Did society sell us the allusion that we could manage motherhood and be professionals as well? This question has been on my mind for the past few days. As a woman of faith and of African descent, I have often asked myself this question, but I had never taken time to truly analyze and think about it.
The simple answer to this question is “YES” we can have both, but at a cost. When I read the bible, I was intrigued by a woman named Deborah and intimidated by the Proverb 31 woman. To be honest, I personally never wanted, and still do not want, to be the Proverb 31 woman. Then, I notice the women of faith in my own life who have done so much as working mothers, and I am amazed. Nonetheless, I am left with another question: What can I learn from their lives that can prepare me for my future as a lady who desires to get married and have a family while at the same time pursuing a career?
I grew up in the atmosphere that encouraged me to focus on my education and think about marriage later. There is nothing wrong with that, but I personally do not believe that in this modern age, the following model should be encouraged.
There is always an opportunity to tailor aspects of life in a way that works for you. Of course, thrive to at least achieve a high school degree or a certificate that will allow you to hold a job if limited qualifications are needed. If you then desire to be married and have a family at an early age, do it. Nevertheless, understand that if obtaining a higher degree before thinking about having a family is your priority, then dive into your studies. To me, where you start is not what matters as long as one is progressing at their pace and that their project makes sense to them. Whatever is your desire, make sure that you prioritize it and be prepared to put necessary effort to accomplish that goal. When I think of Deborah and the Proverb 31 woman, I think they married young and then they took on other responsibilities later; there is nothing wrong with that.
Choosing a life partner
Whether young or old, man or woman, the choice of a life partner should not be taken lightly. Before making the decision, it is crucial to validate the fact that you see value in each other and have common goal of encouraging one another to reach their full potential in every aspect of life.. I believe that with such understanding from the beginning, there is a room for growth and opportunity to take advantage of different offers that will become available in the future. Throughout books that I have read and many conversations I have had with professional and married women, I came to realize that a husband plays an important role in their wives’ professional endeavors. You often hear “I could not do this without my supportive husband.” Yes, we need them to be able to deploy our God given talents and reach our destiny. Therefore, if you are still single, allow yourself to be “picky” and choose someone who sees your values and is not threatened by them.
Do not neglect the cost
Regardless of the decision you take do not disregard the cost. Through the journey of being a wife, parent, and professional, you will lose much for a certain time, but it is worth it. As women of African descent, we live in a communal society, and people will either support or discourage us, but remember that it is your life and ultimately your decision. You will lose friends, miss weddings, birthdays, and graduations ceremonies; again, remember that it is for a certain amount of time, while you are working on your goal. Sometimes, you will feel like an absent mother, but this is for a short time. Other times, you will have to take time off from work to cuddle with your children and husband at home; it is ok to do so too. It is all about balancing and being gracious to yourself. Additionally, if you put a career at the front of a family life, know also that it will be a long lonely walk; depending on your choice, you may opt not to marry or have children. Here too, remember that you do not have to justify your choice or feel like an outcast because of your choice. It gives you the opportunity to work at ungodly hours, and to focus on your calling. You are neither the first nor the last woman to make that decision; there are many women of faith who have done it including Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, and Dr. Helen Roseveare, just to name few. They have done tremendous work for the Kingdom.
You do not have to figure out everything at once
I think as women in general and black women particularly, we overwhelm ourselves with the details of our goals and dreams, and then we get lost in them. It is important to have a dream, but the journey to reaching that dream is completely different from what you might have in mind. Take one step at the time, allow God and the Holy Spirit to guide you through the journey, to close doors that need to be closed, and open those that need to be opened. Allow the Potter to mold you through the journey and make you a finished product that serves His Kingdom.
By Grace Karambizi