Today marks a new beginning in the Salas household worthy of an update. Yesterday I left my job of 2 1/2 years to become a stay at home parent. Whoa. This is pretty much uncharted territory for me (with the exception of my 12 week maternity leave I took 4 1/2 years ago). Ever since Matthias was born, I have always been a working mom. And before marrying my husband Angel, I was a single working mom at that. To be honest, this change is one of necessity, relief, and tension all rolled into one unkempt ball of mercurial mass.
It’s almost comedic.
Anyone that has had more than three conversations with me will soon realize that I am passionate about equality for women primarily within the context of the American Christian Church. There are so many Christians that have taken the scriptures out of their proper historical-cultural context and walked away with this twisted idea that we all need to fit in a neat and tidy box according to our gender. Many of our churches have made clear that everyone needs to be certain that they play their “role” whether it be in marriage or in the structure of ministry. And we have summoned the women that their highest calling is to achieve June Cleaver status.
For years I struggled combating this complex that the church puts on women, because try as I might I could never shoehorn myself into this restrictive round hole that wasn’t made for this square peg . But after years of being an independent, self-sufficient, headstrong woman that never thought I would see SAHM on my resume — here I am. Although I know this is the best decision for our family, in retrospect, it disgusts me that I had even a momentary feeling of disdain drizzled with fear about what the next year would look like.
In the fight for equality, I feel we sometimes inadvertently equate bad theology to bad women. Just because we are no longer bound to a subversive lifestyle doesn’t mean that choosing what the mainstream would call “traditional gender roles” calls for shunning. And vice versa. This goes beyond “mommy wars”. We are always going to be better together. In these instances when we think this way, we become a house divided against itself. Life is never so tidy or so black and white that we can compartmentalize every facet so neatly on the shelf. Life is too messy for that. This is a stereotype that we women need to crush if we truly do believe in Egalitarianism.
Meanwhile I find myself a counter stereotype at the moment and am laughing at the irony of it all. Today as I whisked our joy, Matthias to his first day of Pre-K, I thought about all the new beginnings he was about to walk into over the course of this school year. It never occurred to me that I was about to walk into one of my own. My resolve is to get comfortable with what is uncomfortable and revel in this opportunity to take my son to new heights this school year and am anxious to see him through till the end.
Until then, pass the broom.