Sunday, July 1, 2012

Enjoying it All (or at least some of it)

It's funny, I was reading the Having it All article at around the same time I was reading about mutuality,  around the same time I was breastfeeding (I'm pretty much always breastfeeding nowadays- including as I write this). I'm not going to go into the very real structural challenges for women in leadership, though I think they are important. After being quite conflicted for quite some time (having grown up in the conservative church) I believe that men and women should be equally valued in marriage and in church life. It seems like a bit of a no-brainer because of how I'm phrasing the issue, but for some reason it's not. The Bible verses around this could go either way, and I'm not scholarly enough to tell. So I go with the spirit of Jesus' message, the examples of women heroes and prophets, and more practically, with what works in our marriage. 

Now I see through a glass darkly- Noah has been using our camera
Equality for us means doing a lot of housework and a lot of childcare. For the last while, I've been doing most of the childcare and cooking and food shopping, and Eug has been doing most of the renovation and cleaning. Not that it matters too much. We've both been working the tiniest amount to get by. It's a brief season in our lives.

We both feel the pull of bigger dreams, which are less about ambition and more about calling and providing for the family in a creative way. It's the hardest thing in the world for me to set down my computer- even though I'm not making much progress anyway- and enjoy Eli or Noah's presence. 

We're blessed with the help of family which I think, down the road, will make all the difference. I don't want to outsource all of our childrearing and cooking and cleaning (and even education), because these are the things that tether me most to the real world. These are the things that definitely make a difference. I take sourdough and flour and water and produce bread, the dishes go from dirty to clean. My children go from tiny to fat just on my milk (and I go from fat to skinnier). Noah starts to have conversations and questions and we're the ones who he gets to have them with. It's all quite tangible.

I was lucky to get a career focus very early on- even before college. My PhD and career focuses on refugee health but I'm still not convinced that that career will be better for the world than washing the dishes. And I don't think that undermines my commitment to the field. To me it doesn't make any sense to write about the longings of refugees- longings for a living, for family, for proper food and social standing- unless those longings are at least partially addressed in my own life.

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