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Carol in Cal.

Interesting, reflective article about work/life balance for mothers

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Might get myself bashed, but maybe we could learn from men in this regard.

 

I don't agree that you can't be one thing at work and another at home.

 

I have many thoughts about why this is hard for many women.  For one thing, it's hard period.  It's all work.  We tend to be perfectionists about our responsibilities, at least when we first start out.  Some of us are control freaks - nobody can do it better than we can.  We need to learn through experience not to over-estimate the importance of certain things, and not to under-estimate the importance of other things.

 

Then there is external pressure to prove something.  Whether it's that I care enough about my kids, or about my job, or that I'm competent, or that my kids are turning out OK.  We need to learn not to give a damn about the opinions of non-parents, culturally different parents, and pretty much everybody else.  And, we need to understand that comparisons are good for nothing.

 

We need to be brave enough to show people that there's a third way to do things when they only thought of two ways.

 

Many professionally successful women are childless, but many successful women have kids - some have a bunch of them.  Some are single mothers.  How do they do it?  Generally, they do it the third way, whatever that happens to be.

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Is there a reason why we need to bash moms who work outside the home on the chat board? I don't agree with this blog post either for reasons I've explained thoroughly elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the roles she prescribes for women and assumptions she makes about the pursuit of excellence and achievement as the antithesis of good mothering are anathema to me.

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Might get myself bashed, but maybe we could learn from men in this regard.

 

I don't agree that you can't be one thing at work and another at home.

 

I have many thoughts about why this is hard for many women.  For one thing, it's hard period.  It's all work.  We tend to be perfectionists about our responsibilities, at least when we first start out.  Some of us are control freaks - nobody can do it better than we can.  We need to learn through experience not to over-estimate the importance of certain things, and not to under-estimate the importance of other things.

 

Then there is external pressure to prove something.  Whether it's that I care enough about my kids, or about my job, or that I'm competent, or that my kids are turning out OK.  We need to learn not to give a damn about the opinions of non-parents, culturally different parents, and pretty much everybody else.  And, we need to understand that comparisons are good for nothing.

 

We need to be brave enough to show people that there's a third way to do things when they only thought of two ways.

 

Many professionally successful women are childless, but many successful women have kids - some have a bunch of them.  Some are single mothers.  How do they do it?  Generally, they do it the third way, whatever that happens to be.

 

SKL, I know you can be one thing at work and another at home, but personally when I worked in engineering I found that extremely difficult.  I felt like I was changing my whole persona on the way to and from work every single day.  Pairing that with DD's misery at being left behind, I was utterly unhappy for an entire year until I got out from under this.

 

I know there are lots of types of jobs, and lots of types of parents, and lots of different circumstances. 

 

For me, I think the article resonated because it described my own situation so well.  I would never assume that it's universal, though--I certainly know better than that.

 

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You're right. It's not bashing. It's insulting...to everyone.

 

The author says...

 

"the personal qualities required by professional work are directly opposed to the qualities that childrearing demands. They are fundamentally different existential orientations, and the conflict between them is permanent." Ohhhhhkay. Somehow my DH manages this work/life thing and no one questions it.

 

She writes that mothering requires nothing more than...

 

"Worship and love: These require no particular talent or cultivation of the sort I have been describing. They are gifts of the self, not achievements of the self."

 

So being a good mom requires zero talent, learning or growth just lots of love, huh?

 

The author claims that women who work outside the home...

 

"reap the rewards of all this focused work: promotion, money, attractiveness, and, most important of all, honor and recognition, much of it well deserved. They then expect to transfer this mentality and the same kind of pursuit of excellence directly into motherhood and childrearing."

 

That's news to me. SAHMs ought not/don't have any of those desires or characteristics because they're in 'contemplative leisure' mode?

 

If this bit speaks to you and your situation, great, but it doesn't paint anyone in an especially positive light, including the author herself. I am not called to martyr myself to raise my children. Neither does working outside the home require that I completely change who I am.

