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The Great Gender-role Conundrum

In a world that views success in dollars earned, motherhood doesn't register high on the “success” list. Even lower on the list is fatherhood.

I attended a retirement party where the soon-to-be-retiree was hailed as a man who spent 80 plus hours a week plugging away in his office—he was hailed as absolutely dedicated to his work.

The irony of it all was that this man worked for an organization that was largely ineffective in what it wanted to do. I had to wonder if his time wouldn't have been better spent elsewhere.

We hear all the time how motherhood is under attack. Well, that’s nothing new. From the moment mankind was old enough to record its story, Eve has been a villain relegated to the role of child-bearing as a way to pay for her treacherous bite of the forbidden fruit.

The Victorian role for woman included all those tiresome things the man didn't have time in his important day to do, which usually meant anything to do with children…or curtains. Even then, some women found escape from child rearing through nannies and nurses so they could attend to the social requirements of the day.

It’s easy to see then how modern women might bristle when told their role is in the home, especially by a group (namely men) who don’t seem willing to do it themselves despite all the lip service (which starts to feel like propaganda) they pay to the importance of mothers and children.

Yet many women still choose to have children, to raise them, and even find joy and fulfillment in it. How confusing is our world!

I started marriage and motherhood rather late in life, so the feelings of my first baby forming in my womb was a blessing I’d considered I’d never have.

There were some days it felt less like a blessing—nausea, bloating, fatigue—and more like the curse our ancestors seemed to think was Eve’s due. Add that to the extreme pain of natural childbirth and it makes it easy to wrap our mind around the mythos that twisted traditions built up around our first mother.

But these are things of this world explained away by mortals to understand things they clearly cannot.

The movement of a baby in the womb is sublime. The power to create and/or foster life is understated and certainly undervalued in many cultures. It seems to have been orchestrated over the millennia to become so—for both mothers and fathers.

God’s name of choice has to do with his parentage—no cliché intended. He didn't ask us to call him Most Omniscient One or CEO of the Universe, he asks us to call him, Heavenly Father. His name doesn't measure His omnipotence, it measures His creative potential.

I don’t pretend to understand the confusion surrounding gender roles in the world as we know it, but I personally do not feel minimized because my husband has powers to contribute that I currently do not.

On the contrary, I am glad he has things that only he can give as well. It equalizes the responsibility men and women have for the family and ties men to the home in a way faulty traditions have tried to erase. Dare I say, it “feminizes” the men—something Christ, who compared himself to a mother hen, was not afraid to do.

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