1) Waiting on a job change
My season of waiting started at the beginning of this year. My company was struggling financially. We started seeing some changes: cuts in benefits, attrition, spending freezes.
I began praying to God asking what I should do. He told me to wait until the fall.
At first, it was easy to wait: I enjoy my job, love my company, and have a fantastic manager. As the year progressed and worse announcements were made, doubt grew and I started looking for new jobs.
Though logically, seeking a new job seemed like the right choice, I felt uneasy. It went beyond dissatisfaction with the available jobs or frustration when I was outright rejected for jobs I was qualified for; something was unsettling me.
After (finally) really listening to God, I realized I just needed to trust Him and wait. I stopped applying for jobs and turned down interviews. The logical part of me was panicking, but I knew this was the right thing to do.
With my seven-months-pregnant belly leading the way, I headed into first day of level one Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training one muggy, Chicago summer day. The week that followed was thoughtful, “wonder”-full, and everything I hoped it’d be. I expected to have a deeper understanding of the child. I expected to have a more profound sense of the liturgy. I expected to be challenged to see the catechetical task differently. What I didn’t expect is how the friendships formed during our training opened up my heart to see motherhood in a new way.
Our group of trainees came from all walks of life: mothers, grandmothers, single missionaries, teachers, stay-at-home moms, parish catechists. One woman, who I’ll call Debbie, is about sixty, and, at the time, was about to start her job as principal at a new school in the fall. I couldn’t help but wonder how this came to be. At sixty, I expect most people to begin considering retirement, especially from an all-consuming field like education. “I’m a mom to four children, proud grandmother, and have been teaching for over thirty years,” she told me. “This is where I’m being called now, though. It’s a strange thing. I’ve never had this type of role before, but I’m of the mind that as women, we have to look at life seasonally, and never have too firm an idea of what a season will look like.”
This is where I’m being called now, though.
Our society is very concerned with productivity and efficiency. As with most social phenomena, there are a variety of factors that contributed to this. One factor that I find fascinating, however, is the so-called “Protestant work ethic”.
I had never even heard of the Protestant work ethic – although it’s got a whole Wikipedia page unto itself – until senior year of college in my Intro to Sociology course (yes, it was a class of freshman + me). Sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) wrote an entire book called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he claims that Protestant (especially Calvinist) theology, laid the foundation for capitalism. It’s a very fascinating argument, but I can’t do it justice here. The overall (oversimplified) argument is that, in some Protestant circles, there has historically been a significant emphasis placed on hard work and industry as a sign of one’s “election by God.”
Hence, the emergence of capitalism.
I suppose it’s no surprise, then, that American Christianity has elevated “industry” to a virtue. Think I’m exaggerating? I was shocked to discover recently that sloth (the deadly sin, not the animal) is NOT the same as laziness.
The other day, I started another rant while my husband listened. (It’s ok. He’s used it.) As with most of my rants, this one fell under the broad category of “why can’t everyone live their lives as I think they should.” And, as with most of my rants, he responded to this one with an amused smile.
This particular rant, however, took me in a direction I didn’t expect.
It started out as a complaint about the pressure that some Catholic women feel to conform to some sort of imagined “ideal” of domesticity.
Why do women feel that they must good homemakers to be good wives?
Why is all of the pressure on women to be the nurturers?
Doesn’t this ideal overlook the truth that not all women are good at cooking and cleaning? What about men? Shouldn’t they help out with the domestic duties?
On and on I went until I unveiled my secret weapon: Proverbs 31. (Let’s pause here and agree not to talk about the fact that I used the Bible as a weapon…)
“I get so frustrated by women who try to become ‘Proverbs 31’ women. I mean, is anyone really like that? This ideal is just setting women up to fail! And what women with jobs? Listen to this!”
“Oh, I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom,” she said, surrounded by the other women at brunch.
They nodded, giving their approval, and the affirmation so many Catholic women seek these days.
I get it.
We want to acknowledge the value in staying home, in foregoing apparent worldly success in order to give day in and day out to one’s family. Because for all the advancements feminism has brought women, greater recognition of caregiving and homemaking hasn’t been one of them.
Because for all the advancements feminism has brought women, greater recognition of caregiving and homemaking hasn’t been one of them.
But what if in proclaiming their desire to be SAHMs, women think they’ve rejected modern feminism, and they’ve actually given into it?
Let me explain.
When I first read the “anti-diversity” memo from a (now former) Google employee, I just tweeted a little and wanted to move on. However, as a female in a STEM field, I’ve been feeling pulled to talk about it.
I was actually ⅔ of the way done writing a defense of the memo (while acknowledging some of the flaws), but it just didn’t feel like the right direction. There are plenty of arguments on both sides – either claiming it is a hugely sexist piece, or people praising him as a martyr for conservative thought – neither of which is really an accurate analysis.
I don’t want to talk about the pros and cons of his memo in this post (although we can certainly discuss it if you’d like). Instead, I want to discuss an aspect of the memo that triggered a lot of outrage: the idea that men and women are different.
Are you bored of Catholic resources talking about the feminine genius
… but only in terms of women getting pregnant?
Are you frustrated with hearing people talk about chastity and NFP
…as if it’s blissful and full of frolicking fun?