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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently read the book "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage" by Elizabeth Gilbert, the same author who wrote "Eat, Pray, Love."

http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

Has anyone else read this book and care to share their thoughts about marriage, family, staying at home for the children, or building a career, or trying to do both?

I am personally very conflicted, more than usual, as I've posted about my struggle and journey in the past, but after reading Elizabeth Gilbert's advice, more or less, I just feel like I've got some more thinking to do on this topic.

OK, so anyone who reads Ms. Gilbert's work (or looks at the title of the book, really) sees that she is a skeptic about marriage, but that she makes peace with it and that she eventually ends up finding love and marrying a second time after a nasty divorce and lots of self-reflection and self-exploration which is written about in "Eat, Pray, Love."

Elizabeth seems to have, in my opinion, fairly solid advice for teen and 20-something women. Don't go boy crazy, find yourself, finish your education, build a career. Then think about marriage and family. She cites many statistics about men benefiting more from marriage financially and with regard to health and living longer lives. Women on the other hand, her stats and studies show, are happier, wealthier, more fit, and live longer the longer they wait to get married.

OK, I was pretty much nodding my head on this part because I see where she is coming from. I get it. I did those things. College? Check. Career before baby? Check. Trying to juggle career and baby? Check.

But then, sort of out of nowhere, Elizabeth drops the story about her own mother (a part time nurse for Planned Parenthood in the 70s) who gave up her career when Elizabeth and her sister got the chicken pox at a young age and caring for her children conflicted with her work schedule of an out of town conference. And Elizabeth Gilbert says that her mother's sacrifice of career for family really benefited her sister and herself when they were kids. She goes on to say that her childhood was much better after her mother quit working, and her mother always being home to greet them at the door after school allowed her the stability to study hard, do well in school, and become the accomplished person she is today.

Whoa. What the??????

I read this section of the book and felt my sinking heart and panic.

I work. I work part time. It's hard. It's hard because I miss A LOT of my pre-school age child's activities. ALL THE TIME. My job causes a lot of stress for me, for my child, for my husband. I have meetings and my husband has to take time off from his job to fill in the gaps of childcare. We spend boat loads of our money on child care from other people. It was our second largest expense last year.

Yes, some days my child likes day care, but after several days of it, there are the pleas that we have a "stay-at-home day." We never get to do anything except on weekends, and then it's usually just catching up on laundry, dishes, groceries, all that stuff. I am too exhausted at the end of the day after working to really read a story to my child, or teach anything. I fall asleep at 8 p.m. and it's a major accomplishment if I go to work AND do a load of laundry in a single day or go to work AND manage a quick run to the grocery store. We constantly are out of clean clothes, food, and my house is a mess.

There just isn't enough time.

But, on the other hand, I like that my child can go to a really good day care, something that just wouldn't happen financially if I weren't working. We are not a family that could afford a stay-at-home mother and preschool. I like that I earn my own money and I could support this family through some sort of crisis if need be, and I like that once a year I see my retirement statement and it looks pretty good.

And every once in a while, I love my job and the things I work on, and have good days. Most days are tedious and I'm tired, but some days I think, "OK, this is why I am doing this. I see the end goal." Of course, I had those sort of conclusive days as a stay-at-home mom, too.

Everyone says it gets so much easier when your children are school aged, but kindergarten is looming for us, and you know what? I don't think it will get any easier. Not schedule wise. My child now already goes to day care the same schedule as the regular kindergarten and grade school schedule, and I have to work part time, not full time, to accommodate this. To drop a child off at school at 8:00 a.m. and pick up by 3:30 p.m. - well, that just isn't a 40 hour work week. It doesn't line up. Yes, before and after school care is available, but then my child is very cranky, and we are rushed 5 days a week out of 7.

I am feeling very, very, very unnerved by this book, and by my doubts that I made the right choices.

Maybe what Elizabeth is saying is prepare yourself to be yourself and find out what you want. To do that, get an education and your own career before marriage and children. Then do what you want. But she didn't really say that. I just interpreting her meaning to try to make sense out of the conflicting stories she gave.

And if there is no resolution of those conflicts, well, than that is just unfair to women and to mothers. And it's unnerving to me personally.

