I’ve spent a lot of time being fascinated by what we Lutherans called the doctrine of vocation. I have read countless books on the subject of calling, what to do with my life, where God is leading me, etc. I spent a lot of time praying about my dissatisfaction with the things placed before me and my frustrations with being disciplined. I’m sure if you spent some time reading through some of the back posts of this blog you’d come across many of those sentiments. Here is the irony of it all – I was always a closet feminist, trying to reconcile the ideals I learned watching the Cosby show with the life I was living. Go back and watch some of the reruns and listen to the women talk – I was shocked as an adult to realize that the “values” I struggled with defining were taken from the television screen! I’ve always had a difficult time with submission in my marriage, with the traditional roles of wife, mother, homemaker. And yet every time I’ve had a job there has been an element of dissatisfaction for me, wishing I could be home to take care of the things there. I love to cook but rarely find the energy to do so. I hate cleaning but I’m obsessed with doing laundry “my way.” And while I’d rather not vacuum or dust, I could spend hours or even days reorganizing every aspect of our home, from the kitchen cabinets to the filed paperwork. Somehow I’ve always wanted to be something “more” than a wife and mother. In fact, as a teenager I had no desire to have children (probably a good thing for a teenager to not want to become a mom, since too many indulge that desire as teenagers these days!). I couldn’t imagine having a traditional family. And somehow, through all of these things, I find myself landing in the middle of being a MOM.
We have only begun to understand the culture we’ve landed in, this culture of children with medical issues. Yet it is obvious that the primary involved parent is assumed to be the mom. Nurses and staff generally talk to me, not Travis, though doctors tend to address us both. Most of the parents we see in the halls are women. And the meal sign-up sheets for parents (they provide meals here for one parent) are almost entirely signed by “mom.” I know that television and media have been trying to convince us for years that these roles of women and men are interchangeable and that traditional roles are obsolete. But I have a hard time believing that when I still see the moms involved in their kids lives. I wish I could say that means the dads are working, but I don’t know that it’s true in all cases. Some of the dads may not be in the picture at all. And through all of this, Travis and I find ourselves sharing a great deal of this load. But when it comes down to it, he is the one still working and I am not. He is the one who can stand strong for us while I jump up at every little noise she makes. This is how God designed us as man and woman.
I realize that all of this discussion is one that can be offensive to some. I’m finding myself embracing more and more traditional values as I get older, and appreciating the marriage relationship that God designed. I’m exhausted, and Travis is encouraging me to go home for a night. But the mom in me can’t bear to leave our baby for a night, not yet, not even if Travis is here. I’m still praying about this and thinking, but it’s going to take me some time.