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Friday, October 14, 2011

Real Women Don't Pump Gas:They Can Afford to Pay for Full Service

     This was one of my ideas about what defined  a "real woman" in the 80s. Real women were not only financially independent but could afford to pamper themselves. We didn't need a man to provide for us or wait for him to give us nice things or take us nice places. I still like that idea and desire it for my daughters, although I let go of it when I finally had a child at age 30. I should say that I chose to give it up to be a stay-at-home, full-time mom. The key point is that I chose it.
    The political progression from changing my voter registration to Republican in 1984 to joining the Tea Party movement in 2009 not only tells a story of a liberal becoming a conservative. It is also the story of a woman very much a part of the women's liberation movement growing in her understanding of women's issues,  and significantly redefining what "a real woman" is, should be, and could be in her own mind, heart, and how she lives her life. It probably goes without saying that I grew to love Ronald Reagan after finally voting for him in when he ran for a second term. I remember feeling very proud to be an American during those years and also feeling safe. We had a strong president who stood up for us on the world stage. We were treated with respect and the world had a healthy fear of the consequences of  provoking America as long as he was in office. I even grew to admire the relationship between him and Nancy, and today believe that every woman should experience being cherished by their husband as she was. Why did I ever look on that with contempt? I was told that liberated women should and I got in line. I was wrong.
   I have always been interested in current events, but my frustration with the liberal news media and love-hate relationship with the TV kept me from being the news junky that I am today. When I stumbled across FOX News only 6 years ago I knew that I had found a home. But in 1991 when Anita Hill  accused Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings I was in a very different place than I was in the 80s. I was married, I had moved to rural Western Maryland and was doing freelance editing at home, I had joined the Mennonite Church in 1989 (a relatively modern congregation), I had a miracle baby in 1990,  and I was stuck with CNN with a very unreliable satellite connection. I found the willingness of the left and the liberal media to publicly drag this man through the mud based on the accusation and flimsy evidence of one woman deplorable. He was accused of "making sexually provocative statements" to her in the workplace environment. The left habitually accuses the right of racism, but when they get behind a black conservative they try to destroy the black individual who dares to be conservative. He wasn't accused of touching her or of any lewd or unwanted acts. He was accused of inappropriate conversation. What I knew from working in a male dominated work environment is this: inappropriate conversation from men is directly proportionate to the woman's tolerance of and participation in this kind of conversation. Even in the 70s when I was the only woman electronic technician in the lab it was up to me to set the tone. I would not tolerate any personal comments about my sexuality or their thoughts or desires concerning me. Not even a hint. Not even joking. On the other hand, when they talked sometimes inappropriately about women, their sexcapades (real or imagined), their girlfriends or wives, I chose to ignore it, walk away from it, and sometimes even laugh at it. I didn' t think it was my mission in life to make these men into saints or make any demands on them to change their culture of which I was a new member. My only expectation was for them to treat me personally with respect. I also knew women and still do that could make Bill Clinton blush with their "colorful" conversation inside and outside of the workplace. This was an obvious attempt to block a conservative from appointment to the Supreme Court and they were willing to destroy a man's reputation and career in order to achieve that goal. This ordeal opened my eyes to the hypocracy of the left and for the first time I had no doubts about being a Republican and I regretted that I was ever aligned with the women's movement. They used Anita Hill. They used a real-life women's issue  in a twisted attempt to destroy a man for political purposes. Compare this to what Bill Clinton later did (took advantage of his position to get oral sex from a younger inexperienced woman who admired him, the acts of sexual harassment of Paula Jones and others, and numerous affairs), Hillary's complete acceptance, and NOW's silence and the hypocracy becomes undeniable. That was a defining moment in my journey into Conservative politics.
   Back to real women don't pump gas because they can afford full service. I mentioned that I gave up that mindset after giving birth to my daughter. When her father and I were dating, I was insulted when he praised a woman that worked in the inner-city mission that we had started because she made curtains out of used sheets and lavish meals out of next to nothing. I was still in the mindset that if she was a real woman, like me (the arrogance!), she would be able to buy new curtains and take the family out to dinner! They were poor and went without basics and yet she wouldn't get a job. I didn't understand that she wanted to raise her daughter herself and was willing to sacrifice material things and even a little of her own dignity to be able to stay at home and be a full-time mother. I didn't say that out loud and I pretended not to judge her, but I had those thoughts. I later experienced the degrading looks and comments of "successful" women when I made that same decision in 1990. Liberal women talk about choice but judge you harshly when you dare to choose something outside of the liberal box labeled womanhood. You suddenly lose your status as a woman of value and are demoted to a weak-willed disgrace to the female race. I was a part of it and then I experienced it for myself and I think it's a shame.
   It took me six years of endless tests and surgeries (and many tearful nights in prayer) before I became pregnant with my daughter. This was after the god of John Hopkins University Hospital declared that I would never conceive and that it was physically impossible. They also said that if by some miracle that I did conceive that I would never carry it to full-term and would not even discuss in-vitro fertilization. I was the saddest woman that you'd ever want to meet. My sister had two children and wanted my life and all I wanted to be was a mother. I gave up and accepted that I would be childless, but I had lost my joy in the process. That was until I came upon this scripture Psalm 113:9~
He maketh the barren woman to keep house,
and to be a joyful mother of children.
Praise ye the Lord.              

Now I'm not saying that every barren woman should latch onto this scripture and they will have a baby. I only know that when I saw it I knew without a doubt in my spirit that it was for me and maybe two months later I was pregnant. I had joy coming out of every pore!
    I continued to work as an editor in Frederick and then the company moved to Bethesda (I had quit my writing job in D.C. making more money in an attempt to decrease my stress in hopes of getting pregnant). I dragged my fat self to the Marc train and the subway to get to the new office in Bethesda and had every intention of continuing to do so after the baby was born. Afterall , that's what real women do, right? After nearly dying giving birth I returned to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave. It lasted about two weeks. I would sit at my desk and gaze at my daughter's picture and yearn to be with her even though she was with her father while I was working. After about two weeks I decided that I would live on hot dogs and beans everyday and wear potato sacks if I had to in order to stay home with her. I didn't know how we were going to make it, but I gave my boss two weeks notice. Later that day he called me into his office and he had a proposition. He asked me if I would consider working at home, at the same pay and benefits, and come in every two weeks to drop off and pick up work along with my paycheck. This was about as huge a miracle as me giving birth! Of course I said yes. I worked at home for about a year until the recession worsened and people were being laid off everywhere. The company gave me a choice to work at the office or be laid off. I was still willing to risk everything financially to be a stay-at-home, full-time mother and I made that choice. I have never regretted it. It was precious time with my daughter. It was also a time of tremendous growth for me. That experience and my time with the Mennonite women as mentors taught me so much about the strength of a woman and I hope to share more about that later.
   I guess to sum it up, this story is about choices. It's about looking at issues straight on and objectively and not just towing the line of your peers. It's about having the nerve to do what is right for you and not letting others define you or determine your value. If my daughters are able to do that I will be so proud no matter if they are a stay-at-home mom or the CEO of a company. I would have one suggestion for the stay-at-home mom: keep your skills current so that when your children are grown you will still be able to afford full-service gas again. That takes me to my empty nest and the Tea Party....

Me (far left) and my baby daughter Stella
 Me and my daughter Lizzi at birth (my sister's biological child whom I raised from age 4 and now she is all mine).

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