What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’ – The Atlantic.
Let me be a bit provocative. I would like to reflect upon the “why women still can’t have it all” article, in particular, the conclusion. While I would certainly agree that a woman president is long overdue, the value of 50 women senators is, in my opinion, highly speculative. As a man in early education with nearly 30 years experience working with or for families and children, I have come to the conclusion that the goal of equality for women, based upon male objectives, has not been in the best interests of families or children. In other words, the very valid focus upon equal pay for equal work, etc, in a way, discounted the value of nurturing.
I wonder, if our society had taken a different course, such as a men’s movement that demanded the equal right of parenting privileges, might we not be in a healthier place? What if men had demanded their rights to be contacted for parent conferences, to pick their sick child up from school, to actually use their family leave rights to spend time with their infant or ill child? What if women, had encouraged and supported such a male nurturance movement at the same time that they demanded (and achieved) equal representation in college, and equal pay for equal work (well, approximately 90-95 cents on every dollar).
Men, in my 30 years in this work, have not increased their percentages in ECE or Kindergarten (a dismal 2-5%)! At this same time, women now outpace men in college admissions and advanced degrees. I wonder… if you really were able to ask men to set aside their socially aquired value system… what they really wanted… how many would admit that they would trade roles to spend more time with their children? Interesting reading is the counterpoint article to why women can’t have it all – “what my son’s disabilities taught me”… Consider the fact that it was the child’s father that dedicated more time to raising the child than the mother. If women can’t have it all, we ignore the question, “do men really want it all? or is it simply the societal expectation that we want it all?”
When I examine the “master bedroom” closet of my late parent’s 90 year old home, I get a clue. It is tiny….no longer than a modern entertainment center! Maybe, once upon a time, men didn’t want it all either. Maybe we all just got caught up in the madness of a capitalist machine that is driven by inserting the word “need” everywhere that the word “want” once existed. We all need to wake up and ask a very different children. “What is it that the children need?” I really don’t care if you give them mother or father. Just give them a parent that is involved and engaged and invested in their whole well-being. Meanwhile, articles will be written lamenting this or that sacrifice that mothers or fathers make – never addressing the sacrifice that our children have been making for decades now.
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