While out to dinner, without our child there, I told my DH about the book, what the author had written, and about my fears and self doubt. He listened to my whole story, but had a very blank look on his face the entire time, and when I finished, he looked at me and said, "I have to pee. I'm going to the bathroom." Which he then did, and when he came back he just resumed eating his food, and didn't say anything about the book or anything I had just said to him.

Please share your thoughts about this, especially if you have also read her book.

Thank you.
 

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post

I am feeling very, very, very unnerved by this book, and by my doubts that I made the right choices.

I think that Ms. Gilbert was using her freedom of speech in sharing her stories and life views. She has had her own journey that has helped her to come to her conclusions about her life views. Her views are neither right or wrong, regardless of whatever statistics she uses to validate her point... they are just HER views. We can all find statistics to validate our views.


Therefore, I wonder if your feelings of unnerved-ness have more to do with YOUR doubts about your life choices than her views of life and parenting? Perhaps, this book is a great motivator for you to reflect, adjust and work with your feelings of doubt?

I love books like that... the ones that bring up difficult feelings because they force me to reflect and, oftentime, make changes to my life or views.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
I think that Ms. Gilbert was using her freedom of speech in sharing her stories and life views. She has had her own journey that has helped her to come to her conclusions about her life views. Her views are neither right or wrong, regardless of whatever statistics she uses to validate her point... they are just HER views. We can all find statistics to validate our views.


Therefore, I wonder if your feelings of unnerved-ness have more to do with YOUR doubts about your life choices than her views of life and parenting? Perhaps, this book is a great motivator for you to reflect, adjust and work with your feelings of doubt?

I love books like that... the ones that bring up difficult feelings because they force me to reflect and, oftentime, make changes to my life or views.
Thank you.

Yes, you are correct. They are her views. Obviously, I am not following in Elizabeth Gilbert's path and letting her direct my life. Obviously, I made all my choices long before any of her books came out.

I just think her conclusions are inconsistent and incongruent with her opinion that having a stay-at-home nurse for a mom who quit her nursing career to raise the author and her sister and how that really benefited them as children.

And I wonder what the outcome of my own choices (and also those made out of necessity) will be for my own child. What will he say when he is in his 20s?

Elizabeth Gilbert says her mom quit working and that benefitted her sister and herself, but she also says that he father was a willing and good provider. That he wasn't willing, based on how he was raised and entered marriage, to help his wife out when the kids had chicken pox and his wife was supposed to be attending a Planned Parenthood conference in New England for work but he was willing to be the provider for the family, and did so after the mom quit working. And that her parents are still happily married some 30 years later.

I am not really "choosing" to work. It's not as though my husband said, "honey, make a choice. I'll support you either way."

My husband is not happy to be a provider, and he would not support my decision to stay home, and he certainly wouldn't think it best for our family.

But then my husband had a stay-at-home mother himself and he came to a different conclusion than Elizabeth Gilbert.

I guess I'm feeling panicked that I can't even really make this choice and it might be the wrong path I'm leading my child down. And, yes, I most certainly had this self-doubt before reading "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Committed."

 

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post

I just think her conclusions are inconsistent and incongruent with her opinion that having a stay-at-home nurse for a mom who quit her nursing career to raise the author and her sister and how that really benefited them as children.
She also doesn't have any children. I think if she had a child, her views would change again. Sometimes our opinions are not suppose to be consistent and congruent, as a person's journey is not ever fully over.

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post

And I wonder what the outcome of my own choices (and also those made out of necessity) will be for my own child. What will he say when he is in his 20s?
Personally, I don't worry too much about future outcomes. I try to ALWAYS make the best decision based on the present moment. I cannot predict the future (sure the heck didn't see divorce and solo mamahood of a 2 month old in my future
) , so I refuse to try anymore.

Additionally, I am a solo mom and I have NO choice but to work. Ds has been in childcare since he was 6 months old (he is currently 6 years old).

I teach my ds that we make the best decisions when we focus on the present moment. Therefore, I hope that when he is in his 20s, he will say, "I know she made the best choices for our family in the moment." When he has a child of his own... he will understand even more.

