Gender equality is a common cry these days, but what exactly are we asking for? What is equality and can we be equal and different at the same time? I hope to unpack this with a bit of reason and common sense. This post may contain affiliate links.
Here is What I am NOT saying
Part one was my history and how I fell in love with homemaking. Part two was about building our homes and how important family is to society. This is part three, here I am trying to build a case for being fulfilled in the way that God designed us. I am not saying that no woman should ever work outside the home. However, I don’t think that our workforce needs to be equally populated with men and women in all positions. Men and women are different. That is NOT a bad thing! It is good and beautiful and should be embraced!
“So God created man in his own image , in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27) So, if we believe the Bible to be true, we will see that God created us, male and female in his own image.
The fact that there is honest discussion in our society today about whether we should label a child at birth with the label of male or female is truly absurd. God created us male and female. Perversion has somehow made this arguable.
We are different by design. Different does not mean not equal or that one is better than the other. Quite the opposite. Together, we complete one another. We are each made in God’s image. We are each designed to bring Him glory in our own way. The reality is that men and women compliment one another perfectly.
Equal by definition is: the same as another in status or value.
You may wonder why I am writing something like this? I thought this was a series on homemaking. It is, but I guess my point is that there seems to be so much noise in the world lately. Everyone shouting for this or shouting for that. Everyone wants rights, everyone is entitled to something. My hope is to shed light on where our value is truly found, and that is in Christ alone. In God’s eyes, we are all equal, we are all flawed, and we all need a Savior. He is no respecter of persons. Male, female, black, white, he doesn’t care. He is available to all of us. We don’t deserve him, yet other than humility, we have nothing to prove to him at all.
I believe we are missing a big opportunity before us. When I think of homemaking, I think of the grandma that many people talk about. The one that they remember fondly. She loved her home, she made you feel welcome. When you were there you felt loved and accepted. She took the time to invest in you. Talking to you, taking you out to her garden. She fed you delicious food. It’s likely that she prayed for you. Her influence may have been one of the main things that shaped your character. That is who I want to be, that is how I want to be remembered.
We Don’t Have to Do the Same Things
Equality is not found in doing all the same things. If we are honest, we really do have the same opportunities as men. We are also of equal value in the eyes of God, which is really all that matters anyway. Perhaps if we thought more about what God thinks of us, we wouldn’t get so off track!
When we as women demand equality, what are we asking for exactly? Does equality mean we have to do the same things as another person? Am I of less value to God or to society because I am not an engineer like my husband or a firefighter like I thought I wanted to be? Of course the answer is no. Our value is not in how much money we make or our profession or status. All of that is vanity, and truly not what makes our life valuable.
Could I have become a firefighter. Yes, I could have, the opportunity was there. I took the classes. I had my EMT certificate. Because of the pressure to have more “equality” in the workplace, I would have likely been a shoe-in as they “needed” women on the force in order to look diverse. Was I truly cut out for being a firefighter? I sure thought so. I worked out, I was strong, I could run for miles.
Do you want the truth, though? I wasn’t even half as strong as the out-of- shape young men in my firefighting class. I could keep up with them ok on some levels, but once I put on the firefighting suit and the big rubber boots, I was at a disadvantage. Really, I was simply not as strong. And the real truth? If you had your choice between me coming in a burning house to save you and your children or someone twice as strong as me? I’m pretty positive you’d choose the latter!
I don’t want false respect or forced respect. I don’t want to get a job just because I am a woman and it would make the corporation look more diverse. My preference is a job that I am perfectly suited for…I want a job because I am the most qualified.
Side note: The commercials from the Super Bowl this year, seriously! They were extra feminist, but embarrassing really. There was one where a football player ran for a touchdown, and when the helmet was pulled off, it was a woman! Ok, have you ever met a professional football player in real life? I was a nanny and I interviewed with a KC Chiefs player…he WAS HUGE, like bigger than life huge! The thought of me or the woman in the commercial playing professional football against that dude is ridiculous. Do we really want the “right” to be tackled by a 300 lb man? I highly doubt it!
What Do we Really Want?
Do we really truly want to do all the same things as men? It sure sounds good to be the CEO of a company, but do we really want the 60-80 hour work week that goes with it? Do we want to be away from home traveling all the time? How about the stress and pressure. Is that really truly our desire? I’m just asking because I think we have been led to believe that we should want those things, even if we really don’t.
