By Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M. Ed
In Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, she spoke about her desires of being an independent career woman as well as the need for finding a balance between being a wife and a mother. In addition, she spoke about her love for Mary Tyler Moore from the Mary Tyler Moore show, and her role on the show as an unmarried independent career woman who did not have to depend on any man to take care of her.
In the book, Obama states, “If you were a girl with a brain and a dawning sense that you wanted to grow into something more than a wife, Mary Tyler Moore was your goddess.” Back in the day, the role of the woman was homemaker. The person who stayed home, prepared meals, did the laundry, and took care of the kids. There are women who stay at home and continue that role, which is great, but it is their choice too, it is no longer an expectation.
In today’s society, there are a lot of women who are doing more than just being a wife and a mother but are going to school and pursuing careers. If you are anything like me, then you are doing all of them. I am a wife, a mom, I go to school, I write for the newspaper and I work full time.
I have been criticized for my different roles and have been told, “you’re doing too much,” or “you should just focus on being a mother and enjoying motherhood.” The one thing you can always guarantee people to have, is an opinion. Even when you don’t ask for it. My question to those who have criticized women for doing more than just being a wife and a mother is why not?
In this society we have gender roles, and Planned Parenthood had defined gender roles as a means of, “how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex.”
Planned Parenthood further breaks down “four basic kinds of gender stereotypes such as personality traits, domestic behaviors, occupations and physical appearance.” Gender roles are taught and have been instilled in us since birth.
Why can’t a woman have multiple roles? She can, because women are superheroes. As a woman, I have learned that we find a way to manage and maintain that “balance.” We do what we have to do. We take care of our households and still maintain our careers, interests and passions. We may not be perfect, and we may make mistakes sometimes, but we do our best.
So much falls on the woman and our expected “roles.” However, I encourage women to continue to break those barriers and do what makes them happy. If they want to stay home, they have the right to, and if they want to work and pursue other things, they can do that as well. Women are superheroes. We can do it all.
“Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can go meet, and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.”-Amitabh Bachchan