Edited by Sneezyone
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I didn't take it as bashing, I just felt like it was written by someone from another planet where there are no actual children.  :P  Like many articles out of academia.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was actually the work of a young student inexperienced in both work and parenthood.

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Speaking of the "leisure" word choice ... the other day I had a work-lunch with a woman who is just coming back to paid work after 16 years as a stay at home mom.  Oh my goodness is she intense.  It was as if her life depended on my being impressed with how gifted her adult children are (whom I have not met), how many places she's traveled to, and a few other things.  Meanwhile I'm laid-back to a fault at the office, LOL.  (That's why I usually work at home.)

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I heard the article in a different tone and found it reflective rather than argumentative. I appreciated her exploring via contrast working in industry vs. nurturing in the home, how different they are from one another, and the tension that lies therein given the context of feminism and "having it all"- hence the article title "no happy harmony".  

Edited by LarlaB
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I think it's ... dumb.

 

I didn't find it particularly enlightening or reflective or insulting so much as simple minded. And I have a First Things subscription, so it's not like I generally hate the mag itself.

 

Parenting is not just giving love. It is full of achievements and plans too. And kids do not need nor require a parent's undivided all consuming attention. And though people may behave differently at work than at home, it should not be some kind of split personality problem.

 

And she never addressed the root of the questions her female students are asking.

 

The bottom line is love doesn't just wait forever. And neither does fertility. Or career opportunities. Women, just like men, cannot have it all. They have to make choices and sacrifices and compromises. And that's not bad but it is something they have to deal with as grown up in reality. It's really not something their professor can answer for them. Because while one woman might forever regret taking the career opportunity that meant leaving a fiancé behind or putting off children until mid to late thirties, another woman might spend her whole life wishing she had.

 

Men suffer these same internal conflicts. The difference is men don't view it as a verdict for or against their manhood and don't presume to judge other men for how they came to their own decisions.

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Shockingly biased. Deeply unscholarly.

 

... many come from conservative Christian backgrounds, where the natural differences between men and women are cele­brated and mothers often stay at home. They appreciate that a woman’s role in the family is something unique and valuable...

The preconceptions go on for miles. Emphasis mine.

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I agree with Sneezy and SKL - this person doesn't seem to have any actual experience with motherhood or working, and I do find it a little insulting. 

 

I've done it all - I worked full time from before my oldest was born, went back when she was 7 weeks old and worked full time until she was 11.  She was in group daycare and public school.  When she was 11, I had ds and stayed home until he was 8 and younger dd was 6.  I returned to work but they continued homeschooling with a private teacher/nanny.   After 3 years, I quit my job and I've been back home with them for the past year.

 

 

You're right. It's not bashing. It's insulting...to everyone.

The author says...

"the personal qualities required by professional work are directly opposed to the qualities that childrearing demands. They are fundamentally different existential orientations, and the conflict between them is permanent." Ohhhhhkay. Somehow my DH manages this work/life thing and no one questions it.

 

Seriously, millions of men manage to work all day and come home and be nurturing fathers.   I also didn't find the general qualities I used at work - like getting along with others, staying organized, efficiency - to be that different than I use at home, in particular while homeschooling.  Maybe the specifics were different, I'm not doing a whole lot of complex spreadsheets and meeting planning at home.

She writes that mothering requires nothing more than...

"Worship and love: These require no particular talent or cultivation of the sort I have been describing. They are gifts of the self, not achievements of the self."

So being a good mom requires zero talent, learning or growth just lots of love, huh?

 

Yeah, I find being a good mom requires a LOT more than worship and love.  It's a whole lot messier and more tiring than that! 

The author claims that women who work outside the home...

"reap the rewards of all this focused work: promotion, money, attractiveness, and, most important of all, honor and recognition, much of it well deserved. They then expect to transfer this mentality and the same kind of pursuit of excellence directly into motherhood and childrearing."

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :001_rolleyes:  :001_rolleyes: 

Someone needs to tell my old bosses that they didn't do enough.  My job definitely didn't reward me with attractiveness (what the heck does that even mean?) and the honor and recognition weren't really up there either.  

