Soapbox Thursday


Monday morning, I was on my way to Practicum, listening to the radio. Normally, I listen to CDs or my iPod because commercials bug the mess out of me. I think I wasn’t fully awake yet, because the morning talk show was on and I didn’t immediately switch stations.

The talk show hosts (DJs? Personalities? Guests?) were discussing the latest celebrity gossip, which included Carrie Underwood’s “shocking announcement” that no matter how successful she has been in her career, if her husband, NHL player Mike Fisher, were to ask her to give up her career to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, she would do it.

[That was a hell of a run-on.]

This was where my ears really perked up. The talk show hosts got an interesting discussion going, and even took callers’ responses to this news. A couple things about this announcement had me a little hot and bothered. I try to refrain from soapboxes on the blog, but this is something I just need to write about.

First of all, Carrie Underwood was Miss If-You-Cheat-I’ll-Slash-Your-Tires well before she became Mrs. Mike Fisher. What happened to her independent, strong-willed persona? I understand that getting married and sharing your life with someone change certain things about a person, but can values not stand true? Maybe it was all a façade; I sure as hell bought into it. Or maybe she’s burnt out on singing about her hatred for disloyal scumbags.

Who knows?

Second, the part about Carrie’s husband [hypothetically] telling her to give up her career gets me. Umm… what? I commended the DJs for reading the announcement correctly and saying “telling.” This was where my inner feminist raged. The show hosts went on to read, “‘If Mike ever told me he needed me to quit, I’d quit. When you make that promise to somebody, and you stand before God and your family and friends, you’ve got to do everything that you possibly can to make that work.’”

Maybe, just maybe, she’s considered the possibility of foregoing microphones for motherhood before her husband would ask such a thing of her. I’m not convinced.

This isn’t the Stone Age. I’m a firm believer in women being able to do it all – have children and raise them, and have successful careers. However, not being either a wife or mother myself, I don’t yet understand how difficult or precarious this balancing act can be. That’s why right now I can be like, Carrie, don’t let no man tell you what to do with your body or your career!

Third, I highly respected the discussion the show’s hosts were having about one partner in a couple giving up her (or his) career – or at least putting it on hold – in order to raise children in the home. Being that I don’t listen to morning talk shows unless some atrocity has happened to my stereo system and the radio is stuck on one station, I wasn’t aware that at least one of the talk show hosts is a gay man.

Prior to this announcement, he and his partner had already discussed their stance on career vs. parenting: they are in agreement that while they would like one parent to be raising the children in the home, neither partner should have to give up his career to be a stay-at-home parent. Both partners have successful careers, one as a well-known radio personality and the other as a physician. I arrived at my destination before the female talk show host was able to express her opinion about Carrie’s announcement, but I would have liked to have heard her take and her stance.

I tried to let it go and talk myself out of blogging about it, but it’s been stuck in my head all week.

This five-minute blip got me thinking about how to most calmly blog about the subject, hence why I’ve been MIA since Sunday. Ian and I are 18 months – to the day, actually 😉 – away from our wedding, and even further away from considering little Ians and A.K.s running around. I’m shuddering. Nevertheless, a discussion we’ve had many times about kids is how we will manage parenting and our careers. For neither of us will this be a mandated career or stay-at-home-parent decision.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “I haven’t spent four years in undergrad and three years earning my Master’s just to make babies!” but Ian can quote it verbatim. I also know for a fact that he won’t have spent four years slaving through Chemistry and Biology classes at HSC, plus four years of medical school, and then three years of residency, to stay home with our kids. By the sheer nature of his career field, he will be the primary breadwinner in our household. Though I intend to be a damn good counselor 😉

Please note: my personal convictions about my career and Ian’s and my future decisions with regard to parenting are not in any way meant to be disparaging toward those men and women who are fortunate enough to be stay-at-home parents. My mother, who is without a doubt one of the best people I know, was able to be a stay-at-home mom for my sister and me – something on which both of my parents agreed, not something which my father told her or expected her to do. As such, she was able to be a Room Parent, chaperone field trips, participate on Field Day, volunteer for Prom Committee, serve on parents’ boards, and even come eat lunch with me at school. But she put her career aside and became a stay-at-home parent because she wanted to do this.

Please also note: to all those parents out there who are working to support a family so that the other parent can raise the children in the home, props to you for being a dedicated and hard-working parent. I experienced firsthand the benefits and the pleasure of always having a parent at home. My dad is one such parent who has singlehandedly supported my family for twenty-five years so my mom could dedicate herself to raising my sister and me at home. This was a decision my parents reached together, and my mom chose to forego her career as a college-educated music teacher (on her way to earning a Master’s, I might add) in favor of parenting.

In complete honesty, I think this issue only has me so hot under the collar because Carrie Underwood and her husband are famous – Carrie, for singing about the very opposite of the subject of her announcement. I do love irony.

I could probably write about this subject for days, so I’ll stop myself before I get even more long-winded and soap-boxy… If you’re still reading, thanks for bearing with me. I’m certain that not everyone will agree with me, and in fact, I welcome your comments and opinions!

Happy Thursday, blendy-blends!


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