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A Shared Responsibility: Responding to “Why Women Can’t Still Have It All”

After seeing many friends repost this article I figured I would take advantage of a slow work week and read through it myself. Rather than discuss feminism in solely female-oriented terms (I will leave that to women to do since I cannot fully relate, though I am empathetic), I am looking to focus on one particular piece of the article that I related to: getting more men involved in parenting. This should not be understood as saying men have not been involved with raising children until this century or something equally ludicrous. What I do believe is changing and needs to continue is that more men are recognizing the need to share in child-rearing and sacrifice like their partners have. Such sacrifices, which are familiar to me given my upbringing in a dual-income household where my dad in many ways was the primary caregiver, are topics that a lot of close male friends discuss when we are out. Notably, many of us express a deep desire to be present in our future children’s lives and being ok with the idea of assuming some traditionally female-associated roles in the household, e.g. watching the kids when our partners have to work, taking our kids to their activities, cleaning, cooking, etc. Do I feel like this is representative of the majority of men currently – absolutely not; I think most men (and women) still want traditional gender roles to stay in place. Like the author of this article, I have confronted the weird looks of peers when I admit to wanting to be active in the upbringing of my future children and potentially sacrificing career advancement for the sake of family. It is almost as if as a mid-twenty something male that I should be resistant to those ideas and never let anything get in the way of achieving more in life. Such thinking is foreign to me considering I have seen my own father achieve a lot in his life and remain active in civic life even while taking care of three children. The man was the one taking us to sports practices, driving us to camping trips with Boy Scouts several weekends a month, and often the one cooking dinner at night. Additionally, I think it is equally ridiculous to pressure females into being mothers; once again I turn to my family where my mother (I know she loves my siblings and I) I do not believe really wants to be one at times. With being away from home for some time now and able to be more of an observer to my family, many of her actions indicate this feeling that I hold. I also see it in other females I know, who seem so unhappy being socialized to believe this is their purpose in life and become bewildered when their children leave the house. I recognize some of this may come off as biased; it is, but it is my experience with the topics brought up in this article. Like anything else in life, one has choices to make and with them come consequences/sacrifices/new opportunities – that is a fact and to deny it is naive. I would also add that “having it all” is totally subjective and is possible if one is at peace with the choices they make in life.

Salams for now. 

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