It’s Tough to Be a Woman
At least, it is my impression that it’s tough. Culture bombards our women with constant images of what they should look like and how they should be able to effortlessly juggle multiple roles. Implicitly stating that the identity of womanhood is found in these things. Messages reinforced in every grocery store aisle and TV commercial and sitcom.
Yet, most of the woman that I observe are fighting an added set of cultural expectations having to do with motherhood.
It’s apparently not good enough to be a mom in our culture, a woman has to be a superhero.
So, the woman who desires to stay home fights the battle of not being a producer. In our culture, identity is so wrapped up in what you do that motherhood becomes a challenge to a woman’s value. Worth and significance are attributed to things outside the home.
Women who have made the commitment to stay home are looked down on as not pulling their weight.
But the messages against a woman’s identity are contradictory. Mother’s who make the legitimate choice, either out of necessity or desire, to work face a shame of their own. It is somehow supposed that these women are neglecting their household, kids, and husband. Another attack on identity from a different direction.
In either event, whether staying home or working outside of it, how the kids behave, at what age they read, how many activities they participate in are all deemed to be reflections on a woman’s worth as a mother. More negative answers to the question “what do you do”?
Our women are literally attacked from every side with unattainable expectations. They are to be model pretty; cooking Martha Stewart meals; moving up the corporate ladder; keeping their husbands happy with wild sex moves (thanks Cosmo); and taking responsibility for their kids behavior.
If a woman’s identity is in any one of those things, the opportunity to not meet expectations and be open to shame is great – not to mention if a woman is trying to seek their significance in all of the above.
There is an antidote to the identity game. His name is Jesus. Centering your life in Christ and making Him your identity allows all of the other things to be treated as roles. Roles that are ministry. Roles in which a woman is free to love and serve without fear of losing value – because value is found in Christ alone.
This was the message of Jesus to Martha when He said Mary had chosen what was better. Jesus was not denigrating motherhood, careers, cleanliness of the house, hospitality, or any other roles. He was simply stating that they would not bear the weight of being an identity – a source of worth or significance.
What role is hardest for women to not place the weight of identity?