Sunday, August 20, 2017

No Happy Harmony

From First Things:
They are no less ambitious than women in any other American college, and most are as focused on success as are their male peers. But many come from conservative Christian backgrounds, where the natural differences between men and women are cele­brated and mothers often stay at home. They appreciate that a woman’s role in the family is something unique and valuable, and they are not persuaded by radical feminist arguments that marriage and motherhood are mere oppression. How then, they wonder, can the longing to have and care for children be combined with a sincere desire to achieve something of value outside the home?

Thus they ask a question at the forefront of popular literature about women and work: How can ­women “balance” professional interests and family? Like countless other women, I’ve had to juggle my obligations as a mother and wife with the demands first of graduate study and then of teaching and scholarship. But I’ve slowly come to realize that this quest for balance, the desire to reconcile radically conflicting demands, is misguided. Work and family evoke from us two distinct modes of being and of relation to others. The conflicts between these modes cannot, if we are honest with ourselves, be wished away or ignored. (Read more.)

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