I went to college. I am a voracious reader. I used to be a news junkie, and watch all the shows, and go to dozens of movies a year.
So why did I never, in my 30-plus years on the planet, receive any clear and believable messages that being a full-time, stay-at-home mother is a fantastically rewarding job that I should have considered pursuing at a younger age?!
I learned early on that I could be an airline pilot, a doctor, or President of the United States, but I don’t recall any enthusiastic advertisements to the effect that being a wife and mother is ridiculously fun, not to mention a hell of a lot less stressful than a paid job? Why weren’t there any pamphlets at the college-and-career center itemizing the rewards of an M.R.S. degree? How come no one ever casually mentioned, “You should plan ahead to ensure that you are married and having babies by your late 20s, because that way you’ll have time to fit in multiple pregnancies before your ovaries give out and your pubic hair turns gray”? Read the rest of this entry →
I was at Barnard College just as the modern feminist movement was unfolding in the early 70’s. There, I learned to respect my own choices and to have the confidence that I could accomplish anything I wanted to do. There we “girls” were convinced that we were as smart (actually, usually smarter) than the boys we knew. There we were convinced (as if we needed convincing) that we should proudly feel smart and not hide it. That we should only be with men who respected our intelligence and our bodies. Read the rest of this entry →
First birthdays are bound to bring out the reflective in a person, and I’m no exception. Avi and Maya turn one tomorrow, and for the last few weeks I’ve been reflecting like crazy. I’ve learned a few things this year. Here they are, in no particular order:
It’s not helpful to compare myself to others. Yes, its super crazy hard not to, and I’ve always been one prone to torturing myself by making illogical comparisons, but I understand now that when it comes to my girls and how they’re faring, it’s not helpful to measure them against French babies or Chinese babies or my friends’ babies or the babies that people write about in parenting books. That practice generally does nothing more than wreck havoc with my already havoc-ridden brain. We could all parent better, and most of us are doing the best we can. Read the rest of this entry →
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
– Forbes asks: Is Modern Motherhood Working Against Women? Not according to one woman, the CEO of a tech company, who explains how she was able to be a business woman and make attachment parenting work for her family. (Forbes)
– For those who question just how busy stay-at-home moms really are, here’s a chronicle of a day in the life that will make you tired just reading it. (Shine)
– Laurel Snyder, Kveller contributer and author of Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher, talks about raising her Jewish kids with religion, but not too much religion–i.e., they don’t keep kosher. (CNN)
– And for your daily dose of cute, here’s a baby who absolutely loves being vacuumed (Jezebel):
Alina Adam’s post on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystiqueinspired me to leaf through my copy. I’ve never actually read it but it is a treasured memento. In 1963, when I was still a little girl, my feisty, well-before-her-time grandmother bought up a whole bunch of paperback copies (still marked on the cover at $.75 each) and gave them out to friends and family. Read the rest of this entry →
Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in February of 1963. However, excerpts of what would become her celebrated work appeared in Mademoiselle as early as 1962–exactly 50 years ago.
And though it is such a part of the American culture that I felt I knew what it was about, I didn’t actually read the entire thing–as opposed to references, reviews, analysis, etc.–until last month. It wasn’t at all what I expected.
For one thing, I was surprised to learn that what we now call Helicopter Parenting was a phenomenon described– if not similarly named– by Ms. Friedan as far back as five decades ago. Only her primary concern was for the syndrome’s effect on the mothers. Read the rest of this entry →
Renee Septimus’ article “Enough Already with the Mommy Wars” about the battle between stay-at-home and work-outside-the-home moms (because we are all working moms) got me thinking about judgment. It makes me cringe to think of how critical moms can be of one another’s career choices, and it extends beyond paychecks. If you don’t have the right car seat/stroller/enrichment class, other moms might smile (out of sympathy?) to your face and then badmouth you to anyone who will listen.
My answer to, “What do you do?” is, “As much as I can.” My first job and priority is SAHM. After that, I am a freelance journalist, and I teach group cycling classes at local gyms. I work when my daughter sleeps or is at preschool. When she is around, she has my (mostly) undivided attention. Read the rest of this entry →
The other day I was channel surfing as my grandson was sleeping and Anderson Cooper had a show on about the “mommy wars.” Yet another spotlight on this very tired topic, based on a recent study from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, which claimed that women who worked outside of the home were “happier and healthier” than full time stay-at-home moms. The panel consisted of three women in each camp and an “expert.”
I remember meeting, on several occasions, with the rabbi who was going to perform our wedding ceremony. My future husband and I were surprised when he told us we needed to sign a Jewish prenuptial agreement. He asked us to determine an amount of money that my future husband would pay me, on a daily basis, in the event he refused to give me a get (a Jewish divorce). Our rabbi suggested a large sum, and my husband and I laughed as I told him to triple it! Divorce was the furthest thing from our minds, and I knew that my husband was not the type who would refuse to give me a get. Since both of us knew this was never a document we would be using, my husband readily agreed to triple the amount and we signed it.
Looking back, our rabbi was really on to something. What better time to get a future spouse to agree to something then when he or she is happy and excited about the marriage, and divorce is far from anyone’s mind? And while every other week the magazine covers in the supermarket checkout line talk about one celebrity or another signing or not signing a pre-nup, most people have not heard of, or considered, a post-nuptial agreement.
Let me be clear: I do not believe everyone needs a post-nuptial agreement, which is a contract between spouses outlining what will happen financially, or otherwise, in the event the marriage breaks down. However, if you have given up your career (or taken a very long hiatus) to raise children and manage the household, I am suggesting that you at least use this article as food for thought. Read the rest of this entry →
I loved Mayim’s piece on choosing to be a full-time presence of her children’s lives and I agree that the adulation celebrities receive every time they do something “normal” like raise their own children is really a result of their place at the top of the tax bracket.
I’ve never heard it said that the “American Dream” is to make millions of dollars filming a made for TV movie while your children are at home being potty trained by your nanny who also cooks for your sexy husband and lives in your amazing house. Nor do I think it’s the wish of any parent to have their child’s face plastered on tabloids (next to a comment about your thighs) each time you take them to the park. So, I guess it is noble when a celebrity tries to shelter their children from the reality of being famous and allows them to grow up in the arms of their Mama.
I think the real American dream is to be able to support your family and to allow your children every opportunity you had growing up and then some. I’ll admit to wishing we had more money and I think every working Mama wants more time with their kid. In a time where two-incomes are no longer a luxury, they are a standard; we are all akin with sacrifice.
I fully intended to go back to work after my son was born but after moving for my husband’s job we quickly realized that his schedule was hellacious, we weren’t on “the list” at a single daycare, and finding a job in this economy proved difficult. That and I had morphed into an attached parent who breastfeeds around the clock and refuses to let my baby cry for more than a minute at a time. When we sat down and crunched the numbers me going back to work would barely pay the bill for someone else to raise our son, so we decide to make some sacrifices that would enable me to see him wake up sleepy-eyed from every nap and be present for each milestone. Read the rest of this entry →