Subtle judgments and outward expressions of criticism can crush a woman’s spirit to a point they feel like they don’t belong. In my personal experience, I have felt oppressed, left-out, and judged more by women than by men.
To date, only two men have questioned my decision to decline motherhood. One was about 90-years old (and from a world where ideals and opportunity for women were different, and sadly not as broad) who asked who would care for me when I got to his age. Respectfully, I smiled and said, “we’ll see,” but inside I felt sad for him that he limited parenthood to simply raising a human so they could eventually have a caregiver. Who’s the selfish one here? The other man who judged my decision to not have children said, “what do you think you are here for?” I immediately turned a sympathetic eye to his wife.
Ladies, we are here for so much more than ANY role we chose to serve in during our life. I hope you have someone in your life reminding you of that fact. If you don’t, message me anytime you need a reminder. Women are capable of achieving anything they desire, and if being a mother is your top desired role, I pray you reach for it with all your might; however, still know that your worth isn’t wrapped around even the most honorable role you achieve. The potential a woman has is so broad in my mind.
We can sync our heart’s desires with numerous different opportunities, so why limit our potential and our sister’s potential to only one role? When someone can answer that question for me, I feel we will find the gate to true sisterhood.
I’ve been accused of being anti-mom and anti-kid, in the past. This is a criticism that used to crush me, as it’s simply not true. I am an anti-cruel mom, and I am anti-kid abuse. I’ve done some volunteer work for both women and children (and animals) in tough situations, and although the work is difficult, I believe God made me a highly empathetic woman, with a big, nurturing heart, with an abundance of love to share.
When I listen (I am human and have sensitive moments, too) to critical words from someone trying to explain how I am less-than in this life because I chose to not have children of my own, I am both sad and angry. Sad that this world is so cruel and judgmental, and then angry that there maybe someone else out there getting bullied, too. It just dove-tails nicely into general frustration about the potentially harmful direction society is going.
When did women stop supporting other women for just being women, despite our other roles? When did fellowship stop being about support and more about criticizing? It appears to me that we are getting increasingly uncomfortable with that which we do not understand or support, and I’m sad for us.
From the moment I made my first girlfriends in grade school to the girlfriends that saw me through college, I felt loved, included, and supported by other women. Once some of us started reproducing (and others not), I saw a big, fat, section roped off, separating the non-reproducing from the reproducing women. This continued and still does today. What makes this segregation okay, is that it is subtle. I don’t believe the majority of women are out-right mean; however, I have been the recipient of the “oh, never mind…” That’s right! In the middle of a group conversation the speaker verbally (and publicly) excluded me from a conversation about family meal planning with a wave of her hand, before directing her eyeballs to the other ladies. Other separations are more direct and assuming, such as the invitations to get-togethers. After all, “everyone is bringing their kids, and I thought you wouldn’t enjoy.” Personally, I, sometimes, enjoy the company of children over adults.
This unique social separation colored an entire decade of my life until I finally threw up my hands and decided to stop putting up with all of it. If I felt the sting of judgment and/or exclusion, I addressed it—right then. This allowed me to stop sharing my energy with women who sucked mine dry and allowed me to start sharing my energy with women who reciprocated positive energy—both those with and without children of their own. This took some work in the beginning, but I see it as some of my best work now.
Also, reproductive choices aside, I started seeing other judgments between fellow women, even fellow moms. What a bunch of wasted energy! As if we don’t all know that being a woman is difficult enough—now we are going to turn on each other? Our value doesn’t set upon whether or not we chose to have children of our own. Our value is in who we are. What you choose to do with who you are is a gift to the world, but we should respect everyone’s right to share their gifts in their own way. Otherwise, women, what was all the effort toward equal rights, if we were just going to hold each other back anyway?
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