Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Misconception.

Misconceptions. They stink. I can see how misconceptions follow us from the time we're born, whether we're misjudged by the sound of our cry as infants, misunderstood as children, or misread as angst-ridden teens. I've found that being a young adult also has its fair share of misconceptions, stemming from the choices we make that allow others to place us squarely into whichever stereotype they deem fit. It's perfectly frustrating.

Like, say, the stereotype of the young married couple with children. This is a fun one. One moment we're hip young college students with the world at our fingertips, and the next we're trapped in the bonds of marriage with spit-up on our shirts and babies on our hips. Our peers who scoff at being married in their twenties turn up their chins and point and laugh because OH MY WORD, we are the group that has gone from cool to lame in a matter of a few years by taking the bait that marriage is the next natural step in life after college, and that kids are the natural step after that.

We're SUCKERS.

This choice has not only greatly limited our futures, but it has also rendered our intellects useless. We are suddenly lumped together as the ones who could have gone to grad school and had good careers, but instead chose to pledge commitment to our spouses in the boring bonds of marriage and then promptly reproduce to make up for the zing that fizzles after marriage grows stale. The worst of us actually choose to stay home with our offspring, foregoing the finer things in life by losing one income and spending the day up to our armpits in dirty diapers. And then our peers who do not understand our choices simply shake their heads and sigh. All that potential. Wasted.

I don't care how many times Oprah declares that being a Mom is the best job in the world (to keep her ratings up, perhaps?). We are still viewed as naive. Unintelligent. Ignorant.

I would like to assert that perhaps these assumptions are a bit untrue. Becoming a wife did not strip me of my sex appeal. Just my single status. Birthing a child did not cause my IQ to drop. My boobs, perhaps, but not my IQ. If it is the challenges in life that cause us to become better people, then being a wife and a mom must catapult us to realms of greatness unknown. My husband brings out the absolute worst in me, no doubt. My frustration with him can cause my blood to heat to boiling. But the act of digging in my heels and fighting it out until it's right again takes work. Hard work. Work that pays off. And having two babies who cry and get hurt and push me to my limits at times might bring tears to my eyes, but I don't get to quit. I don't get to clock out at five. I figure out how to make it work, for all of us, and we push through until bedtime. And I'm on-call after that. I not only figure out how to survive, I figure out how to do parenting well. I figure out how to turn those moments into exceptional ones, where the joy is overflowing. And I end the day loving my husband.

I don't think that makes me a sucker.

I think that makes me strong.

13 comments:

  1. Being single, never married, and no children I have to say I understand what you're saying. However, for me, for my friends who have chosen this path I've never thought it's a waste. They simply realize that there is no more important job then that of being there and being present. For my friends who work outside the home and juggle, I respect them too.
    You are so correct, misconceptions stink!! I guess this is where the love and grace parts of life come in :)

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  2. I finally read blogs again this morning!!! and how perfect because I definitely feel "misconceived" now that I'm a mom, especially of two. It's crazy (and ignorant) that people just assume things about you and never take the time to really ask questions and talk. thanks for writing about this!

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  3. I liked the whole post, but the best part was the line about your boobs dropping. Love the honesty. ;)

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  4. Hi Katie! I've been following your blog for awhile but not sure if I've commented in the past? I just wanted to say that I loved this post so much. As one of the first out of my social network to get married and the first to have a baby, I can so relate to this. I just don't understand why it's assumed that our intelligence drops once we stop working outside the home. I, for one, know that I hardly used ANY of my intelligence when I was punching in at my corporate job back in the day.

    Really appreciated you sticking up for all of us! :)

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  5. Katie, you are amazing! And I agree--it does make you strong.

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  6. Good word, friend! I really struggle with this concept since I did go to graduate school and then begin a career. I can't help but feel that some of the people who invested in me along the way and saw my potential are disappointed that I am taking a break (who knows how long the break will be!) to stay home. That was some much-needed affirmation that I am still smart, capable, etc. as a stay at home mom, and perhaps even more so than I ever was before!

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  7. You ARE strong! I've learned to not listen or care what others think. Confidence is key.

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  8. Amazing post! So true, and thanks for the reminder and the challenge to fall prey to the stereotype and become just that... love your honesty and humor.

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  9. Fantastic post! My friend Gretchen posted the link on FB and I just had to see what it was about. So glad I did. You put the whole struggle so well; especially that last paragraph!

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