Yes, I was rewarded with money.  That was my entire reason for working.  It's called a paycheck.  


That's news to me. SAHMs ought not/don't have any of those desires or characteristics because they're in 'contemplative leisure' mode?

 

I get recognition from dh, when he shows he appreciates what I do all day.   I certainly feel I'm pursuing excellence in doing the best I can to teach my kids. Not just homeschooling but teaching them to be productive members of society, polite and caring toward others.    

 

If the author does have children, it's kind of sad that she doesn't seem to feel there are any tangible rewards to parenting.

If this bit speaks to you and your situation, great, but it doesn't paint anyone in an especially positive light, including the author herself. I am not called to martyr myself to raise my children. Neither does working outside the home require that I completely change who I am.

 

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I kind of liked it. Well, a lot of people think that there is an innate conflict between women wanting to be an involved mother and wanting to have an involved career. I don't really agree with the author that this is difficult because of the different modes of being in having a career and loving children, which are not nearly as separate as she describes. I think the real issue is just time. To go to work, you leave your kids. Men don't have this issue because they expect the woman to be with them - even if she works, she's the one who has to wonder whether she's doing the right thing and evaluate the daycare options in most marriages. She's the working mom, he's not the working dad. And we can fantasize about alternative realities where kids go to work and work is at home and all of this is organically perfect, but right now few people have that reality. It's either have a professional raise your children or give up your career.

 

At least it's that way for me. I'm a mother of three little ones at home and my intellect is painfully bored and underutilized.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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She seems to have taken a basic problem: "We all have limited time, and therefore we need to prioritize." -- found it in to be fairly challenging her own life as a working mother, and spontaneously concluded that since work-life balance is hard, actually it must be impossible. For women.

 

Then she picks a seemingly-random very sexist line of reasoning to defend her thesis of the impossibility of work-life-balance for female parents: that nurture and achievement just can't co-exist within a mother. (She asserts this in spite of the fact that nurture and achievement co-exist quite nicely in the lives of many working parents.)

 

Really, it sounds like a very long, very defensive letter of resignation from a working mom who really would rather focus on her kids for a season. I don't think she realizes that, "I just want to focus on my kids for a season." -- is nothing to be ashamed of, and no one (other than her unhealthy self-talk) is likely to accuse her of needing a thesis-level defense for her perfectly normal choice.

Edited by bolt.
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I'll admit I haven't finished the article yet, but I find some truth in it. When you don't have kids, you can put a huge amount of energy into yourself--your education, your training, time spent on the job. I taught math for 4 years and worked in industry/engineering for about 4 years before having kids. I can remember spending evenings grading papers, weekends doing prep work, going to conferences or traveling when I worked in industry. After kids, my time and energy goes into my kids. Especially having a disabled child with medical issues--I really could not have gone back to work, unless my husband had stayed home, and frankly he can go further in the workplace than I could have. She has a valid point--you can't put your "everything" into both career and kids, though some careers may be more amenable to time/energy sharing than others.

 

Now that my kids are all older, there is time again that I can devote to me. I'm working on taking courses to get my teaching credential back. Maybe I'll teach part time one of these years. But the costs to doing this when I was more actively raising my kids would have been prohibitive.

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Nobody puts their "everything" into a job, male or female, parent or not.  Even my workaholic single childless friends have many interests, which is necessary to keep re-fueling the worker mind.

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I had difficulties with this article from the very beginning:

 

Career and motherhood will always tragically conflict"

 

This is not what I experienced nor what I observe. It presents challenges, certainly, but "tragically conflict"? That is click bait.

 

Work and family evoke from us two distinct modes of being and of relation to others. The conflicts between these modes cannot, if we are honest with ourselves, be wished away or ignored.

 

I disagree. Work and family do not evoke "distinct modes". There is no conflict between my work persona and my mother persona. Being a mother has brought qualities to my work persona, and vice versa. For example, I have become a better instructor through my experiences as a mother.

