I want to be a homemaker. I want to get married, be financially dependent upon my husband, and have lots of babies. I want to stay with my babies as long as I can, and when they are old enough for school, I want to give them rides, and pick them up at the end of the day. While they are away, I want to make their beds. I want to go grocery shopping, run into all the other stay-at-home moms there, and after picking up some healthy veggies for my family, I want to go home and bake chocolate chip cookies while wearing pearls around my neck and an apron around my waist. And my lipstick will be perfect. After picking up my kids from school, I want to sit them down at the kitchen table and help them with their homework. I want them to finish their homework and play baseball out in the backyard with each other. I want to raise them to love each other, and everyone around them. And I want them to love Jesus.
When my husband comes home, I will have already set up dinner for him. He will kiss me full on the mouth and pat the kids on the head. They will see him as a strong provider. And he will love Jesus, too.
My house will be well kept, my garden well manicured, my lawn pristine, and free of crabgrass. Laundry will be done every Tuesday, I will hold a Bible Study every Thursday, and Monday will be date night for the hubby and me.
This is what I want. But I can’t have it. I’m not allowed.
If I were to live in June Cleaver’s time, this dream would be typical, normal, and expectated. But there is no way to be June Cleaver anymore. It has almost become a taboo. I would be looked down upon if I were to attempt to live today with the ideas and desires of yesterday. I would become an outcast.
I want to be an independent woman. I want to make my own money and have my own place. I want a boyfriend who tells me he loves me, but upon whom I am dependent in no way, and friends who will always have my back. I want a job. A career. Something that I love to do, where I can prove myself in the work world and pull myself up the ladder of bosses. I want to have a nice car and not have anybody to worry about when I get home but me. I want to be seen as an icon. A modern woman making her way just fine in a man’s world, thank you very much. I want June Cleaver to look at me and faint from the severity of the shifted values.
If I really wanted to, I could have this. I could graduate from college, get a steady job with decent pay, never fall in love, save up all my money, buy a Mercedes. I could be a woman dependent upon no one, going home to a pile of bills on the counter, able to handle anything life throws her way.
But I don’t. I don’t entirely want either scenario. I would like a balance. I am told that the second of the two scenes would be ideal for a woman in my times. Children are just a hassle, no longer a bundle of joy. A husband would just hold me back from excelling in my career. Come on, Rose, don’t you want to make a name for yourself? Don’t you want to be happy? Don’t you want to live the life? Well this is how to do it!
Actually, I do want it, but I don’t think that’s the exact recipe for lifelong happiness.
Growing up, I was on a strict movie diet of Disney. Snow White and Cinderella told me that if I had big eyes and was super thin it would only be a matter of time before Prince Charming would whisk me away on his white horse. I’m still waiting.
Today, everyone around me is tall, blonde, and childless. All the women in magazines have flawless makeup and the most beautiful legs. If I want to be a mother I will have no time to do that for myself; my attention will be on the kids. All the girls on T.V. have super straight hair and superlative bodies. They all have boyfriends, or at least a boy who follows them around hopelessly. None of them are Christian. The Christians are the girls who can’t get dates. It seems that the media accurately reflects a typical high school: A girl can be a tall-and-thin, never-single-for-more-than-a-week, attend-church-twice-a-year kind of girl, preparing herself to be a woman of today… or she can be anyone else.
In my own home, I was always told that my parents loved me, that God loved me, that I could do anything I wanted if I worked hard enough, and that I was a beautiful creature. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and agree. Other times I would wonder what my parents were smoking that they might think I were anything but hideous. I was, and still am, in constant battle. Me versus the world, and sometimes me verses me.
This storm of images, good and bad, has two differing effects on me. The first is a wretched beast, taking hold of my throat and quickly yet painfully tightening its grip, telling me I can only be the woman everyone else is, the
I can only be happy if I give in and let myself be molded by society. All I can do is become a recluse, hiding my dark chocolate strands, my desire for children, and my Christianity. I feel rejected, and like nothing I do could ever be good enough for anybody. I am torn completely, and find myself standing in CVS, in the hair colouring isle, staring blankly at the light hues of “Spun Gold,” “Platinum Champagne,” and “Honey Caramel.” Maybe if I fit in, my desires to stand out will be suppressed by my satisfaction of having the surface happiness that everyone else seems to have in abundance. No one else that I can see is struggling with this problem… They all must be very good at hiding it.
The second effect is a much better one. I take my uniqueness and flaunt it. I rub it in the world’s face, and tell it that I’ll make it far in life (and be genuinely happy doing it) no matter how many times I feel beat. I’m not embarrassed by my brunette braids, my craving for a family, nor my unwavering faith. I know in my heart I can do what I want, live the life I want, without compromise. (Now there are many times in life when I hear people saying this is exactly what I should be doing, what everyone should be doing. They say breaking the mold is a good idea, just be yourself, don’t conform to society’s standards, stand out. But of course we all know how uncomfortable, how nerve wrecking it can be when you’re standing out by yourself. “I’ll only be unique if someone else is unique with me,” is the cry.)
These expectations of womanhood that have been piled upon me are confusing and flawed. Sometimes it is not easy to deal with them. I feel there is support from nowhere, and like these dueling urges will be stuck deep in my heart for eternity.
Other times, though, I just brush them off my shoulder, knowing that I truly am a beautiful child of God, and whatever choices I make in life that give Him glory are okay choices by Him.