Fast forward ten years or so, and I'm a happily married, stay-at-home mama of three. How can this be? How could I have I turned into the object of my teenage pity? Easy. I chose to.
Choosing a life of matrimony was easy actually, when I met the man I wanted to marry. The man who took my breath away and painted pictures with his words of rocking chairs and old age. Choosing to marry him wasn't so much a choice as when to marry him. Choosing to commit myself to just him for the rest of my life was exciting, reassuring and perfect. "And guess what," I say to teenage me living inside my head, "I'm still me!" I still love to play volleyball. I still enjoy time alone. I still believe in "saving the environment." I'm still a feminist. I just have a new last name (although so does he...) and someone to hold in the night. Through good and bad, poor and poor-er, we're riding this ride called life together, bumps and all. Lucky for me, he's a good driver and even better passenger. Like I said, an easy choice.
Choosing to have children and then stay at home with them was easy too, once I gave up all of my pre-conceived notions of stay-at-home mamas. Birthing my children and raising them to be good people is one of the scariest, difficult, powerful, awesome things I have ever done. And I'm not through yet. There is so much to teach them, so much to learn from them. Apparently, I didn't know everything as a smart-mouth teenager. "But how can I be a feminist and stay at home, just content to be a mama?" the teenager sneers. Because it was a choice I made. I wasn't forced into this. I don't slave over the stove making pot roasts and wear dresses and aprons and make up. (Okay, well I DO make pot roasts ... from our own animals; I DO wear dresses because I like the flirty feel of them; I DO wear aprons simply because my girls want me to match them when we all bake together; and the make up I wear consists of chapstick and glitter..... so perhaps that sentence wasn't exactly what I was looking for to prove my point.) Additionally, I'm not just a mama. I'm an educator, an advocate, a healer of hurts, a role model and a mama. I made this choice because I wanted to raise my children as consciously as possible. Is there a more powerful choice for a feminist mama to make? I didn't give up anything to do this; I'm not losing anything to stay at home. I still sing. I still have girlfriends. I still contribute to the good of society ... I just don't get a paycheck for it. That's okay. Every morning I choose to be the best mama I can be and each night as I tuck my kiddos into bed, I know I've made the right choice to stay at home with them.
So will the holier-than-thou teenage me ever be content with the choices the adult me makes? I think so. And I don't think that being reminded of who I once was is a bad thing. That teenager consumed with thoughts of what the future holds is still an important part of what makes me who I am today. After all, if the teenage me wouldn't have chosen to leave MO for college in VT - would I even be writing this today?