Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

Opening my mind

with 5 comments

Side note: This blog is not meant to be anonymous, yet at the same time I hesitate to be unabashedly obvious about who I am and what school I go to. It is not hard to figure it out but I don’t yet feel comfortable explicitly spelling out certain details. I also don’t want people googling my school, or my past undergrad, and finding my blog that way. Something about that seems strange and undesirable. So my occasional side stepping around outright saying things are not my trying to hide things altogether, but merely to deflect away the attention of search engines and such.

The speaker at my boyfriend’s graduation, (a former president by name of Bill), was, unsurprisingly, a very good graduation speaker. There were many points worth remembering, but the one on my mind right now is how we tend to surround ourselves with people who think the way we do. There is so much information on the internet and so many different opinions, and yet we all have our circles that we travel in and we only expose ourselves to a small fraction of what’s out there.

I am acutely aware that I do this, and occasionally I will venture out and try to understand why other people think the way they do. So I understand, for example, why some people are so against the idea of universal health care, and that it simply stems from a very different set of core values than mine.

The other day I came across, via twitter, the blog of a young woman, a senior at a Christian University, and couldn’t help but read all her archives (~1.5yrs of posts) in fascination at how different we are and yet, she’s not a bad person. She seems, in fact, to be a very nice, caring person. But we are so, very, very different, and it is a good thing to remember that difference does not equal bad. I would hesitate to call myself a feminist, but I believe in a woman’s right to choose, and no, not just to choose whether to have an abortion, but to choose what path her life will take. To marry or not, to work or not, to have children or not. This other woman believes quite differently. She believes that education, even up to college, is valuable, but that ultimately, a woman’s place is in the home, raising her children and taking care of her household. She believes in homeschooling, and she thinks that birth control is on par with abortion because they’re both about not wanting children that God wants you to have. She is distraught that she has recently broken up with the young man she thought she would marry, and now will have to work after she graduates because she is more conservative than her parents (how does this happen?) and they would not be happy with her returning home and waiting till she finds a husband. She is vehemently anti-feminist.

Which then led me to read a bit about the anti-feminist movement, but at that point I’d had enough of reading the opinions of people who disagreed with my life plan. I read just enough to see that they did believe that some women are “called” to work (for example, it is good to have female doctors) but in that case, they then shouldn’t be mothers.

It greatly offends me to be told that because I am a woman who wants a career, I shouldn’t have children. The first time I heard anything like that was actually from a very good college friend of mine. She believed that if you want children, you should stay at home to raise them. I’m not sure if she still feels that way (she herself did not want children and did want a career, and had a stay at home mother); I was very upset the first time and just never brought it up again. In general, I’ve found that those who had stay at home mothers are the strongest supporters for them and against working mothers, but as the child of a working mother, I will say that I felt very loved and well cared for and honestly never thought twice about the whole working mother vs stay at home mother thing until college. I think that it’s great if a family can afford for one parent to stay at home, if they want to, but I don’t think it’s necessary for the raising of happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

So it upsets me on two levels. 1) I believe that both parents can work and still raise children well, and 2) It doesn’t have to be the woman who stays at home.

I have no delusions that as a woman, I can truly “have it all.” There will be sacrifices, but I think my mother has done a good job of letting me know that it will be hard, yet that it is do-able to find a balance that does right by your family.

And this is why it is so much easier to stick to the circles of people who agree with you. Being disagreed with, especially when it is personal, is upsetting, and it can feel like you’re being attacked. Still, I am glad that I read that girl’s blog, that I got to see her as a person and not just as some evil person who thinks that my life plans are wrong.

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Written by Aba

May 29, 2010 at 12:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Being friends with people who disagree with you is really hard, but I have always found those relationships to be really substantial. One of my best friends EVER is vegan, super liberal, and agnostic–none of which I am. However, she’s able to support me in ways that many of my conservative, Christian friends cannot. It’s strange, I guess, but I don’t mind getting into political or religious discussions with her, either. We’re friends. *shrugs*

    Also, to the stay at home mom thing: I say more power to the woman who wants to do that. That is in no way something that appeals to me (right now, at least…maybe when I have a kid it will be significantly different). Having someone home with kids, though, is really important to John. When we were dating, I told him that under no uncertain circumstances would I be staying home with any kids we might have, and he wholeheartedly agreed that since that was something *he* felt strongly about, it was a job *he* was willing to do.

    dorianagraye

    June 1, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    • That’s really cool that you not only have a vegan, etc best friend, but that you can discuss those topics with her without jeopardizing your friendship. 🙂 I’m very conflict averse and don’t like arguing/debating very much. I guess many of these discussions can be had civilly, but I’ve yet to experience it. Best I’ve done is have a several day long discussion on the existence of free will with a friend, and humbly lost (conclusion: there isn’t, but there is still randomness in the world. I was not happy with this conclusion ^^).

      And I think it’s great that John’s willing to stay at home. I don’t see that opinion too often, men who think it’s important to have a partner at home, but who don’t think it has to be the woman (usually when I see it happen, it’s because staying at home is financial decision and the woman makes more than the man so it makes financial sense for him to stop working). I think staying at home is a perfectly legitimate career choice, but I think of it as a career choice, because it really is a job and just as it bothers me when people think all women should stay at home, it bothers me when people don’t respect staying at home as a job.

      Aba

      June 2, 2010 at 10:55 am

      • Agreed. I think that being a stay at home mom (or dad) really is a career…it’s just a “family” career. They work just as hard as the spouse who works corporately, no lie. There’s nothing degrading about it, and I think it’s criminal that people would make someone feel worthless because they made that choice. In the same way, I certainly don’t agree that you can’t have two working parents and a perfectly stable family.

        I also think that most stay at home dads are that because of finances. I sort of feel like some people feel that moms should stay home with kids because that’s their calling in life (which just goes to show how far women’s rights still has to go).

        dorianagraye

        June 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  2. There’s an old saying I rather like – Algerian or Berber (or both) I think – that goes something like “Better a wise enemy than a foolish friend.”

    It’s more or less how I view things – I’d rather put up with somebody who disagree with me but is willing to have a honest discussion on the topic and to accept that divergent point of view aren’t some heresy, than to deal with people who agree with me but would consider me a complete and monstrous heretic otherwise. With some exceptions, of course; I have my blind spots.

    (And being a stay at home parent is definitely a career. Those who say otherwise haven’t met my mom)

    Guillaume

    June 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    • That’s a nice saying. 🙂

      Aba

      June 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm


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