To not interfere with their play time. To never hold them accountable… Then it is time for us to break that mold. To return to raising adults, instead of full size children.