The Constant Convert
The Indispensable One and Only
On the other side of the divide, evidenced by Slaughter's article, choice makes women incredibly puzzled about their roles both at work and at home. Is there a balance? If so, how do I get it? I know, let's talk about changing work policies, and getting more women into the highest levels of their profession so that they can effect change from the top down. In other words, let someone else solve the problem, so the onus isn't on women to make their own brutal choices for or against their families.
Having a choice is a huge responsibility, and the schizophrenic tone of this conversation suggests that women feel more burdened by choice than liberated.
Recently a friend of mine, seeing my very visible discomfort with my current pregnancy, said, "You're so good about accepting God's will without complaint."
She might have consulted with my husband before assuming I'm managing without complaint, but the way she repeated "accepting God's will" several times, worked its way into my consciousness in a way that it hadn't for a very long time. To be quite honest, I had been feeding my physical discomfort with mental provisions like "What have I done, having another baby at my age? Why did we think this was a good idea?"
My husband and I have never had a problem conceiving, so I had somehow tricked myself into thinking that this pregnancy had everything to do with my will, and not much to do with God at all. When my friend put my status into the proper perspective, I could no longer grumble about it. The final choice was God's, and this revelation made me feel more peaceful than I had in months.
This particular friend of mine has struggled for many years with infertility, though she is the mother to four adopted children. Accepting God's will as something totally contrary to her own was not a foreign concept to her.
When we have so many choices, we are easily fooled into believing that the outcome of our lives is one hundred percent ours. Even a non-believer must admit, as Slaughter has, as my friend has, that there are other factors acting in our lives besides our own self-will. There are complications with our bodies, with our abilities. There are other people. We are never fully the masters of our own destiny, which is something that I find a complete relief when I pause to think on it.
And maybe this is the controversy that's ringing through in Slaughter's article. The revelation is not really that "Women can't have it all." Rather, that when made to choose between career and the kids, as with so many other things, "There really is no choice."
Elizabeth Duffy is a freelance writer and author of the blog, "Betty Duffy." Her writing has appeared online at Faith and Family, the Korrektiv Press Blog, and numerous other venues. She and her husband live in rural Indiana with their five children.