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I guess I'm feeling panicked that I can't even really make this choice and it might be the wrong path I'm leading my child down.
IMO, I think that any choice you make for your own happiness will not be the wrong path for your child. A happy mama raises a happy dc. Additionally, what do most parents want for their children... for them to be happy. Therefore, I feel we need to role-model with happy looks like for our children.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
She also doesn't have any children. I think if she had a child, her views would change again. Sometimes our opinions are not suppose to be consistent and congruent, as a person's journey is not ever fully over.
You know, that is a very key point, and one that first made me dismiss her altogether, but then I read again what she wrote and really started thinking about it, and how inconsistent it was.

But, yes, I felt the same way. She doesn't have children, and has said she didn't want children.

She makes many statements how she never wanted to marry again, but then comes to a different conclusion and does remarry.

So, yes, her perspective would likely change had she had children. I think it was just the incongruence of her advice that hit me the wrong way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
Personally, I don't worry too much about future outcomes. I try to ALWAYS make the best decision based on the present moment. I cannot predict the future (sure the heck didn't see divorce and solo mamahood of a 2 month old in my future
) , so I refuse to try anymore.

Additionally, I am a solo mom and I have NO choice but to work. Ds has been in childcare since he was 6 months old (he is currently 6 years old).

I teach my ds that we make the best decisions when we focus on the present moment. Therefore, I hope that when he is in his 20s, he will say, "I know she made the best choices for our family in the moment." When he has a child of his own... he will understand even more.
Yeah, I can't worry too much about future outcomes, but they do seep into my mind, of course. I am keeping my family financially afloat and that is an immediate need.

Some people may be willing to go into debt to stay-at-home. Or they may not worry about the "what-ifs" and rainy days. I don't think I can do that. I've had a lot of rainy days in my life.

I do feel I am doing the best I can right now with what I have. But I don't really feel it was a choice to work or not work.


Your comment about being a solo mother and having no choice but to work struck me. I too feel the same way as I struggle with a rocky marriage, not that if my marriage were great that my husband would ever support a SAHP. No way.

But I have a friend who thinks that all married women have choices to work or not work because they can rely on their husbands. That hasn't been my experience at all, but she firmly believes that.

Of course, there are some mothers here on MDC that I've talked to who are single parents and still stay-at-home. They make choices I'm not comfortable making, but they are staying-at-home without a spouse's income.

I know that if I get divorced, I will definitely be working full time the rest of my life.

But even if I stay married, I'll likely always be working either part time or full time not because it's firm in my heart or makes me happy, but because it's what is necessary to keep my family in the black, out of debt, able to do things, and to keep myself safe in case of a rainy day...oh, yeah, and to have some fulfillment from a career, too, but that is not a be all, end all source of happiness for me.

I don't want to stay-at-home as much as I want the option of doing so for a few years if it makes sense, and to be able to go back to my career when it makes sense, but I just don't think that is possible and that is really sad for women in general.

I took off 3 years to be a SAHM and I think that is about all the capacity my career has for that sort of a break away.
 

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
You know, that is a very key point, and one that first made me dismiss her altogether, but then I read again what she wrote and really started thinking about it, and how inconsistent it was.

But, yes, I felt the same way. She doesn't have children, and has said she didn't want children.

She makes many statements how she never wanted to marry again, but then comes to a different conclusion and does remarry.

So, yes, her perspective would likely change had she had children. I think it was just the incongruence of her advice that hit me the wrong way.
If it wasn't for the immigration issue, I don't think she would have gotten married -- and ultimately, written this book. It was about her journey of how she came to terms with marrying again. A great reminder to never say never!


I didn't read her book as though she was giving advice, though. I just read it as her sharing the journey, and research, she undertook to come to terms with her thoughts and beliefs about marriage and family.


Life is always changing... our views are always changing... we are always changing. That is the beauty of life, imo... nothing ever stays the same!
 

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post

Your comment about being a solo mother and having no choice but to work struck me. I too feel the same way as I struggle with a rocky marriage, not that if my marriage were great that my husband would ever support a SAHP. No way.

Of course, there are some mothers here on MDC that I've talked to who are single parents and still stay-at-home. They make choices I'm not comfortable making, but they are staying-at-home without a spouse's income.

Yes, and they are very few and far between.

Again, I don't have a choice, but to work. ONLY because the kind of life I want for myself and my ds requires me to work.

