My wife and I were blessed with a daughter earlier this month. We named her after two of our grandmothers, and I’ve been reflecting on how her life will differ from theirs. Born about 100 years ago, they were both strong, independent women who charted their own course in life, even as they found doors closed to them because of their gender.
My wife and I both grew up in households with a father as the primary breadwinner and a mother whose career allowed her to work from home while taking primary responsibility for childcare. We learned from them what it looks like when loving partners commit to the balance of parenting and career that works best for their family.
As a two-career couple, our balance of career and family may look different than our parents’ and grandparents’. But we are building on the lessons they taught us and the examples they modeled. We are shaping the quality of work and life that fits our vision as parents and professionals, and we are grateful for the freedom to do so. We work as clergy partners, the rabbi and cantor of a congregation in Aspen, CO — a demanding career, to be sure. But we are lucky to have landed in a place that values both work and play, where we are encouraged to take time apart and relax.
So when we think about what kind of life and career our newborn daughter will choose someday, we hope she and our three-year-old son will take from our example and make it their own. I pray that they base their decisions not on gender roles and expectations, but on their own values and priorities, and those of their future partners and children. I hope they don’t take for granted the range of choices they will have available to them. In the end, I want for my children what my parents have always wanted for me, and their parents wanted for them: work that fulfills and sustains, and a loving, supportive family to call home.