I am the son my father never had. That is not to say I was ever confused about my gender or that I did not want to be female. What I know is that from a very young age, I could do whatever the boys could do. From participating in traditional sports and other outdoor activities to earning my Ph.D, I could do it all… and did.
To this day, many people believe in the “Me Tarzan, you Jane,” archetype, which portrays women as submissive, compliant, and obedient in their roles as mothers, daughters and wives. As a result, my generation, as well as many young women today, still think it is essential for women to be full-time stay-at-home mothers while raising children. I reject that notion. Women can have it all in their pursuit of equality. Yet equal power commands equal responsibility.
While it may be surprising to some, research does not support the widely held belief that full-time homemakers are better parents than those who are employed in the work force. Depending on a woman’s job satisfaction along with the degree of support she receives with household chores and childcare, women who contribute significantly to the family income report higher self-esteem and power in the decision-making process than do full-time homemakers.
In the end, it’s not about the gender that determines the quality of the parenting. Nor is it the amount of time parents spend with their children that matters. It’s more about the quality of time spent. When I was a wife and mother of two children, I could not and would not adopt the traditional role of a stay-at-home mom. In spite of criticism from family members, friends and society, I knew I had another role to fulfill as well. Pursuing a higher education degree and a career was the right choice for me. As my husband and children learned how to contribute to the household, life became easier and more fulfilling for us all.