We Are No Better

This screenshot popped up on a social media feed a while ago. I don’t know what prompted me to read it. I don’t know why I chose to read the comments attached to it. I tried to walk away from it, but I can’t leave it alone – because what came after this breaks my heart.

The writer of this sweet message was called a fool and a dumbass. She was chastised “When she keeps using “we” to refer to HER career and decisions impacting HER life.” But…isn’t that the point? It’s HER life. And, it seems to me, HER life is gleefully about a loving relationship with her soon-to-be husband.

“”We decided to decline” Imagine having someone prevent you from getting a job, flourishing and growing with a company bc “we wont get to spend time together.” LMAO B Y E”  Where did it say anyone was preventing her from anything? It appeared to me that, after careful consideration, SHE made a decision.

I fully support a woman’s right to her independence, to make her own choices, to be self-supporting, to be the sole breadwinner in a family – to be what is right for her. But, that doesn’t mean her independence has to look like someone else’s. I don’t agree with independence at the expense of a relationship (unless it’s an unhealthy relationship that should be ended). I’ve been in this situation – more than once. I interviewed for and was offered two different jobs in my past which held more prestige, opportunity, and income than the position I was in each time. I chose my husband-to-be over the jobs each time. He couldn’t move…or, it would have been very difficult for him to move as there was family who depended on him. And I loved him too much to ask him to choose between me and his family obligations. I loved his family too much to tear him away. I loved ‘us’ too much to put it all on the line for a job. It’s a job – that’s it. There will be another. My identity was not tied up in my work. This was the man I’d chosen to share my life with – every day of it. That’s not up for barter over a few dollars more or a fancy office.

I didn’t sacrifice my career for him. I chose him. He was more important to me. And that is everything. That is my dedication to our relationship. For me, family will always trump work or wealth or want.

We talked about my job offers in great detail. He never asked me not to go. It was fully my decision, without guilt or coercion. I, too, took the time to consider life with that ‘dream job’ but missing the man with whom I’d made a home. I chose my life with him over an unknown job hundreds of miles away. That doesn’t make me wrong. Or weak. Or a dumbass. If anyone made the horrible comments to me that were made on this woman’s post I would have crumbled in defeat. Thank goodness my decisions happened long before social media.

When I see these hurtful, hateful comments on a gentle post like this I can’t help but think…we’re no better. Beginning in the mid 20th century, women we’re confused and split on the idea of leaving the traditional roll of homemaker in order to enter the workforce by choice. Many women felt strongly that a woman’s place was in the home, caring for her family. Those who chose to take on a job were thought to be selfish and causing harm to their families. A woman who chose a job over her family was called a fool and a dumbass (well, that decade’s version of dumbass). How cruel to deny a woman her right to choose for herself. I read comment after comment on this post from women that were calling this writer out for choosing her family over a job. This is the same ridiculous, unfair argument…just in reverse! She has a right to choose for herself and if she chooses family – that’s okay!  When I read the slander and snark all I hear is……we’re no better.

I am proud of this woman. She faced a difficult decision with no clear ‘right’ answer. There may be a lingering ‘what if’ for her, but she made the choice that is right for her at the time. She speaks proudly of their decision – together, as a unit, because they’ve made a commitment to face this often cruel world supporting each other. I love the strength in her ‘we.’ Everyone should be so lucky as to have a we that brings them joy and fortitude. Whether that is through a spouse, child, friend, or pet, or maybe you’re lucky enough to find it all within yourself.

Life is a series of choices – always. Do you want fries or onion rings? Should we buy or rent? Do I like this school or that one? Which is better “A” or “B”? We all make different choices for different reasons. You bought your house because you wanted an investment and you don’t see any logic in throwing money away on rent. Great!  Someone else may rent because their chosen profession means they move frequently and constantly trying to sell a house in variable markets doesn’t make sense for them. Each decision is right for each person. Neither is wrong. We make choices. Yours are right for you. Mine are right for me. And…sometimes they’re wrong, because we all make poor choices now and then. But, it is not for me to judge. Nor for you.

By the way….I didn’t regret my choices to pass on great jobs in favor of my relationship. Even when my husband and I eventually split, I didn’t regret choosing him at those times. That was right for me. Don’t judge.



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