Charlie’s Angel – not all she’s cracked up to be!

You, my 3 readers, have the distinct privilege of reading an excellent article from my most awesomeness wife.  I have seen first hand how a woman can lead a fulfilling role in the home as a mother, wife, and home-maker.  Enjoy the article. Matt

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I recently finished a book study on biblical womanhood and it was fascinating, to say the least!  A group of girlfriends, including one of my personal friends and mentors Lisa Hawkins, read the book True Woman 101: Divine Designtrue woman divine designComing from a background of gender competition (I can be the primary bread-winner in our family – and was for a time), it was refreshing to read how God uniquely designed women.  It was a wake-up call to me (again) that there needs not be competition between the sexes.  The book study was a great reminder to continue to strive to live my life as a woman of God, rather than as a woman of today’s modern culture.

I grew up during the 1970’s and the feminist movement had already left the station.  The movement was a rebellion against the traditional ideas about womanhood, marriage, motherhood and morality.  Would I have been a passenger on that train had I been of age? Possibly, but even though I was too young to realize it, I was already being carried along in a culture that was embracing new ideas about women.  As a child of the ‘70’s I yielded my Charlie’scharlies angels1 Angels lunchbox (I wanted to be talented, tough and attractive too!) and sang songs of gender neutrality and individuality from “Free to Be You and Me.”

Feminist ideals paved the way for my right to vote, the encouragement of a father who instilled in me the belief that I could grow up to be a female doctor in a primarily male-dominated profession, and a culture that normalized my desire to succeed, no matter what my gender.

I was inundated with messages that taught me to pursue my rights, my career and my independence as a woman.  As I grew up, the role of wife and mother never seemed attractive as I watched even my own parents “swap” gender duties.  You see, when I grew up, both of my parents worked outside the home.  Yet, my father had a more flexible schedule, so it was my Dad who greeted me after school, sitting at the kitchen table and asking how my school day was as I ate my snack.

Needless to say, I was confused about womanhood.

During the time of my medical training, female physicians were still relatively uncommon.   I remember trying to seek out female physicians to learn how they “balanced” work and home. I somehow sensed that I was still going to need to manage both and that advocating my domestic responsibilities to my husband or daycare provider wasn’t going to get me completely off the hook.

Sadly, I was so career-oriented at that time that getting married during medical school and starting to have children during residency was almost a distraction to my ultimate goal:  to become a pediatrician. Today, I think it’s embarrassing that Matt’s first gift to me (ever) was a cookbook, recognizing that I hadn’t learned that all-important domestic skill!  And I think it’s somewhat ironic that I chose a profession (pediatrics) where I could “practice” being a mom, just not to my own children.  I didn’t get too far away from my inner desire (even if unrecognized at the time) to nurture children!

I found an article from Kathleen Parker, columnist for The Washington Post, published in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 2/14/13, that was relevant to my recent book study.  Her article looks at the consequences of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”, written as a manifesto of the women’s liberation movement.  Parker writes that, despite marinating in the mainstream ideas of feminism, women of these last 50 years have experienced a paradigm shift away from feminism that Friedan and many other leaders of the feminist movement may not have predicted.

Parker writes:  “(We) were becoming unwitting hostages to myths that few were brave enough to challenge.  My own skepticism came to full fruition the moment I became a mother.

pink handcuffs“Unlike (Betty) Friedan, I wasn’t tethered to home but to a job.  Rather than resenting the prospect of staying home with a baby, I was stricken by the realization that I couldn’t.  The ‘strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning,’ words Friedan used to describe thwarted ambition, was for me the sense of having abandoned my son.”

That’s exactly how I felt as the desire to be home with my own 3 children grew to volcanic proportions in me.  I was struggling to balance work and home as my heart was being pulled more toward my own kids, longing to raise them myself.

In October 2009, Time magazine pointed out that, ironically, as women have gained more education, more economic independence, more power, and more freedom, they have become less and less happy.

That was me!  After trying to work 60+ hours a week as a part-time pediatrician and struggling to find time at home with my husband and 3 kids, I had had enough.  I realized that the common myth that life would be more satisfying in the workplace than in my own home was false.

As Kathleen Parker writes, “And while women have the same need as men to lead meaningful lives, the feminist mystique’s great failing was in advancing the notion that caring for children posed an obstacle to self-realization.”

