June 17, 2005

Feeling Bad. Feeling Good.

Some days I get alumni newsletters in the mail and I read about all the things my friends are doing with their degrees. They are out there teaching German, running libraries, or having other careers. I sit here at home (or out running around) and all I'm doing is running an in-house population growth study, and managing disagreements, and filling sippy cups and wiping rear-ends and -- well, you get the picture.

Those are the times I start to feel bad. I think what I'm doing is important. If I didn't, I'd be doing something else. Sometimes it just doesn't feel special or interesting, when I hear what everyone else is doing with their degrees.

Then, however, I read an article like New York Metro's Empire of the Alpha Mom linked to by the Llama's and I start feeling pretty good again. I remember that I'm not raising mini-me's or out to turn my kids into a business venture. I don't need a village to take of them, just my husband to take them once in a while when I'm losing my mind, to get them sometimes in the middle of the night and work with me as a partner.

I haven't lost myself by having kids. I've become who I am, which is in part, their mom. I may not wear the latest fashions or have ever had a manicure to worry about, but I can teach them about God, how to read, how to bake cookies, the names of plants, and other things like that. I'm also glad to teach them a little about work, sucking it up and not getting everything they want.

Research may say there is no such thing as spoiled, but it makes me feel a whole lot better to say that my kids don't get everything they want -- not even every cookie or chance to lick their shoes.

I sure as heck don't have this parenting thing down pat. I have a lot to learn on the job and some days I want to trade the whole bunch of them in or hire a village to watch them, but suddenly Isabel Kallman has made me feel pretty empowered. I can do this. I don't have to be perfect. My kids aren't perfect. We're all perfectly normal and not Type-A freaks.


I have had to convince myself that there are no right answers to this scenario of life... I would give anything to stay with squink, but I love working... if I could take squink to work with me... I would be in heaven... but, I wonder if there are not just many possible ways to do this...
BTW - as an anthropologist, I would say it takes a village, I always say that the more people that love my son, the better off he and others will be... if I protect him from the world outside, and don't let others in to see how precious his life is... what would be the point.

And as a side note... I consider you a part of his village, just as I would consider myself a part of the one for your children...

Posted by: Blair at June 17, 2005 07:19 PM

Isabel and Craig are on the road to divorce and Ryland will become a heroin addict on the streets of Amsterdam.

Just reading about this woman makes me nervous. Wait until Tom Wolfe gets hold of her.

It's telling that when she is told that closeness is important that she hires someone else to do closeness for her.

Posted by: Janis at June 17, 2005 07:29 PM

There are different villages, Blair. I think my kids need church, family, etc. They don't need me to hire a night nurse, a nanny, a babysitter, a grandparent and an intern to take care of them. That's the village they don't need.

Posted by: Jordana at June 17, 2005 08:16 PM

Isabel is not interested in being a mom, but it's way cool to be part of the "mom project".

If you are an aggressive go-getter in this day, having a child is part of the experience.

That is not an insult to Blair. I know women who are mothers and professionals. They do and have done well.

Posted by: Janis at June 17, 2005 08:40 PM

Of course, I was not meaning to slight all working moms. One can obviously work, use a day care or nanny and still be mom.

Posted by: Jordana at June 17, 2005 09:37 PM

I feel the same way when I read about interesting things someof my former classmates are doing. I'm going to have to go and read the article you mention later though...

Posted by: chris at June 18, 2005 12:50 PM

I had this odd "panic" after child #1. It was the first time I had been "unemployed" since I was 15. I felt odd, out of sorts, confused about my new purpose.

I am the best Mom I know how to be, and am enjoying it now...I wish I would not have wasted all of that time feeling guilty and odd about being at home.

I felt like my working girlfriends were judging me, they thought I was judging them. Weird. It does not matter what other people think at the end of the day...we all know that.

I don't know know how my working friends work, and they don't know how I can stay at home all day. We have all agreed to respect and honor each others choice.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at June 18, 2005 04:51 PM

The other thing I failed to mention in the beginning part of my babble was that all the working friends who are out doing something are single or at least childless. I'm not even comparing myself to people doing what I'm doing and then working a job on top of it. Silly of me...

Posted by: Jordana at June 18, 2005 04:59 PM

Yeah. I feel better now! I don't have the finances to hire a childcare machine, but I prefer my life to that poor woman's! Grace, by the way, is a wonderful thing!

Posted by: Lenise at June 19, 2005 07:51 PM

Oh my, take to long from checking back in to comments sections and you miss a whole bunch.
First, I was not saying anything about what you said about villages, I was just saying (albeit badly) that villages are important. I should have gone on to say that the ones that work on altruism are the best as then you have people who are truly invested in the child, where as, some folks have to purchase their village and while it is because of the lifestyle they choose, it has benefits... but not the same benefits as the altruistic village. blah, blah, blah.... I prefer an altruistic village any day!

I think the working vs at home mom conundrum is fascinating. I do not begrudge my friends choices and admit openly that I am jealous of that time they get... however, I know myself enough to know that while I could do it, I think I make a much better mother as a working one, with one caveat... my priority is still my child... which, in the long run is the same thing as any other mother that I admire...

Posted by: blair at June 22, 2005 11:42 AM