We see numbers that state that there aren’t enough women engineers, women CEO’s, women scientists. The problem with numbers is they don’t tell the whole story. Maybe women aren’t as interested in those positions as men, and maybe we just need to be ok with that instead of forcing it. How about we let people pursue what they are interested in, what they love, and let the numbers fall where they may. Let the best man or woman win!
Can women be scientists and engineers? Yep, we sure can. We have the opportunities, and many women have the drive and intellect. I think the numbers just reflect the fact that without being brainwashed into thinking we should want those jobs, naturally most women just don’t. But if they do, that is fine, the opportunities are indeed there.
When I chose to embrace my role as a wife and mother, and when I fell in love with homemaking, I became fulfilled. I was more fulfilled than I ever was striving for a job that I could have had but was honestly poorly equipped for. I am perfectly suited to be a homemaker. Maybe you are too, and my hope is that you can love being a homemaker without feeling shamed into thinking you aren’t doing enough.
Another Kind of Strong
My husband and I are different. He is strong in ways that I simply am not. So are my boys, if I need something heavy moved, I ask one of them. But you know what? I am strong in ways that they are not. I can do things that they can’t.
We as women have the ability to carry and birth a child. Have you ever really thought about that? What a privilege! Men don’t have that privilege! I don’t hear them shouting and demanding it either. For whatever reason, though, this strength that women have has been turned into a burden that we bear. Why do we despise what we have been given and desire something else?
This amazing thing that our bodies can do isn’t really celebrated. It is looked at as something that is holding us back! How soon can the woman get back into the workforce? How soon can she bounce back from childbirth, find daycare and get back to doing something worthwhile? Isn’t that the lie we are being sold?
Why can’t we embrace this beautiful gift of bearing and nurturing children as the gift that it is. I may not be able to drag someone out of a burning building, but I can give birth to a 12 pound baby! I believe I am strong, just different than my husband.
Have you ever heard of the book Men are Like Waffles Women are Like Spaghetti? It is a fun read very insightful and I think there is a lot of truth to it. Women’s thoughts are typically all connected. That’s how we can go into a public restroom talk to a total stranger while we wash our hands and come out of the restroom with one another’s life story. A man typically gets in a box and can stay there. If the box happens to be a problem he is working on, he usually wont come out of the box until the problem is resolved.
This post is proof that my mind is like spaghetti…maybe a bit all over the place?
We as women are designed to multitask. Typically we need to juggle fifteen different thoughts and demands at a time. Our brains are made to function that way. Of course these are generalizations and we aren’t always to the extreme. Men can multitask and women can focus. However, as a general rule, that is what we see.
My husband and I often joke about an illustration in a sermon we once heard. I found the story on Reddit and have posted it here in it’s entirety. It illustrates my point perfectly.
Diary Entries from a Wife and Husband
Bob has been acting so weird lately. Yesterday, we had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for supper. I’d been shopping with Jenny all day, so I thought he was upset because I was a bit late, but he didn’t say anything about it.
Conversation over supper wasn’t flowing, so I asked him what was wrong; He said, “Nothing.” I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving.
Tonight, when he came home from work, he skipped supper altogether, piddled in the garage for two hours, then headed straight for his recliner and sat there quietly staring at the TV. When I asked him about the fire they’d just covered on the news, he said he hadn’t followed the story. It had just been on!
Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed, but he was distant and distracted. He didn’t even kiss me goodnight — he just fell asleep. I lay there for hours wondering what was wrong, I don’t know how to reach him. I don’t know what to do.
Boat still won’t start. Can’t figure it out.
Equal but not Identical
I read an article on the Swedish model of equality. Men and women sharing everything equally. There are equal numbers of men and women in all positions. Men care for the children equally. It’s the balancing act of making sure they are both doing exactly the same thing.
It truly sounded exhausting. It is a fight against what comes naturally. I can’t imagine trying to negotiate every single household duty and task. Making sure it was divided perfectly. It doesn’t sound very peaceful or practical. Not to mention the fact that it is a welfare state. It just isn’t sustainable on it’s own. We can be equal without being identical.