Because I want a life that will always require full-time work, I have learned to embrace it and make other choices that make the work -- and time away from ds -- worth it. Such as the job I currently have as a teacher and the career I am in the process of pursuing as I return to grad school to fulfill my passion.

That is just my life perspective and view. It isn't for everyone. We all have to do what is best for ourselves and our lives and family, which is exactly how I read Gilbert's book. She was just sharing her process of deciding what was best for her and her life based on her life experiences and views.
 

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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
I didn't read her book as though she was giving advice, though. I just read it as her sharing the journey, and research, she undertook to come to terms with her thoughts and beliefs about marriage and family.
I read her book and then listened to some interviews and she definitely was doling out advice in the interviews.

Again, though, I think it's important to reiterate that she doesn't have children herself.

So, it's probably not very instructive to take her example that having a SAHM herself growing up was good for her, but that women should focus on career and education and delay marriage.

There are good things to take from each.

Someone else said that it often is best for mom to work but best for the kids to have a SAHP. It's the competing interests of the home that make it so challenging for women.
 

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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
Yes, and they are very few and far between.

Again, I don't have a choice, but to work. ONLY because the kind of life I want for myself and my ds requires me to work..
But is it ONLY because of the kind of life you want for yourself and your DS? I'm sure there are other reasons at play, or at least I would think so.

I work to provide my DS and myself with a certain level of comfort. It's not extravagent. We're definitely middle class.

I suppose I could use programs such as WIC, food stamps, housing assistance, and cash assistance to stay-at-home but that seems like a reduced standard of living, for the most part, unles you are being gifted items from others or perhaps not claiming all income. I know others would argue that but I grew up impoverished with subsistence on these programs and it was no fun for me as a kid.

I don't ever want to be hungry and cold again. So I work. And it has kept my family going.

Could we make it on DH's income alone? Probably not very well and for not very long. The only reason I was able to stay at home for a few years was due to DH's income and the money I saved from working for years ahead of having a baby.

Could we cut way, way back and move to a lower cost of living area? Maybe. But that would be hard to find jobs in our fields in a low cost of living state. We pretty much need to be urban and high cost of living metro area for our fields.

I think you should be very proud of making ends meet on your solo salary. Trust me, it's something I've given much thought to as my marriage had endured rocky patches and it's a major reason I have remained working despite being bone tired, tapped, and stressed most of the time.



I just hope 20 years from now my son doesn't ask why he had to spend so much time in day care or afterschool programs or something like that. I hope he'll have a good image of women working and that women can do anything because his mom had a career and that he'll treat women with respect because of that. I hope he isn't resentful or feels like I loved my career more or something.
 

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Someone else said that it often is best for mom to work but best for the kids to have a SAHP.
I disagree. I don't think it is so black and white nor is it so easy to generalize something so broad and complex.

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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
It's the competing interests of the home that make it so challenging for women.
Personally, I think it is the judgement of others, particularly other mothers, that make it so challenging for women.
 

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But is it ONLY because of the kind of life you want for yourself and your DS? I'm sure there are other reasons at play, or at least I would think so.
Hmm, the only other reason I can see would be the fact that I enjoy working. And now, I as start to pursue my life passion/path in grad school, it is even more fulfilling.

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I think you should be very proud of making ends meet on your solo salary.
Oh, and I am VERY proud of the life I have made for ds and me. VERY proud!

Quote:
I just hope 20 years from now my son doesn't ask why he had to spend so much time in day care or afterschool programs or something like that. I hope he'll have a good image of women working and that women can do anything because his mom had a career and that he'll treat women with respect because of that. I hope he isn't resentful or feels like I loved my career more or something.
I think that if you feel guilty about him being in day care/afterschool programs, he will also pick up on that and feel negative about the situation.

I don't approach our situation like that. I approach it from a more positive view. "Ds, you are so lucky to have had so many wonderful caregivers. Remember when so-and-so did this for you? You have so many people in your family that love you!" Or "You are so lucky to get extra time to play with your school friends afterschool."

When he expresses something negative, such as "I don't want to go to afterschool today. I just want to come home and relax with you." I always say something like, "I understand and agree with you that would be very nice. So, how about after I pick you up from afterschool, we go do something special together?" Or if it is not possible right afterschool, we make special plans for the weekend.

