Thursday, March 22, 2007
when i got to class last night, i discovered that.. it had been cancelled!

so i took a mental health night and went to barnes & noble for two hours, where i spent $50 on books. one book: algebra for the clueless. it would seem i’m not remember some pretty basic principles, so i hope this will help.

i’m telling ya, i get in these moods where i want to do nothing but READ sometimes. i’m in one right now. sadly, work and school interfere too much, but i figured i deserved it last night, so i spent most of the rest of the evening in bed, reading.. not the algebra book, but one called mommy wars, which i heard the author talking about on npr a while back. it’s a collection of individual women’s stories of their struggles with the children vs. work thing.. how these women do it, why it is that working mothers vs. stay-at-home moms seem to disrespect each others’ choices so much.

this is an interesting subject to me.. not because i’m lookin’ to have kids anytime soon, but because i wonder how people do what they do. how do stay-at-home moms feel about their lives? how do you feel about someone else raising your kids from 8-5 five out of every seven days? when they’re little and go to bed early, that gives you only a couple of hours each day of quality time. scratch that – a couple of hours of time, during which you have to do dinner and baths and all that other stuff. where’s the quality time? of course, i guess quality time is a luxury not everyone can afford to worry about.

s-a-h moms look down on working mothers for putting work first (“how can you let someone else raise your child?”), working mothers look down on s-a-h moms for not having a career (“don’t you get bored at home all day?”). and it obviously is a very personal choice – some women wouldn’t be happy leaving their kids all day, some wouldn’t be happy not having a career.

both categories of women give things up to do what they do.

s-a-h moms give up their careers, own income, etc. some of the women recounting their stories said they had less of a say in financial matters once they stopped working.. for example, the one woman’s husband “vetoed” the christmas portrait she had planned. it sounds pretty awful to be powerless like that, without a voice – but i guess that depends on the husband, how respectful he is.

s-a-h moms are looked at as uninteresting. looked down upon. a former book editor suddenly found people shying away from her at cocktail parties when she responded to the “what do you do?” question to see more interesting conversation partners, as if she could no longer handle conversations about something other than diaper rash.

s-a-h moms entrust their futures to someone else. the editor of the book married a man who she thought was her soul mate, but who ended up beating her, one time strangling her until she blacked out. she re-married, and is still married to that wonderful guy, but she’s never fully gained her trust back – and that is part of the reason she couldn’t not work. what if he left her? where would she & the kids be then?

working moms give up, obviously, time with their family. it’s a constant struggle to try to balance work and family, and lots of women just feel like they’re doing badly at both. The one woman thought she had found the perfect resolution – a job for a boss who chose to use the last two weeks of each month to work from home on his novel. So she spent those two weeks each month at home with her kids. but the other two weeks? she was m.i.a. as teenagers, her son developed behavioral problems and her daughter developed anorexia. maybe they would have had those problems anyway, but she wonders if it could be because they felt abandoned for half of their childhood.

it’s obviously a personal choice, if it's a choice at all. the book’s editor repeats: the best kind of mom is a happy mom, so you have to do what makes you happy.

a few years back, i wasn’t sure if i wanted kids. well, i always WANTED kids, but i didn’t know if i would ever actually want to have them. (if that makes sense.) this was horrifying to my sisters: “but you’d make such a great mom!” but i couldn’t think of a mom whose life i would want. for example, my sister, kelli, loved her new role as a mother, but oh my god – she must have only gotten to spend one waking hour a day with her son from friday – sunday. we won’t even start on the other stuff she deals with.. and the stay-at-home moms? life seems pretty sad for them, in that stereotypical way. but of course, your life is what you make it. some of the s-a-h moms in this book are living full, enriched lives that go beyond just the kitchen and the kids.

my sister kamille has worked out a pretty good situation for her second daughter, more than 12 years after she had her first. she goes to a babysitter, a stay-at-home mom, for about three hours each day. her husband watches the baby early afternoon. she watches the baby late afternoon. the baby is with someone that probably feels like family at this point for three hours a day, and is with her family the rest of the time.

so anyway, i think i want kids now. but only in a really good situation – as a happy, well-balanced person, with a good partner. in the best position possible to make my little people into kind, happy big people.

reading mommy wars has made me feel even better about my current goal to become a teacher. i don’t know if it would be any better than any other job when the children are young, but you definitely get more time off (read: more quality time with the kids) than most jobs. plus, once your kids get to school age, you get home from work at the same time they do.

this book is really good so far – very thought-provoking. btw, i finished female chauvinist pigs. it was alright, but.. i dunno. it’s more like i felt like it didn’t teach me much, aside from some feminism history and this whole boi culture i was unaware of (the “bois” that are girls, that is). she did make a few good points – that women try too hard to be “one of the guys” and reinforce the idea the being a woman is something that we need to overcome.

anyway, that’s my huge long rambling of the day.
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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