Monday, May 4, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Jen.

So, once a month, I've been making an effort to share musings from other mothers who inspire me.

January: Janelle 
February: Ashton 
March: Andrea

This month, my favorite month of the year, I'm sharing musings from my FAVORITE friend in the world, Jen.

Jen and I met in a pilates class at the University of Oklahoma. Little did we know, we were in the same pledge class, and were also both Pi Phis. Our friendship, I'm certain, would've flourished regardless. We both sneaked in our puppies at the sorority house! We enjoyed everything from getting snowed in at Campus Lodge and making cookies, going to concerts ((including my first DMB concert ever!)), to eating pizza while watching Joni + Carole documentaries ((or something like that?)), and talking about the world from one of our cozy little abodes. I could always count on Jen to be there for me! And still can!

Whatever our souls are made of, ours are the same. We see the world with similar rose-tinted glasses. And we were fortunate enough to be pregnant at the same time. Our babies are only 3 weeks apart! I knew I wanted to share Jen's thoughts on feminism//spirituality//motherhood, and was so honored she opened up on my little corner of the internet. Thank you, Jen. I love you so much!



What's your definition of a "feminist"?
To me it’s a voice, an example, of how I want women to be viewed and accepted, and the world I want for my child. It’s coloring outside the lines and feeling free to be independent in thought, speech, career and opinion. Before I had my son it was about, me as a woman, and the equality I wanted for us in society. After having my son (although that is still important to me), it’s changed, to the world I want for him and for his children.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yes! I take pride in being a woman and supporting other women. My mom taught me from a young age that women can be educated, fierce and full of love. While I take pride in being a feminist and a strong female, I want my son to know that gender has no indication or control of boundaries or stereotypes set by society. I want him to be whoever he wants, regardless of any type of gender that has been tied to it.

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since a having a "feminist awakening"? Further from?
Ambivalent? Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another?
Everything to me is related to spirituality. From each breath I take while sitting at work, to how I respond to my husband and son; spirituality is at my core, or so I try for it be.  Being spiritual helps me feel more emotionally intelligent and have a stronger sense of self-awareness. So yes, I think feminism and spirituality are tied to one another. Without being self-aware and spiritual I wouldn’t be as in-tune with the things that are an emphasis in my life.

What do you do and what encouraged you to get into your line of work?
I’m an analyst in the oil and gas industry. The company and attractive benefits lured me in shortly after college, and it’s been home ever since. I like showing my son that women can hustle in the workplace and be assertive and driven with diplomacy and grace.

What spiritual practices//habits//routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality to your family life?
I try to have some quiet time daily, whether it’s on my way to work, the first few minutes of my day in the office, or while running or taking a bubble bath.
In terms of my family life, I try to pray each night with Jude before bed. I start by telling him it’s time for prayer and tell him how loved, smart and kind he is. We end with saying, “thank you Jesus” and then I plop him in bed. My husband, son and I TRY to get to church on Sundays because we enjoy it as a family, but don’t make it as often as we would like. Going reaffirms to us the stresses of everyday life that need to be left on the sidelines so that we can refocus our thoughts and energy on what’s important - loving each other and imitating our Creator. Crossings Community Church does an excellent job of teaching grace, love, acceptance and mercy. Things I want to be at the forefront of my family’s heart and mind.

Do you want your children to have the same religious experience that you did as a child?
Honestly, not at all. I grew up with divorced parents and my Dad was very strict religiously. It made me uncomfortable and gave me an unfortunate image of what Church and faith really are. I do appreciate his diligence to teaching me how important a relationship is with Jesus. That’s still with me today and something I’m very appreciative for.

I want my children to grow up knowing they have the freedom to choose what spirituality means to them; how it can make them a better person and contribution to society. To feel free from any type of judgement or discernment. To me it stems from feeling full of love on the inside and spreading that love to others through words and action on the outside. That’s simplistic, but the best way I can think to summarize it.

What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
Off the top of my head, religion is something you read in a book, and spirituality is something you feel. Religion defines one person from another, whereas spirituality is a common thread that brings us together. All Buddhists, Islams, Latter Day Saints and Christians alike, believe in love for one another.

What do you think happens when we die?
I believe our souls live on. When I look up at the sky on a pretty day I think of loved ones I’ve lost and know they’re looking down on us. I’m a strong believer in angels. I know of times when they’ve been sent to me. What the afterlife looks like, I couldn’t say, but I have complete faith in it.

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?
My son is almost 2, so he hasn’t asked any big questions yet. I’m interested and intrigued to hear how other Mamas respond though!
“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” G.D. Anderson