It ALL depends on how you approach the situation, in regards to how he feels about the situation.
 

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Okay well my first bias is that not only can we not provide our kids with "a perfect childhood" - we shouldn't really try to.

I'm not talking about being detached or putting ourselves first. But when we assume that any difficulty in our kids' lives means disaster, I think we are doing them a disservice. So, I don't really care what is perfect. I care about what is good enough. I don't think Elizabeth Gilbert can judge that without having her own actual children. Because what is good enough for one child isn't for another, and so on.

I think from reading your posts is what's missing in your life is not more balance or time, but more joy. I think that's a lot to do with your partnership (or lack thereof) and not to do with whether you work or not.

I work full time and so does my husband. My son occasionally wants a day off from his daycare/school - and heck so do I. Sometimes we can take one and sometimes we can't. But we have lots of fun and that's what makes it all work.

I'd encourage you to take from your experience of reading the book that you need more fun. You can have fun doing the chores or have fun by ignoring them or by stopping off at a park on the way home or having a family picnic dinner in front of a DVD, whatever, but have some fun. And I mean have it, don't feel guilty about not having it.
 

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I wonder what she would've said about her childhood had her mother kept working?

I used to say that everyone was entitled to give parenting advice because we were all children once, and were parented. Now that I'm a mother, I do think there should be more weight given to those who ARE parenting. Gilbert is not. I imagine her writings would be a lot different if she were a mother.

My mother worked from the time I was six months old, and was a single mom. I have zero resentment about her choices. She's a strong feminist, and raised me well. I never felt a lack of care or attention. However, I was put into some dangerous childcare situations (unbeknownst to her and to her great despair once finding out) as a result of her needing to work, so with my child, I will be more vigilant about that. I've only been back to work for a few weeks, and only very part time (2 days a week, 12 hour shifts) so my partner and sister and mom have been looking after her so far.

Do I want to be a SAHM? Sure! But I won't be, for a few reasons.
1. I need to maintain my license (paramedic) and that means working shifts.
2. I value my skills as a paramedic, and that it would allow me to support us if DP was suddenly unable to work.
3. We live in a high COL area, and require two incomes unless we're willing to move.
4. I also work as a writer, and that's a passion that I will never give up. Even if I wanted to write full time, I still wouldn't give up my paramedic license. I have published nine books and am fairly successful in my genre, but you never know, and with the economy tanking recently, I want to keep up my "real life skill."
5. Part of my identity is as a paramedic and writer, in addition to wife and mama.
6. I value modeling my work life to my daughter, and as she grows up, I believe she will be proud of the work that I do, both writing and being a paramedic.

Am I conflicted about working? You bet! Why?
1. I worry for DD's safety when I'm not with her, even when she is with trusted family members.
2. I enjoy spending time with her and miss her when we're apart.
3. I do believe that a parent is the best caregiver.
4. If we have to start paying for childcare, I'm not sure the math will add up.

I sometimes wish that DP would stay home with her. She's a chef, so she also works long days. She's at the height of her career though, and even though she'd love to stay home with DD, it's her time to shine in her position. We're doing a lot of tag team parenting right now. When I go full-time back to work, perhaps things will change.

Interesting thread. Thank you.

ps. I have to admit that I find Gilbert's writing to be overly simplistic when it comes to complex life matters. It's easy to write about life, and a lot harder to live it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
I wonder what she would've said about her childhood had her mother kept working?

I used to say that everyone was entitled to give parenting advice because we were all children once, and were parented. Now that I'm a mother, I do think there should be more weight given to those who ARE parenting. Gilbert is not. I imagine her writings would be a lot different if she were a mother.

My mother worked from the time I was six months old, and was a single mom. I have zero resentment about her choices. She's a strong feminist, and raised me well. I never felt a lack of care or attention. However, I was put into some dangerous childcare situations (unbeknownst to her and to her great despair once finding out) as a result of her needing to work, so with my child, I will be more vigilant about that. I've only been back to work for a few weeks, and only very part time (2 days a week, 12 hour shifts) so my partner and sister and mom have been looking after her so far.

