I am reading a very thought-provoking book right now. Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World by Peggy Orenstein is based on 200 interviews with women between the ages of 20 and 45 about the choices that they are making in a world only half changed by feminism.
While these women have so many more opportunities than women did three decades ago, they are still very conflicted when it comes to navigating the myriad of decisions around career and family life.
When to get married and have kids, how to move forward in their careers while making time for their families, how to “share” household and child care with busy working husbands…or even not to have kids and just focus on career. And some moms decide to stay home with young children but feel left behind and misunderstood by a world focused on achievement.
One issue with this book is that it only focuses on a small sub-culture: white, highly educated, heterosexual, middle to upper class women. The other thing that was missing for me was an exploration of the bigger picture. Why is our culture so focused on achievement and money at all costs? What would change if feminine power was acknowledged instead of women being expected to operate the same way a man would? Would our world be kinder and less violent?
Flux is a fascinating read because it offers intimate glimpses into the women’s lives and stories. Orenstein doesn’t try to come up with any solutions, but does suggest that equality would be better served by men taking on more child-raising and household tasks and work environments being more family-friendly.
I know that there isn’t one way that will work for every woman and her family. I have found that when we listen deeply to our hearts and inner wisdom (rather than what society tells us we should be doing) we will always find the answer.
How do you make choices in your own life around career and family?