I've been enjoying the heck out of the What's Her Name Podcasts. However, I've realized that very few of the women reported on had children! I'm sure some of them did, but since that was such a normal thing, it wasn't worth the mention, maybe. But, it seems that in history if you were to do anything really cool, you didn't have children. Maybe if you had them, it just took you out of the ability-to-do-something-cool circle. While on the treadmill yesterday, I also turned on the Annie Oakley American Experience on PBS. Again: no children!
Is it really not possible to do cool stuff if you have kids? I was reminded tonight that yes, you can. I went to a Young Women's fireside with my daughter and husband where our mayor spoke. She's a woman, three years older than me. Her kids are older than mine; she started much sooner than I did. She dropped out of college because the babies kept coming and she felt it was what she needed to do at that time. She's back in school now working on a bachelor's with the goal to get a master's eventually.
Isn't it funny that I thought that the worst thing possible that could happen to me while in college was to get married and then get pregnant because that would ruin my educational plans? I guess for me I wasn't ready for the sacrifice of parent responsibilities, but some young people do it, and well! I would have thought people who do this were silly back then, but I admire them now, especially when they re-enter the college scene to continue their education as an older adult.
Kathryn Skaggs of Latter-day Saint Women Stand, a grandma, is doing it. My friend Emily M. S. just graduated with a law degree. How I admire them for having the guts to go back amidst having a family life!
As for women doing cool stuff AND having children, it does happen, and maybe it's more acceptable to do it now, but Carol Allen of Big Ocean Women has lots of kids and she's getting the word out there on maternal feminism. On the MWEG Facebook discussion group, there was a conversation about women who've gotten involved in the public sphere/politically who are Latter-day Saints. There are MANY MANY. My follow-up question is how many children do they each have? My hope is renewed in that you can do cool stuff and still have children; you don't have to give up family life to change the world.
I feel that the message to our local young women and young mothers is you get to choose - do what YOU want when you want, and you can really see a decline in family size because of this. So, it was refreshing to see the example of our mayor CHOOSING to have a family during those prime child-bearing years, but still eventually be involved so strongly in the community.