My recent book study has helped me realize that there is no obstacle to fulfillment and true freedom when I follow God’s divine design for women.

I highly recommend the book! And I highly recommend finding a group of friends and mentors like those in the LIFE community to show you the hope and joy that comes with following your divine design to be a wife and mother!

Michelle

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44 Responses to Charlie’s Angel – not all she’s cracked up to be!

  1. rjfisher1 says:

    That was amazing Michelle. Your writing, positions and thinking are wonderful, powerful and easily understood. I thank you for this and all of your insightful contributions to my life and so many others through your gentle grace and leadership. I think there are many women who feel these same things we did, but know they are trapped financially or by fear of judgement to state or pursue these rolls. I’m thankful you stood up to pursue your purpose and pray for courage for others who wish to do the same.

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Jammie! and I pray more people can stand up, with courage, to “pay it forward”! it’s not enough for one of us to pursue our purpose….let’s help others do the same! Then give all the glory to God!

  2. Lori says:

    Another home-run article Michelle! Thank you for encouraging women and helping them realize there is another way than what the world expects of them.

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Lori! I am forever grateful for the vehicle of the LIFE business for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion and God’s calling, instead of settling for what the world expected of me. Let’s continue to spread this message to the masses!

  3. Ron Wollner says:

    Great experience/thoughts to share. We all(men and women, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives) need to understand the bigger calling we have, the responsibility we share to be the best parents, spouses and friends that we can possibly be. And our Lord can provide us with all the guidance we need to be successful. Thanks !!!!

  4. Penny Tahtinen says:

    Michelle what a great article. You know how much we loved you as our doctor but not once did we ever realize the struggle you felt between being a doctor and a mom. I always thought how amazing you were to be a doctor and have all these beautiful pictures up of your family, you looked like you had it all. But as we’ve learned people aren’t living the live they always wanted. I am so thankful to have you as my friend now because you have taught me more now on how to be a wife and a mom then how to make my kids well when they are sick. You have found your calling and I’m one of many who are thankful!!
    Penny

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Penny! You were seeing my “facade”…and I wasn’t showing the wrestling inside as I fought to understand the frustration I felt despite having hit all of the “status” milestones of the world. I’m so glad our kids can now call each other friends!

  5. Larry Wieberdink says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggles Michelle. We all need to become what God needs us to be. Babies are all born for a future purpose that God is already preparing for them. (From “TJE for Teens”) What a noble purpose then it is to be a parent and teacher.

  6. Jackie says:

    You finished that book TJ for Teens already? I’m impressed! Michelle your insight and ability to share are commendable. The topic is one that we need to hear discussed on a greater scale. So many women are suffering and they don’t understand why. We are being called far from our hearts and it is taking its toll. Thank you for sharing this heart warming perspective.

  7. Wow Michelle, what a great article! You epitomize what it means to be a woman of God. I pray that I can find the same strength as you to hand over that role when the time comes. Thank you for continuing to lead from the front in all areas of your life!

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Kristen, and as I watch you journey through your cancer treatment with the poise of a true woman of God, I am reminded of the Rock that we can rest upon as we traverse life. Thanks for your example!

  8. Jason Fredrick says:

    There’s a reason the Feminist Movement was supported, and funded, by the mega-rich such as the Rockefeller Institute. Socialists don’t care about adults, they want our children.
    Now we get to live with the results of that “equality”. Mothers, selfishly, for decades have turned their children over to the state to be raised, to chase that mirage. Men and women aren’t the same (equal). God didn’t create us that way.
    I’m glad God showed you that truth, before it destroyed your life, like it has done to millions of women before you. It’s encouraging to know that strong women can submit to God’s authority and fulfill their role as a Godly wife and mother.

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Jason! It’s amazing to realize how the cultural messages can be so powerful over us. And yet, God’s truth is there, whispering to us in the midst of media, conveyor-belt educational systems, politics…I appreciate you starting a dialogue on this important topic.

  9. Lori Maas says:

    Michelle thank you for being transparent and sharing your heart with us in this article. You are a courageous woman and anyone privileged to work with you and learn from you is truly blessed.

  10. Sharon Hoffman says:

    Beautiful Michelle! You are such a talented writer and communicator! Thanks for your example and for delivering so perfectly the feelings that many of us had growing up during that time period! I, too, have had to dismiss the programming of pop culture…”I am woman, hear me roar!” Love ya!

