Last Summer I was excited when Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo! as CEO. She was successful, about to take on a huge new job and pregnant. I was in a similar situation. Well, not about ready to make 7 figures and become a CEO, but I was pregnant and about to begin my career. The thought of learning to be a pastor and being seven months pregnant was terrifying. But I remember thinking if Mayer could become the CEO of Yahoo! while pregnant, surely I will be able to juggle my responsibilities as well.
I came across this article today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/02/25/the-new-mommy-wars-column/1947589/.
The CEO of Yahoo! and the COO of Facebook are both working moms and are making life even more difficult for the average working mom. These women should be an example for the rest of the world that moms are brilliant, hardworking, equal creatures. Unfortunately, they are making the life of working women even more challenging. With their bottomless pockets, they can afford nannies and nurseries in their office suites, because their earnings far exceed that of an average worker. Mayer has forbid employees to work from home, but does not offer her employees the same amenities she has provided for herself. These women are also making pretty big sacrifices for their careers. Mayer boasts a 2 week maternity leave. I would venture to say she expects the same from her employees. And I get it. I really do. I know the feeling of missing out in the working world because I am a woman. I know the statistics. I know what it feels like to be turned down for a position because I am a woman. I know all about the pressure of trying to prove I am just as capable as a man.
But women and men are different. Women have a different role in the giving birth process. Our bodies go through an incredible, sacred and beautiful process to bring life into the world. The doctor doesn’t release a woman to return to regular activities until 6 weeks postpartum. And that’s for a regular, uncomplicated birth! That time is also necessary for mother and baby to bond. It is time to establish a rhythm and relationship. Time to get to know a brand new person in your life who is fully and completely dependent on you for their survival.
The average mom does not have the luxury (and maybe not the desire) of having around the clock nannies to care for their little one for the multiple nighttime feedings. The average mom does not have a nursery attached to her cubicle. The average mom has to hand over a chunk of her paycheck to a stranger to care for her baby all day long.
My little one is 4 months old and still waking up 2-4 times a night to feed. It took my body a while to adjust to the sleep deprivation and learn how to cope. It took her and I time to establish a relationship, and part of that is nurtured in the middle of the night. During the day I am fortunate enough to come home and nurse her when she is hungry. I know that women are just as capable as men to be CEOs, surgeons and pastors. In the same breath I also know that mothers need a little flexibility. Women should be able to do whatever they were designed to do in the working world, while still being able to care for the child they were designed to care for.
It would be helpful if the fierce, female CEOs of our world would be a positive role model and source of encouragement to other working moms instead of acting like they have something to prove.
Yesterday marked a new year, a fresh start, a second chance. A whole year lies ahead, a year to be whoever I want to be. I’ve never been one to make resolutions. I know a few people who choose an inspirational word for the year, and that seems like a better idea. I like the idea of having a word guide me through the year.
My word is peace. I want to spend the year cultivating a peaceful spirit. Finding peace will come from learning how to live a more sustainable life. I want to learn ways of spending my time, energy and resources more sustainably. Hence the idea for a series on spending sustainably. I want to be at peace with where I am and where I am going. I want to be at peace in the moment, and in the journey.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
The world that the Israelites lived in was a world of utter darkness. Can you imagine living your life under the rule of a foreign government? The Israelites had lived as slaves, wandered through deserts and experienced great oppression. The Assyrians, who reigned over the Israelites for awhile, kept phenomenal records, and we learn that they were cruel, gruesome rulers. They ate people alive. That isn’t even the worst of it. That is the most delicate image I can give to explain just how awful the Assyrians were.
Recently, we have seen great darkness. The last line in Isaiah 9:2 is sometimes translated as the “darkness of death”. The darkness of death has drawn near to us. We have experienced it as a nation. We have experienced a horror that helps us understand the world of the Israelites. A world of darkness.
But that’s not where the story ends. That’s not where our story ends. Time and time again, the Israelites disobeyed God and ended up as slaves in foreign lands. But God never left them there. God does not abandon his people.
God has sent us light! “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) A baby boy was born in a manger one dark night. The world that baby boy was born into was a dark world, and his parents were living under King Herod, a king who killed members of his own family.
The birth of that baby was light breaking into darkness. That baby overcame sin, death and evil. The child born to us, the gift given to us this Christmas and every day is light in a dark world. A light to follow, a light to lead us, a light to live in. This light shines all around us, and we are invited to live in the light!
When I hear damaging theology, I hurt. I hurt for those who actually believe to their core that God has abandoned us. I hurt for those who hear such a thing and take it as truth. We cannot escort God out of anywhere. God is present. God is here. God is not controlled or manipulated by humans. God does not show up, because God is always with us (immanuel!). Sometimes we don’t feel God near, sometimes it does not look like God is close by, but God is always with us.
We live in a dark and broken world. Some days are more dark than others, and right now it feels especially dark. But God has given us light in the dark. God placed a star in the night’s sky to guide the magi. The shepherds were sent at night to visit the newborn king. God is present, and God has sent us a light to guide our path.
There are a lot of reasons and ideas floating around. I just want you to know that God is with you. God is present. God loves you. God has light for us in this time of darkness.