Call me unpatriotic to say this on the 4th of July, but I think independence is overrated.
I’ve been thinking about independence, partly because my husband Keith is leaving the country in two days, and I’ll be forced into it for two weeks. I always miss him terribly when he’s gone, and I have the hardest time sleeping (or even functioning at all) without him. He’s my decompresser, the only person on earth who really, really sees me, and who knows how to handle me. Plus I just genuinely like to be near him. He is so loyal and dependable and loving and gentle and funny. Keith is a joy to submit to because he loves me as Christ loves the church. I feel safe under him and I don’t want to be an independent woman. I LOVE to depend on him. When I was in high school, and a wannabe feminist, that would have made me gag to hear a thirty year-old stay-at-home mother of three say that. But I’ve learned a few things since then.
And I’ve also been thinking about independence because I’m preparing to sing a few songs for “Women’s Equality Day” in August, and I’m feeling a little antagonistic about my song choices. All these woman power songs have really gotten me a little riled up, to tell the truth. One of the songs I’m considering, “I’m a Woman” is a celebratory rant about how women can do anything and everything all at the same time. Let me refresh your memory:
Well I can wash out forty four pairs of socks
And have ’em on the line.
You know I can starch and iron two dozen shirts
‘fore you can count from one to nine.
I can slip up a great big dip up of lard
From a drippings can.
Throw it in the skillet, do my shopping,
And be back before it melts in the pan.
Well I can rub and scrub
’til this house shines just like a dime.
Feed the baby, grease the car,
Powder my nose at the same time.
You know I can get all dressed up,
Go out swinging with the M-A-N,
Jump in bed at five, sleep ’til 6,
And start all over again.
Well now if you come to me sick,
You know that I’m gonna make you well.
And if you come to me all hexed up,
You know I’m gonna break the spell.
And if you come to me hungry,
You know I’ll feed ya full of my grits.
And if it’s loving you want,
I can kiss you and give you the shivering fits.
Well, I got a twenty dollar gold fee
That says there’s nothing that I can’t do.
Well, I can make a dress out of feeding sacks,
And I can make a man out Of you.
‘Cause I’m a woman…
I’ll say it again.
I’m a woman…
Just thinking about THAT woman exhausts me, and trying to be her leaves me sorely disappointed in myself and utterly empty of spirit. Some days, I can feel myself trying to be her–to do it all, be it all. And on those days I try to remember a little nugget of advice I was given a few years back: “Women can do it all, just not all at the same time.” Lord-willing, I’ve got plenty of years left, but for now. I’m inexpressibly happy that I get to spend these few years with my kids, as storybook theater superstar, first-class chaffeur, homeroom mom, personal assistant, private comedian, lifeguard, spiritual advisor, and the make-everything-better specialist. I’m so blessed to be able to joyfully take off the working woman hat for just a bit to savor a few years with these beautiful children. These “blasphemous” thoughts, as well, would have offended my former sensibilities, even just a few years ago. But I think I’ve learned a few things since then too.
So I’m not the picture of the independent woman for sure. And I’m feeling okay about that. Better than okay, actually.