Do I want to be a SAHM? Sure! But I won't be, for a few reasons.
1. I need to maintain my license (paramedic) and that means working shifts.
2. I value my skills as a paramedic, and that it would allow me to support us if DP was suddenly unable to work.
3. We live in a high COL area, and require two incomes unless we're willing to move.
4. I also work as a writer, and that's a passion that I will never give up. Even if I wanted to write full time, I still wouldn't give up my paramedic license. I have published nine books and am fairly successful in my genre, but you never know, and with the economy tanking recently, I want to keep up my "real life skill."
5. Part of my identity is as a paramedic and writer, in addition to wife and mama.
6. I value modeling my work life to my daughter, and as she grows up, I believe she will be proud of the work that I do, both writing and being a paramedic.

Am I conflicted about working? You bet! Why?
1. I worry for DD's safety when I'm not with her, even when she is with trusted family members.
2. I enjoy spending time with her and miss her when we're apart.
3. I do believe that a parent is the best caregiver.
4. If we have to start paying for childcare, I'm not sure the math will add up.

I sometimes wish that DP would stay home with her. She's a chef, so she also works long days. She's at the height of her career though, and even though she'd love to stay home with DD, it's her time to shine in her position. We're doing a lot of tag team parenting right now. When I go full-time back to work, perhaps things will change.

Interesting thread. Thank you.

ps. I have to admit that I find Gilbert's writing to be overly simplistic when it comes to complex life matters. It's easy to write about life, and a lot harder to live it.
I really like your post. Thank you. I agree with basically everything you said, and I work for all the same reasons, and would like to stay home for all the same reasons. I don't feel any guilt about either situation, and it's not as cut and dried as many seem to think. I am not compelled to do one over the other, really, except that I have to pay bills and want to maintain a career and don't think I can take another hiatus after being a SAHM for 3 years (using savings from when I worked). I was lucky to get back into my career and to leave again for any time would be more than a little dicey, I think.

Yes, I think Gilbert is sort of simplistic. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
My mother worked from the time I was six months old, and was a single mom. I have zero resentment about her choices. She's a strong feminist, and raised me well. I never felt a lack of care or attention.
You should be proud of your mother, from what you wrote. She sounds very strong and very worthy of pride and respect.

I am sort of the opposite. My mom was also single, but she never worked. She subsisted on public assistance and food stamps. She never worked a day in her life my entire childhood, including the time after I left and put myself through college. I always wished that my mother would have worked.

She also had too many unplanned pregnancies and didn't really take care of her children. Yes, I am sure her life was hard, but I have seen and heard of so many examples of women who got their lives together with similar circumstances. My mother never did.

And for being a stay-at-home person without a job, she certainly wasn't a better mom for it. She was a terrible mother and never had an ounce of interest in anything I did, and she never attended school functions or anything. I don't really remember her doing much of anything for her kids.

She had all the time in the world (not enough money, but definitely a lot of time) and she didn't spend it on her kids.

So, I'm sure that framed a lot of what I think. I put myself through college (very important to me) and I was always very smart about things and well behaved...very responsible...and I focused on establishing a good career, work ethic, and job history.

But I lack time with my child. I do. I miss things at his school all the time. I can't attend activities like the stay-at-home moms can.

And this week he was the only child who didn't have Valentines to hand out because I simply did not find the time to go and buy them...I had an extremely busy week at work and a very important meeting to prep and run, and I didn't get around to getting the darn Valentines.

So, it's things like that. Missing out on his moments when I want to be there but I have things going on at work. I make an effort, but, gosh, it's hard to juggle everything.

It's a major accomplishment to have enough groceries to pack his lunch and if he has clean clothes to wear to school.
 

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I was very frustrated by Eat, Pray, Love and it sounds like I would be even more so with Committed. I am not that interested in parenting advice from a non-parent. But, here is an alternative perspective.

My mom was home with us while we were very young. She went back to school around the time I entered 3rd grade and at some point began working part time. She was there when we got home from school, almost always. Dinner was on the table by 6pm every night.

You know what my mom regrets most about her life? That her career never amounted to much. She had wanted to be a doctor, but was discouraged from that path because she was a woman. She became a teacher instead. When she went back to work, she took courses in accounting and became a bookkeeper. She's a real numbers person. But at some point, bookkeeping becomes pretty routine. She could have been an accountant and she thinks she would have liked it. By the time that career choice was available to her, she was "too scared and too old" in her own words.

