So I read a blog called Grace Covers Me – which is an ok title I guess but I would have called it Let’s Re-educate the world about Pastors’ Wives.
A repost from today really got under my skin but maybe for reasons I need to explain a little clearer than just spouting off – what’s the opposite of preaching to the choir? This is more like frantically using sign language which I don’t know.
For starters, women are their own worst enemies. It’s easy enough to blame men for everything, I mean we think it’s all their fault for what we think has turned out to be a male-centric society. But the truth is we don’t exactly help the crusade. In fact, we help the male-centric crusade by creating patterns that allow for it to flourish.
For example, in the post, the blogger relates an all too common conversation between two women which inevitably leads to what does your husband do. And then the other woman has to say that they moved to the area because of her husband’s job. The pastor wife thing notwithstanding, it is a typical exchange between any two married women and the older I get the more I realize just how very many women don’t even have anything else to say.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love hearing about your husband and your kids and your minivan and your great deals on diapers. I know this sounds sarcastic, but I am actually not at this particular moment being sarcastic. This is your life and I get that. I really do. It’s the season of life you are in and it’s real and no less real than my life. And there will be a day (and there have been) when I’m talking to someone about my husband’s job and our kids’ temper tantrums and our new not-minivan and you will smile graciously or offer some advice or pat my arm in complete sympathy.
But when we all take a collective step back, we will realize that the sum total of all our experiences are so much more than “wife” and “mother” and that women beat each other down into nothing but a uterus through a life of conversations and through a life of choices that don’t reflect who we really are and our purpose in life.
When I was dating Rob I knew that I had a hesitation about being a little wifey who sits around and knits. I couldn’t be with a man who actually wanted that. I think I made it clear, and I guess it “took” because he married me, that I loved having a career and I loved being active in the community and I loved building relationships with people and making connections. I wasn’t going to stop doing those things because I am now a wife. And when we pop out this kid, I’m not going to stop being me and “just” be a mom. I think my kid will learn much more and be more adjusted to reality by watching me be a person, having my own identity and goals and learning how to live better just like he or she will. And just like I think it’s a big big mistake for parents to let the world revolve around their kids and put their lives “on hold” until the kids are grown, I think as a woman we tend to raise really superficial narcissistic children by never making them wait for us or change their plans or just simply not do something they want to do.
And all this boils down to how we see ourselves. We carry our labels around because they are comfortable and help us relate to each other, but in some cases the labels KEEP us from relating to each other. Every label has its own set of experiences and unique challenges, but collectively as women we have so much more to share than those labels allow us to. We are all in this together, and when we fail each other, when we stop seeing how to encourage and support each other whatever stage of life, we stop being WOMEN. And really, we stop being human. We end up being doormats to the world every time we give in to the labels and the rhetoric of who we are just because we have vaginas.
Now before I go way off the deep end, I have to interject here some push back to those who feel that Christianity itself is misogynist and beats women down. I have certainly felt that way in the past and I was for a long time reluctant to believe that whole thing about men being the head and women have to do what they say and blah blah blah.
It took a long journey for me to separate what I understood about men – or more accurately certain kinds of men who were the dominant my-way-or-the-highway types – and what I knew about relational leadership and mutual accountability. And this blog isn’t really about all that, and I hesitate to bring any of this up because it goes off onto a whole new trail. But the point is that I’m pretty content being (1) a woman, (2) a wife, (3) a mom, and (4) accountable to my husband and ultimately to my God.
That said, when I have a conversation with another woman, or really anyone for that matter, I find myself seeking ways to break down the stereotypes that our society generates for gender and relating across the board to what really matters. I will never have the exact same experiences you have. That doesn’t mean we can’t relate. You need to drop your prejudices and I need to drop mine. Women need to stop being our own worst enemies and stop holding each other to some ridiculous standards. We need to start believing that we have worth and unique contributions to make to the world around us and we need to start figuring out the best ways to enable each other to do just that. And the right men will not only get out of our way they will cheer us on at every step and learn from us. Let’s give them something to learn from.
This made me laugh…