Discerning Purpose

I have been working through a book called Generation WTF: From !@#$% to Fearless, Tenacious, and Wise, which is a book that is skyrocketting up my recommendation list. The first chapter is all about discovering your purpose in life, based upon what you value, and the life you want to live, and I have discovered that there is a certain happiness in knowing your purpose and living it out.

What is my purpose, you ask?

My purpose on a daily basis has been to be a mother to baby Rocketship, and a partner to my husband, taking on the majority of the homemaking tasks.

This of course isn’t my only purpose — I would not be starting graduate school in the fall if this were the case — and it is a purpose I can say that I chose freely and with an open heart. However, being a mother, being a wife and a homemaker did not used to bring me happiness.

I fought those purposes tooth and nail, and it brought me a lot of angst. They were, after all, life paths that my feminist forebearers had slogged without much joy, and had worked tirelessly to lampoon and deconstruct. They worked hard to give me options, option which included not marrying, and not bearing children — but it seems that our feminist discussion labels those who choose marriage and to bear children as less than feminist, thus limiting options.

I am writing from a place of privilege. My socioeconomic class is populated by males who have not been incarcerated at alarming rates; they have college educations and jobs, both which bode well for a sound marriage. For many, marriage is not a viable option, and marriage may even limit their access to essential services like Medicare and Medicaid. I have access to birth control, and in the case of accidental conception, I have a choice between an abortion funded by employer-provided health care and prenatal care to carry the fetus to term. I can afford non-familial child care. For many women, reproductive justice like this simply does not exist.

But, because I am privileged, I have a real and true choice to marry, and to have children. The result of this real and true choice? I chose yes. But in choosing yes, I have felt like less than a feminist for perhaps the last half decade (I can’t believe I am old enough to write that). I have resisted the roles that I have taken on, and been unhappy for it.

I am happy to be a mom and partner, and a homemaker this summer. I am happy to have them as my only roles as I try to become more emotionally stable before school begins. There is nothing wrong with being happy, nothing wrong with a choice fully chosen. After all, there is a certain simplicity and triumph of achievement in a sleeping baby and a dinner on the table at the end of the day. But, importantly, they are not my only roles.

There is still justice to seek — both economic and social, as well as reproductive. Seeking those justices is my other purpose, one that I am willing to sacrifice much for.

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