Guest post by Elissa Freeman
It was a beautiful evening in October, 1998. As we stood under the chuppah dressed in wedding finery, the rabbi intoned:
“Do you, Mitchell, take Elissa, to be your wife? In sickness and in health, to have and to hold, even when she decides to pursue a career, of which of course you will be very proud of, but will likely forget all that when she has to leave early for work, or come home late, or stay up late doing more work after cleaning up after dinner and helping with the homework (because your daughter attends a French school and she’s the only one who can actually speak the language and therefore the only one who must now do math in French). And? That there will be nights when she comes home so physically and mentally beat that even her hair follicles are exhausted, rendering her fairly useless except for falling asleep on the couch? Oh, and when you complain that she just doesn’t have the bandwidth to be a wife and a mother and want a hot rockin’ body all at once, she will look at you and say: why the hell not?”
Yeah. Today, I wonder if my husband knew what he was getting into he would have been so quick to say “I do.” Even though he grew up in a household where his mother was the breadwinner, during an era when most moms stayed home, I don’t think anything could have prepared him for marrying what his mother would have called, a ‘career gal.’
Even when men say they love independent women that all goes out the window when they come home and there ain’t no woman tending to the pot roast in the oven.
To be sure, this is a conundrum for me too. All my role models growing up preached women could have it all. Of course, I don’t think any of them had tried it yet, because a decade later they all preached that you couldn’t have it all and that women should try and achieve the dreaded work-life balance.
Is it balance that we’re trying to achieve? Or are we trying to find happiness in too many places?
Today, women find themselves in the enviable place of having options: you can get married, but you don’t have to have kids; you can pursue a career, or you can stay home. As a woman, I want to exercise all my options. As a wife and a mother, I feel I have to streamline my choices. And that’s the balance I need to achieve.
So, maybe we should change those marriage vows to something like: “Do you (state your name) aim to try your very best to adapt to the twists and turns that life throws you now that you plan to be with this person for the rest of your life?”
To that? I think my husband would say: “Well, yes…I do.”
Elissa Freeman is, among being an incredibly prolific writer, a Toronto, Canada PR chick, jaded realist, pop culturist, mom, foodie. Not necessarily in that order. Named: Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women & Top 150 Toronto Influencers you can catch up with her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/elissapr