Embracing Our Abilities
Why can’t we just embrace and do what we are good at? My body is made to nurse a baby, so with all ten of my children, I have nursed them. I am the person who wakes at night and feeds the baby. Nursing the baby during a church service or a movie or a party? Yep, that’s me again. I have missed out on a few things and a few hours of sleep in order to feed our babies. So what? So I have had to sacrifice for someone else? I missed a movie to give someone life. Is that really so bad? I don’t think so. Giving and pouring yourself out for another person is where true contentment is found.
I hear of women who insist on pumping milk and waking the husband at night so that he shares in the burden of feeding the baby and so that he can bond with the child. I’ll be honest… it sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me. If the man was supposed to feed the baby, God would have equipped him to do it. The father bonds with the child in a different way. Who wants the extra work of pumping or washing bottles just to make things “equal?”
Thankful for What I Don’t Have to Do
I, however, don’t have to get up and leave the house when there are six inches of snow and it’s below zero. Driving to work in inclement weather isn’t something that I have to endure. My husband does, and he does it joyfully. When the basement is flooded or the roof needs to be repaired, guess who isn’t the one doing the work? Me. I am not equipped for that work, but my husband is. We both give, and everything gets done. We don’t do the SAME things, but the work is divided pretty equally.
Our Relationships are Different
The relationships I have with our children are different than the relationships my husband has with them. However, one is not better than the other. I believe this is just the way God equipped us. When we are functioning well in these roles, we are building strong families that are a blessing to society. Once again I go back to the thought that this is under attack because it is good and right.
I cannot leave my babies without feeling sick to my stomach. I know I am not alone in this. My mom ran a daycare in her home for over 20 years. I worked at a preschool (daycare really). I know that most moms had an internal struggle when they left their child. There were often tears. I really believe we are going against what God designed us to do when we give that responsibility over to someone else. Society says the children are holding these women back, that is a lie. Embracing the job of building a home and family is truly where the fulfillment is. As women our hearts are drawn to nurturing. Men are drawn to providing. Both jobs are of equal value, and when done together joyfully, it is truly a thing of beauty. The jobs are equal
My husband does not struggle with leaving his children to go to work. Does that mean he is a bad dad? No. God designed him to want to provide for his family. In order to fulfill that, he has to leave the house and go to work. When he is home, he is the human jungle gym and rough houser that I refuse to be. He works alongside the kids when he is home and teaches them to challenge themselves. However, when he leaves, he doesn’t worry as he knows that I am here with them, protecting and teaching them. Would he love to work from home and spend more time with all of us, yes of course. That is just not where we are right now. So, he does what needs to be done.
God’s Design is Blessed
As a human, as a woman, you can do whatever you want. We all can. We often look at God’s design for family and think it is somehow oppressive to women. The word submit makes us cringe…uggh submit to a man? How awful! If that is how you feel, you are truly missing the point. You are missing God’s intention for you as a woman.
What we are missing in this is that there is blessing inside of God’s design. God is giving us a special place, a place of protection. Not because we are weak or incapable, but because we are valuable.
When we decide to buck the system, and try to be the leader, the breadwinner and the head of the home, God and our husband may just allow us to do it. However, we will also get all that goes with it. The stress of making all the decisions, the pressure of earning enough, the struggle of being a mom and an executive will all be yours. Then you will be reading all you can about “finding balance,” when unfortunately there isn’t one. Something will suffer. It’s just the facts of life. We simply cannot do it all, and do it all well.
A husband is designed to want to care for his wife. There is beauty and security inside a marriage that is centered on Christ and functioning the way He intended it to function, so don’t sell the design short.
Perhaps my picture of the happy family sounds idealistic? In some ways, I guess it is. It all hinges on each of us submitting ourselves to God and trusting that His ways are best. This goes for the husband and the wife. A husband that is committed to God will treasure his wife and want only what’s best for her. He will listen to her and value her opinion. When he makes the decisions it will be with everyone in mind and not from a place of selfishness.
The wife will in turn trust her husband and want to build a home and family that honors God and her husband. She will be willing to lay aside selfishness and pride in order to serve those she loves. She will be building her house and not tearing it down.
This is truly a beautiful dance of equality. Two people of equal value to God, living and working together to build a family that leads others to Jesus. Ultimately that’s what this is all about anyway isn’t it? This life? Isn’t it about glorifying our creator? We can glorify God by displaying what he created, we are equal, but different.