Saturday, February 4, 2012

Joy at home?

Ross and I are movie people. We watch a lot of movies. Movies that look good and movies that look not so good. We like to make our own opinions. We watch movies in just about every genre, except we try to stay away from movies with nudity and/or lots of sex in them. It's safe to say that movies are one of our favorite things to do together, we love 'em.

So recently, we got Secretariat from the library and on a night I wasn't feeling well, I popped it in. It's a really neat movie about a racing horse and how that horse broke every racing record up to that time, and even up to the present, while facing all sorts of odds. There was something majestic about this ordinary horse, I loved that part of the story a lot. Especially since it was a true story. I really love true stories movies. I have to admit, that at the end, I got a bit teary eyed, as the main character (Penny Chenery Tweedy) tells the jockey to just let him (Secretariat) run, and he runs so hard and fast that he beats his competition by 30something lengths. That's crazy! That horse loved to run. It was amazing to watch, especially knowing it really happened.

Although I loved the overall story, there was one part of the story that bothered me. The main character in the movie is a stay-at-home-mom who decides to take over her sick father's farm (that is in a different state than where she lives) and the horse business within that farm. While I loved her perseverance, her determination and her drive to save her parents' farm and livelihood, she made it seem like she gave up her career to stay at home, and she wasn't happy about it. She was constantly away from her family, missing her children's plays and other important things, and her husband was not happy about any of it. The writers of the movie made it seem as though she felt she needed to go outside the home to be happy, to find fulfillment and to show her daughters about true womanhood. And even though her husband never tells her to stop the horse breeding and racing, he is clearly unhappy about her doing it and discourages her from it quite frequently. In fact, at the end, the husband comes around and says something like, "you taught our daughters about true womanhood." Really? By investing all of herself into something that took her away from her family and life? And the whole time she was doing horse business, all of her business associates knew her and called her by her maiden name, not even her married name, which seemed weird to me. Like, who she was as a married woman/mama was not near as important to her as her life as a horse-breeder/trainer/racer. I could be overthinking it on this last point, but it still was a part of the story that bothered me.

Let me make it clear that I'm not judging Peggy Tweedy. She wanted to save her father's farm, which was important to her, and I can appreciate that. I am, however, a little frustrated at the movie-makers and writers of this movie. I feel like this film furthers the worldly view that there is no value, joy or fulfillment in being at home with your children, raising them and taking care of your home. I have to disagree with the movie-makers and writers here. While I think it's great, maybe even essential, for a woman to have interests outside the home, we women feel a stir in our hearts and we think we have to go look for happiness elsewhere. So, we use our precious little bits of energy to fill our schedules with things that take our focus off of our families. I am guilty of this as well, and I just don't believe that it is good. I truly believe we can have joy and be fulfilled while raising our babies, and taking care of our homes, and I think this can even be achieved if you do work and have a full-time job. It just might be a little harder. Before I get accused of living in the 50s, I'm all about women having lives outside their homes. Being a homebody is not what I'm suggesting, nor am I saying it is all  that we are. Girls' nights, knitting groups, shopping dates, Bible studies, Zumba classes, guitar lessons, photography groups, (and let's not forget date nights with our men!) whatever you like to do, DO IT. Mamas need some time away from their kids and homes. But, if it becomes a complete focus of your energy, I don't think that's good. There always needs to be a balance.

Now, I know this is just a film, but I also think it's a view a lot of people have. And this is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth. I love my family and want others to be encouraged that we can have joy IN our lives and homes right now. We don't have to run around trying to find it in other things. It's all a matter of where your joy comes from. Ourselves, our circumstances or Jesus?

I'll get off the soapbox now. :)
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