The “Both/And” Option

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Today I’d like to share with you a beautiful reflection on women in professional life. It was originally given as a speech by Meg McDonnell at the Edith Stein Conference, but I ran across it in written form last year. As a young woman seeking to discern God’s will for my life, and strongly suspecting that His plan for me involves some combination of professional life and family, I was deeply affected by Ms. McDonnell’s message. In my experience, young women are told one of two things. Modern feminism, and society in general, tell them that their “success” is defined only in terms of a career. Stay-at-home moms are often looked down on, and even the suggestion that a woman may have to make sacrifices in her career to accommodate family life is anathema. If you’re not doing it all, you’re not good enough. On the other end of the spectrum, though, young women in some Christian circles are told that a career is just a “placeholder,” a sort of necessary evil, until the truly feminine vocation of marriage and motherhood starts. Trying to continue working after starting a family is seen as selfish and unfeminine.  While I have always strongly believed that there is a middle way (to borrow a phrase from Meg McDonnell, I like to think of it as the “both/and” option), that some women are called to pursue both family and professional life, I must say it is very refreshing to run across an inspiring and articulate presentation of this view. For me, reading this was more a comfort than an epiphany, but I have since shared it with others, some of whom have found it eye-opening. Whether the thoughts expressed here are new to you or you are just looking for encouragement, I can’t recommend enough that you read this. You can access it here:

http://www.laity.va/content/dam/laici/documenti/donna/culturasocieta/english/Women%20in%20the%20workplace.pdf

Regardless of how God calls you to live out your feminine vocation, I hope this inspires you to love and support your sisters in Christ who are called to the “both/and” option. God bless!

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