Saturday, November 26, 2016

Haven't even put my bags down yet...

Last night in the car, Miriam had a little existential crisis.

"I just don't know what I want to be when I grow up!" she cried (literally; she was crying). "I kind of want to be a scientist, like an inventor or something, but I also might want to play music in a band."

"It's okay, Mimi!" Benjamin chirped happily, as if he just solved all the world's problems. "I know! You can just be a ghostwriter."

"Like, I really like music," she sobbed, ignoring Benjamin. "But I also want to invent things!"

"You can be a ghostwriter," Benjamin said again.

"I don't even know what I would invent or what instrument I would play," she sniffed. "But I think I would want to do that—be either an inventor or musician."

"Be. A. Ghostwriter."

"I guess I could invent a new instrument to play," she continued. "Or, I don't know. Maybe I'll just focus on inventing and forget about music. But I really like music. So maybe I'll just do that and not invent anything at all."

"Or you could be a ghostwriter," Benjamin suggested...again.

He was really stuck on that idea (which I think he got from one of the tracks of the Hamilton Mix Tape). Sometimes he repeats himself a lot. Once when he was doing this I began pointing it out to him and he said, "I know, Mom! I know I'm...stuck in a loop, stuck in a loop, stuck in a loop, stuck in a loop, stuck in a loop." That's what we say to him when he starts repeating an idea over and over again (but it's kind of fun to say in rapid succession like that, too, and it was funny to have him self-identify his issue).

We told Miriam that she could be anything and even could be more than one thing. We brought up the Rogersons as an example: the bishop has a PhD and teaches public policy but he also plays in the symphony and Sister Rogerson is a middle school music teacher and also plays in the symphony.

That made Miriam feel a bit better.

I asked her about it this morning while I was doing her hair. More specifically, I asked her why she'd given up on her dream of becoming the secretary of the treasury, a dream she's harboured for quite some time.

"Oh, I've given up on politics," she sighed.

"Why?" I asked.

"Mom," she said sadly. "If Hillary Clinton can't get elected, who would ever vote for me? Has there ever even been a woman secretary of the treasury?"

"There hasn't," I said. "But I'm sure one day there will be, just as I'm sure there will be a woman president some day. I'd vote for you."

"You don't even have to be elected to be the secretary of the treasury," Miriam pointed out. "That's an appointment, so I could be that. But I just think that they'll keep choosing men."

Oh, dear heart.

That's why we need more women in politics, in math, in science. Sure, more women are enrolling in university than men. But we are not seeing that translate into leadership positions. Men still dominate far too many fields.

I, personally, love that when Trudeau became Prime Minister he purposely appointed an equal number of men and women. I had friends who complained about this, saying that he shouldn't even consider gender and that he should just "hire the best man for the job." You can't, they argued, select a woman simply because she's a woman.

But, honestly, isn't that why we've overlooked women for so long?

Isn't that why there's even the phrase "the best man for the job?"

Doesn't that imply that women are inherently unqualified?

Honestly, sometimes the best kind of changes occur "inorganically." Like this change, for example. Because, I assure you, that for every qualified male there is an equally competent female counterpart who far too often is overlooked simply because of her gender. So why not hire a woman simply because she's a woman? We're 50% of the population, so why not 50% of the cabinet?

It's not because we're under-qualified, undereducated, or too emotional. It's simply because we're underrepresented and too often overlooked. We cannot "wait" for experienced, educated women to be appointed or elected into these offices "when they're the best fit" because experienced, educated women are often not given a chance to lead. They exist. So choose them. Overlook a man for once. In favour of a woman.

Thanks, Trudeau, for sending my little girls the message that they are equally as important, that they have the same potential, as their male peers.

(And, America, #gohomeyouredrunk).

PS. Is it normal for kids to despair over future careers so much? Because Miriam is not our only child to cry about not knowing what to be. Benjamin came out of his room crying one night, "I don't think I can be a scientist anymore because I don't know all the science stuff!" Like, literally crying.

Why, child? Why?!

There is plenty of time to learn all that science stuff. I promise.

Can you inherit imposter syndrome?

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