Kirsten Dunst, I've Got Your Back
Kirsten Dunst recently got blasted for some comments she made about gender roles and just because someone doesn't agree with her, does not mean Kirsten is "kind of dumb about it." But according to Erin Gloria Ryan in Jezebel, Kirsten is indeed "kind of dumb about it" since she apparently favors traditional male and female roles within a relationship.
My Mom, even in the 60s and 70s when she was a stay-at-home mom (when it was widely accepted), struggled a little with her value. She loved it. She chose it. But she worried at times that it wasn't enough of a contribution. But in reality, she worked harder than most people I know. It just wasn't considered a proper occupation, though it should be. She was Queen at what she did; spotless home, organized, comfortable, welcoming; worked in our classrooms at school; volunteered at the local pregnancy center; made homemade meals every evening; handwashed dishes (she never owned a dishwasher!); had the incredible gift of hospitality and a crazy ability to host amazing and delicious holiday meals.
But even this isn't completely what Kirsten's comments, and the backlash that followed, are about. I felt she was saying that in order to have value in society's eyes now, we women have to have our own jobs, earn our own paycheck, and make our own way. While that's all noble and perfectly acceptable to have our own things and be able to take care of ourselves, it's not the only criteria that makes us valuable women. I've been on both sides; I made my own way, had my own profession and paycheck until just months ago. I've always been a SAHM though, having the blessed opportunity to work from home. More recently, instead of a WAHM, I've traded the W for the S and am a true SAHM and I like it. It's taken some adjustments both in budget and attitude on my part. I found a great deal of my personal value in my ability to earn.
But I've realized I am of value to my husband and children to be able to be home and truly available to them. My life in large part has revolved around their lives, and I feel good about that. I feel very needed, just as much (and possibly more so) as I did when I worked for a large national company that cut me a check every two weeks. I don't have to juggle my schedule and stress myself out just to get to a teacher's conference, pick up a sick child from school, or have tea with a good friend. I have my own schedule that includes housework, meal planning, and grocery shopping (all very necessary; the household wouldn't run if these weren't accomplished), I have some health issues requiring spending a lot of time in doctors' offices and medical labs, and I'm able to spend a little time here and there socializing (also necessary).
I'm letting my husband take the financial reins because I know he can. He's trustworthy, a very hard worker, and enjoys that traditional role. I realize that is also a lot of pressure on him being the sole breadwinner during this season, but he has risen to the occasion and I am both appreciative and blessed. I try very hard to do whatever I can to make his home life enjoyable and stress-free so when he goes to work, he can be fresh, strong, and know his home is cared for and things are good here. I want him to know that I appreciate every day that he gets up when it's dark and goes to work and puts in physical labor all day. It's my responsiblity (and I gladly accept it) to make home the place he can't wait to get to when his work day is complete.
I'm digging these roles, quite frankly. I'm blessed that even though it's financially tight, we're doing it. I've been on my own before and was a single mom, and that time in my life was incredibly important. Because I know that if I need to, I'm capable of taking care of myself and my children, I don't feel I need to prove it on a daily basis to society by having regular employment. My value is not in money earned but in what I can do for others and also for myself. I've got my shining armor and I'm delighted. He doesn't mollycoddle me. He makes me strong and fills certain needs as I believe I do for him. We make a great team and sure, we each take on certain traditional gender roles and I'm not "dumb" about it. I rather like it.