  11. Wow Michelle….that was great! To think there are so many mothers out there who do not want to be home with their children….but their mentality was probably very similar to your upbringing….”get out and do it girl…nothing can stop you”…..but ahhhhhhhhh….motherhood came about and when that love to nurture your own comes out you won’t be able to fight it. I was blessed to be home with my children when they were young and I am so glad I had that opportunity. Times were tight but it was worth every penny to be frugal than be away from my babies. I am always so happy when we meet up with couples in the LIFE Business and the goal is to get Mom and Dad home with the kids….nothing better!
    Thanks for the great article and we look forward to more from you…. 🙂
    Brenda Hatcher

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Brenda! I appreciate your perspective of being home to raise your children when they were young. I also realize that it’s an inside “heart job”….first that God would change my heart to WANT to be home with my kids and then having my heart change to LOVE to be home with my kids! And what a blessing that the LIFE business affords us the opportunity to have both Moms and Dads home raising children and not living paycheck to paycheck because they chose to “sacrifice” the income.

    • Miriam says:

      That is so true! I meet the women who “All they ever wanted was a career of their own.” So they go and sell years of their lives to school, work through 9mos of pregnancy only to find that they now have to leave their 6week old baby and they cry each morning when they have to leave, but they’ve already presold those years they could’ve spent with that baby! I thank God each day he stopped me before I went down that career path and I am so thankful to know the life community to encourage me on the straight an narrow of raising our legacy and coming together as a couple! Thanks Michelle! Let’s get some more mommies home!

  12. Amy A. says:

    Great article! Though it is important to remember that there are women out there who are fulfilled by a career also (My sister is one of them; she has two sons) I am trying really hard not to be offended by Jason’s comments, since he is basically calling my sister selfish. (Orrin teaches me that it is up to me to decide my reaction!) Her boys can be taught the true principles of freedom rather than relying on the state. There is good that came out of the feminist movement, and in some respects we should be considered equal. For instance, I would like to be guaranteed as equal pay for my work as a computer programmer as the guy sitting in the next cube with the same education and experience. Never having been married or had kids, it’s a quite depressing thought to think that God created me just to have kids!

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Amy, you will be pleased to know that one of the authors of the book Divine Design has never been married and has no children! Yet, she sees her unique role in influencing the next generation as one to take seriously. The Bible places a huge value on having and raising children, and yet God gives us different gifts and callings. I know you will use your gifts to spread truth, to be a force for good, to be an influential “XX” to invest in and nuture the lives of others! Thanks for your comments Amy!

  13. Jason Fry says:

    Awesome article. The author of Love and Respect, another great book, talks about how the idea of feminism has negatively affected marriage. This is great information to help get our thinking right. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kristina Meinel says:

    Thanks for the article Michelle. It definitely is hypocritical from the women’s movement for the woman to have a “choice” yet if women choose to stay at home, they are not participating. I am an advocate of women actually having a choice whether or not they have to work and the choice not being taken away by a paycheck that would hold them at a job when they cry everyday after they drop their child off at daycare. If only there would be a way to supplement ones income while we could make a choice of what we really wanted to do with that 40+ hours a day we would normally give to a job… 😉

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Ah…choices! Yes! I always say, “I’m not anti-work or anti-job; I’m just pro-choice!” So grateful, like you, for the LIFE business to afford me that choice!

  15. Katrina Meinel says:

    Superbly written, Michelle! When I grow up, I wanna be just like you! 🙂

  16. Heather Woods says:

    Thank you, Michelle! I totally agree with Penny’s sentiments. You left large shoes to fill at that clinic. Happily, we spend much more time with you now in our Compensated Community than over any ear infection, etc. I’ve read so many articles as well describing the tension between seeking fulfillment in life and raising one’s children–as if that’s a given! I’m grateful for the advances women have made: we can vote, we can have careers, we can hold political office–if we want to. But I feel sorry for the short-sightedness of many of these women–even ones who can afford paid, live-in help, housekeepers, supportive husbands–the trade-off is immense and many don’t even realize it!! At the end of their lives will they be proud and satisfied that they had a powerful career and ‘showed the world’ or will they feel tremendous regret that their kids want nothing to do with them because they had no close relationship with them and were cared for by a third party their entire lives. Were she to do it again, would she wish to have put in more hours at the office or spent more time with oatmeal kisses, handfuls of dandelions, corny kids plays, snuggling over a book? Never mind the moms who are trying to keep up with them by working at a job that’s more thankless, lower-paying, less gratifying and keeps them from their kids nonetheless. We have so much to offer them in the LIFE Community. I do too–because you invited ME to be a part of it!

