I Chose Motherhood Over My Career But I'm Still A Feminist

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I spoke with several women in Israel while I was away in the beginning of the month.  Most of whom paused or adjusted work after having their children.   There's a shared truth, that transcends religion or nationality, among women in their thirties who have made similar decisions. We spoke about disappointing the generation before us. The women who raised us and wanted us to have it all.  Our mothers and mother in laws who proudly branded themselves as feminists.  

There exists a tension between our generation - the generation of choice - and the generation before of us - the generation of opportunity.   But I think we all believe the same things - women have great capacity and should be respected and valued equally.  

My guess is that after the feminist fight for workplace equality in  the 60s and 70s, our generation has benefited from more room to start saying we can be treated equally but we are actually different. We can claim our biological capacity to bear children and the biological instinct to care for them. And if we choose, we may embrace that our career paths may not be exactly the same or for that matter, as linear, as our male peers.  

I do often have to assure my mother that I plan to stay relevant and may eventually return to the full-time workforce.  I let her know that I'm still intellectually involved and I'm not isolated in this chapter.  In some ways I know she is so happy to see me enjoy motherhood.  In other ways, she's scared that I'll miss an opportunity.  

And I think that's where our generations diverge again.  As modern women, I think we have more creative confidence and community.  There is simply more room for us to advocate for our skill set and more digital and physical spaces to stay connected to each other, industry and ongoing education.  I see so many women taking pauses or embracing flexible or freelance work and actively connecting with like minded women online and offline - brainstorming ideas, trading opportunities, offering contacts or encouraging new hobbies.  

I chose to focus this time of my life on motherhood and I am more awed and interested by women then ever before. I am awed by our capacity, our creativity and our community making diverse choices that are right for ourselves and our families.  I'm the least financially independent that I've ever been in my adult years and I feel more ra ra woman than I ever have.  It turns out feminist doesn't have to mean fiercely independent - for me, it means fiercely committed to believing in a woman's ability to create impact.  

What does feminism mean for you?  Does it have a lot to do with your work identity?  Have you connected with a new version of feminism in motherhood?  I would love to know your thoughts on this one xo

 

Featured Image via Feminism Photography