My parents have a good marriage. My dad did a lot of kid stuff, a lot of school volunteering stuff, but almost no house stuff and my mom resented that. Maybe if she had worked more, she would have been able to get him to step up to the plate. I don't know. I know she resented (and resents) the lack of help. And I know that my own marriage - to a man who really pulls his weight - is sometimes still shaped by her resentment.

I think she would have been better off if she had worked more. And it's possible that I would have been better off too.
 

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That Is Nice - I didn't see the post about your mother and about the valentines before I posted. I can understand why you're sad. I know the feeling that clean clothes and good food is a triumph and some weeks, I don't have more in me.

You know, in a different marriage, you could have asked your DH to take care of the valentines cards.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
But I lack time with my child. I do. I miss things at his school all the time. I can't attend activities like the stay-at-home moms can.

And this week he was the only child who didn't have Valentines to hand out because I simply did not find the time to go and buy them...I had an extremely busy week at work and a very important meeting to prep and run, and I didn't get around to getting the darn Valentines.

So, it's things like that. Missing out on his moments when I want to be there but I have things going on at work. I make an effort, but, gosh, it's hard to juggle everything.

It's a major accomplishment to have enough groceries to pack his lunch and if he has clean clothes to wear to school.

I've had months like that too. I am NOT criticizing, just sharing that what I've done is laid in a supply of things - VDay cards for next year, a couple presents for birthdays, some goodies, a box of snack-ok stuff in the back of the cupboard - so that we have a sort of base level of preparation. That helps lower my stress a bit.

My mum was a SAHP and she never remembered the Valentines or bake sale stuff, and I don't resent that at all, just FYI.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
I was very frustrated by Eat, Pray, Love and it sounds like I would be even more so with Committed. I am not that interested in parenting advice from a non-parent. But, here is an alternative perspective.

My mom was home with us while we were very young. She went back to school around the time I entered 3rd grade and at some point began working part time. She was there when we got home from school, almost always. Dinner was on the table by 6pm every night.

You know what my mom regrets most about her life? That her career never amounted to much. She had wanted to be a doctor, but was discouraged from that path because she was a woman. She became a teacher instead. When she went back to work, she took courses in accounting and became a bookkeeper. She's a real numbers person. But at some point, bookkeeping becomes pretty routine. She could have been an accountant and she thinks she would have liked it. By the time that career choice was available to her, she was "too scared and too old" in her own words.

My parents have a good marriage. My dad did a lot of kid stuff, a lot of school volunteering stuff, but almost no house stuff and my mom resented that. Maybe if she had worked more, she would have been able to get him to step up to the plate. I don't know. I know she resented (and resents) the lack of help. And I know that my own marriage - to a man who really pulls his weight - is sometimes still shaped by her resentment.

I think she would have been better off if she had worked more. And it's possible that I would have been better off too.
Thank you for this post. Really, thank you. I posted the original post on Sunday, a day I tend to reflect only because I'm usually not as rushed as the rest of the week. I had just read "Committed" and had read some interviews by EG.

Your first paragraph sums up how I feel right now. You know, I too was frustrated with E, P, L and very frustrated with Committed. She is a non-parent and so, I'm not going to take parenting advice from her. But I am not sure it was really parenting advice. I think now that she was probably just trying to show how it doesn't really add up for women.

I totally agree with her other advice, the advice for women. Don't get married right away, at least not until you've gotten your education, established a career, and gotten your own life a little more stable and explored. I totally agree with that.

The part that totally gnawed at me was that she benefited so much as a child from her mom's sacrifices to stay-at-home rather than pursue a career.

But your story about your own mom is sort of how I feel about my mom. My mom, and my family, would have been so much better off had my mom gotten a job at some point when I was a kid. We were so strapped for cash, and poor, yet my mom never worked.

So, of course, being a provider is foremost in my mind as I figure out how to be a parent myself. The first goal is to make sure my child never goes without necessities like I did when I was a kid.

But, more than that, I want my child to also know women can and do do everything they want, maybe just not all at the same time. I want my child to have respect for women in the workplace.

And, also, I don't want to be the woman without my own retirement, without my own purse strings, so to speak. I don't want to be a financial burden to my child at any point in his life.
 
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