The 2018 election achieved the height of female empowerment as women of all backgrounds gained seats in the nation’s legislatures.
Young mothers made up a sizeable chunk of this group. In the U.S. Congress, the number of young moms “nearly doubled” with the influx of the new recruits.
But Congress isn’t the only governing body to add working moms to its ranks. Local governing bodies added them as well.
Sarah Stankorb falls into this latter group, and as she explains in a recent article for The Washington Post, the lessons for her kids couldn’t be better. They’re sitting through committee meetings. They’re expanding their vocabulary. They’re seeing how flexible their father is as he covers for mom.
Stankorb’s gushing, however, is reminiscent of a certain passage from Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Describing women’s lives under the modern feminist mentality, Bloom notes:
Women are pleased by their successes, their new opportunities, their agenda, their moral superiority. But underneath everything lies the more or less conscious awareness that they are still dual beings by nature, capable of doing most things men do and also wanting to have children. They may hope otherwise, but they fully expect to pursue careers, to have to pursue careers, while caring for children alone. And what they expect and plan for is likely to happen.
Thus, despite the rise of the female and her wild success, women still have an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. They feel pressure to perform and maintain a successful career, but they also have a deep desire to have children and take care of the home.
As it turns out, their children may have the same secret wish for them. Despite Stankorb’s justification of all the lessons her children are learning through her new political career, her children have a slightly different take on things:
‘I hope you get impeached,’ my 6-year-old daughter told me from the back seat as I navigated our small-town Ohio streets, late for school drop-off. We’d missed the bus. I had a meeting starting in 10 minutes across town.
‘Impeached!?’ I responded.
The kids busted up laughing, but then my daughter teased. ‘Yes. Then you’d have less meetings. You have too many meetings.’
It’s a lighthearted moment, but it reveals a lot. Stankorb’s kids are impressed by her position and know her work is important, but deep down, they really just want their mom to be there for them.
I wonder how many other families have the same issue? How many women would be perfectly content to be at home, cooking meals and herding children, but feel they are unworthy unless they jump into the workforce, or politics, or some other type of breadwinning role — anything but the role of wife and mother?
We live in an age of female empowerment. A female empowerment that says women can be anything they want to be. Is it time to realize that it’s okay for women to want to be wives and mothers… and that many of their children would be happy if they chose that role as well?
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Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.