    God bless you and your family!

    PS: I still get nostalgic for “Free to be You and Me.” It’s messages are so amusing! (grew up with it too–Public School!)

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Well written Heather! I love what the LIFE community offers….a chance to slow down, evaluate life and pay attention to relationships and purpose. We can make a difference! P.S. I really did have a Charlie’s Angels lunchbox!

  17. Les Johnson says:

    Michelle:
    It took great courage for you to leave a
    profession that you had worked on for years,
    and that most professionals would have let
    define them because to do otherwise would
    not fit with society’s paradigm.
    You decided that God’s grand paradigm
    was wiser than the expectations of the masses. As a result you are becoming one
    of those women who will influence many
    to trust their instincts and become all that they can be in a way that will fulfill their needs
    and serve others in the process. God bless
    you for following True North!!

  18. rascal4life says:

    Awesome, Michelle, as usual! 🙂 I’m glad you recommended that Bible study to me and that I’ve gotten as far into it as I have. I’m also glad that I’ve got several women, you included, that gush over the latest marriage/relationship/parenting book they’ve read. I can’t get enough of them, and it hurts when I see so many women I used to be friends with complaining about this struggle (working, but wanting to be home, but not having enough income otherwise). I do have a few friends that have never worked and have only raised children, and while their reasons of doing so are Godly, I appreciate your insights so much more–you’ve tried it the other way and can pinpoint exactly WHY it’s difficult. More than that, you and Matt found a way for you (both) to come home and be full-time parents without sacrificing the income. Like Jackie says on the “Something Right” video: “You really CAN have it all. It’s the life!” Thanks for walking a few steps ahead of me and guiding my journey as I follow 🙂

    ~Jen Ulrich

  19. Charles Jaeger says:

    Great article Michelle! I think you just got Matt over the 3 readers mark! haha jk Matt! Thank you both for doing what you do and doing it so well. Leading in such an example that we can all follow.
    Charles

  20. Robin Schilling says:

    Thank you Michelle. I appreciate your insight. Isn’t it unsettling how the media can influence an entire generation of girls to women? How a small minority of women’s activists can quickly sway a society and make the Leave it to Beaver mom, June Cleaver, sound so old-fashioned, unimportant, and not very glamorous? The 24/7 challenge of the godly management of a home, of guiding and raising children to walk with the Lord and being a loving, supportive and encouraging wife can be so rewarding (and frustrating, and scary, and amazing, and out-of-control, and full of highs and lows, but, oh, so worth it!!) and a ‘career’ I’ll never regret. I will forever be thankful my husband encouraged, supported, sacrificed and blessed me with that lifestyle. As my daughters are coming to age, I want them to be the ladies always seeking God’s heart and His purpose for them not some distorted view the world determines. I am thankful that I have been given a vehicle to be part of a LIFE changing movement and to be part of a Leadershift in our country. I can be the positive influence-not only in the lives of my family- but in so many women’s lives, young and old, and together we can cause a movement of our own and sway a society to be excellent in all they do and do it all to the the glory of God.

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Robin! There’s a paragraph in the book that I think you’ll enjoy; its a quote written in 1853 by a British pastor, John Angell James: “Every woman whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or her vice, by her folly or her wisdom, by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation…” I think of you as an example of that woman of character, virtue, wisdom who is impacting the next generation and the community of women around you. Thank you for fulfilling your mission Robin!

  21. Carole Eldredge says:

    Hey Matt – here’s reader 0.5. so that brings the total to 3.5……,
    Michelle, feminism and the advances women have made in the world of medicine was a topic of discussion at 95 % work Monday -just before I read your blog! Amazing how applicable the LIFE business is and it’s constant directing toward truth. So glad I’ve met the Drs. Mielke who are some of the “few brave enough to challenge” the status quo!

  22. April says:

    Michelle- I loved your article. Thanks for sharing your heart. Now I really want to read this book!

  23. Pingback: Mother Teresa – Do It Anyway | Richard and Jammie Fisher Leadership

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