Sunday, November 18, 2007

Large families and feminism

I am a feminist. Anyone that knows me knows that I have absolutely no problem identifying myself as a feminist. To me, that means that I support the right for women to have the opportunities that men have. I don't think that is a particularly radical or controversial approach to equality. I think that women should be able to work hard at their jobs, advance at the same rate and be paid the same salary as a man who has their same experience. I think that a man can decide to take time off to stay at home with his kids if he wants.

I find it somewhat funny that women who are anti-feminist have all of these outrageous ideas about what it is. Evidently if you are a feminist it means you want to kill babies and destroy families. I have found this anti-feminist craziness while perusing large family blogs. Which is ironic because one of the staples of feminism - especially the early feminist movement is to raise awareness of the value of the stay at home mom.

When I was in college, I thought I would have one child and probably be a single mom with a nanny and a demanding career. That was just what I imagined. When I ultimately went back to medical school it was after months of researching adopting from Kazakhstan and realizing that I needed to be able to provide financially for my child. Even then, I thought one child for me and I would be done. When I had my bio daughter in medical school - I still felt a strong desire to adopt internationally. I thought I would do that once and then my family would be complete.

Then I went to Kyrgyzstan and my ideas about my family changed. I think it is safe to say that it is going to be a whole lot bigger than I thought 5 years ago.

One of the things I love about the internet is that you can google and do blog searches and find someone who has things in common with you. It helps you feel a little less alone. I will tell you though, there are no blogs I can find by women with large families that work full time and don't homeschool! (Please don't take that to mean I am against homeschooling) I am a feminist who wants a large family, who wants to work full time in a moderately time-consuming industry. I suppose if there are women out there like me they just don't have time to blog.

By the way, I don't feel there is any conflict between being a feminist and wanting a large family. Working towards equality and working towards creating a culture in the US that values motherhood is part of what feminism is. Working for fair maternity/paternity leave practices, working towards access to childcare, de-stigmatizing a woman's choice to leave work early to go on a field trip with her daughter is part of the work of feminism.

I think all working mom's can see the truth in the following story: a man leaves work early to see his son in a play and the boss says.....oh what a good dad he is sacrificing a couple of hours of work to see his son in a play. When a woman leaves work early for the same reason the boss says.....she is just not serious about her job always leaving early she needs to decide if she wants to be a mom or a worker.

So if anyone knows of a blog by a working mom with lots of internationally adopted kids give me a link!

7 comments:

Anita and Family said...

Michelle,

They're out there--the working moms with lots of kids! But I'm with you--I don't know any with blogs! I have a friend with 10 kiddos that works for the airlines and is in the process of adopting 2 more. I have a friend with 21 kids that has a blog. She doesn't work outside of the home but she is not a homeschooler! LOL! http://blessingsx21.blogspot.com/ =-)

Anita

Michelle said...

Loved reading that blog! I think 21 is a full time job for sure. Thanks!

imtina said...

Michelle,

I totally agree. Having children and however many you want is all part of the idea that we, as women should be able to choose what path our parenting should be. And girl, you know if I had $$ like Brangelina, I'd be adopting one a year too. I'd have some ridiculously large family and I'd LOVE it.

Meagan Francis said...

How large is large? Over at www.largerfamilies.com we've got a few bloggers w/internationally adopted children, and I think some of them work outside the home. Not everyone there homeschools, for sure, though many do.

Meagan Francis said...

How large is large? Over at www.largerfamilies.com we've got a few bloggers w/internationally adopted children, and I think some of them work outside the home. Not everyone there homeschools, for sure, though many do.

Meagan Francis said...

How large is large? Over at www.largerfamilies.com we've got a few bloggers w/internationally adopted children, and I think some of them work outside the home. Not everyone there homeschools, for sure, though many do.

Monica said...

Okay well I am NOT that mom -- atleast not YET! I do hope to be her though within the next couple of years so stay in touch. My career will be as an elementary teacher so admittedly it's not as demanding as some careers and the schedule works well with family. For now I'm a stay-at-home mom with five biological children. I'm planning to get a job for next school year and then the following year adopt a daughter from either Kaz or Kyrgyz.
:)
Monica

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