 

I do not see any conflict between developing excellence and being a good parent - other than the lack of time and energy, which the author is so adamant are not the problem. Yes, they are. Which is why some women choose to forgo a career that fully uses their potential. However, those women who achieve the professional excellence are not worse mothers - they are just more tired mothers with less time.

 

I am unable to finish the article because of the way it is written and because of the unsubstantiated claims. 

 

Edited by regentrude
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When I worked in engineering, I was driven and a driver, all the time. 

 

Everything was about efficiency.

Pulling together the big picture, troubleshooting line problems FAST, fixing them FAST, writing presentations quickly, making sure that all the right people knew what they needed to know, decision making in groups and individually, calling Europe before 'normal working hours', calling Asia after them, boom boom boom.  It was exhilarating and very fast paced.

 

When I was home, I was patient, on toddler time.  Efficiency was not the goal--relationship was.

 

I used a lot of the same skills, but I was a very different person.  I think that that is common, though not universal, in professional STEM jobs.

 

I'm happy for those who manage this without the split personality feeling that I had, but this article spoke to me specifically because of that.

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I didn't take it as bashing, I just felt like it was written by someone from another planet where there are no actual children. :P Like many articles out of academia. I wouldn't be surprised if this was actually the work of a young student inexperienced in both work and parenthood.

I was wondering the same thing, so I clicked on the author's name and skimmed snippets of a few of her other articles. Apparently, she is a mom. (The article that mentioned her two children was on the topic of abortion, and I didn't link it here because I didn't want to derail Carol's thread.)

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I have many mom friends who are doctors, lawyers, professors, accountants, ....  All of them are warm and patient moms for the most part.  Well, there is one who is a bit high strung, but her husband is the person who has the kid-friendly job and does most of the "patient parenting."

 

I don't know too many female engineers, but the ones I know don't have difficulty relating to kids.  I have to admit the two who come to mind are single and childless, but they are great with their nieces / nephews.

 

The woman writing the article was advising med students IIRC.  I hope that a future doctor doesn't have a personality that is incompatible with family life.  I kind of like my doctors to be personable, patient, calm, and caring.  :)

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She seems to have taken a basic problem: "We all have limited time, and therefore we need to prioritize." -- found it in to be fairly challenging her own life as a working mother, and spontaneously concluded that since work-life balance is hard, actually it must be impossible. For women.

 

Then she picks a seemingly-random very sexist line of reasoning to defend her thesis of the impossibility of work-life-balance for female parents: that nurture and achievement just can't co-exist within a mother. (She asserts this in spite of the fact that nurture and achievement co-exist quite nicely in the lives of many working parents.)

 

Really, it sounds like a very long, very defensive letter of resignation from a working mom who really would rather focus on her kids for a season. I don't think she realizes that, "I just want to focus on my kids for a season." -- is nothing to be ashamed of, and no one (other than her unhealthy self-talk) is likely to accuse her of needing a thesis-level defense for her perfectly normal choice.

 

This.

 

I've spent almost 16 years as a sahm, without any sort of professional life pre-kids.  I don't have any argument against working moms, and I've seen plenty of parents (not gender specific) build awesome lives that work for them.

 

I do, however, fully agree that it's almost impossible for the vast majority of people to "have it all", but that ISN'T employment-specific. It's time, energy, money, and logistics specific.  There are a million things I can't fit into my life because I've chosen to do other things. 

 

*I* am not a good candidate for employment while raising children.  But that's me, as an individual, based on my personality, desires, and the major privilege of not having to. And I still can't do everything I want to.  And I don't have to justify it to anyone!

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"And what do the children themselves desire? They want patience, calm, and the full attention of their mothers, which are exact opposites of what the hectic pace of professional work often requires. Children do not want a parent who is physically present but multitasking; they want that parent to look at them and listen to what they have to say. They want attention as they swim, draw, or play the piano. "

 

So my kids are doomed even though I'm a sahm.  Just sayin'.

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Nobody puts their "everything" into a job, male or female, parent or not. Even my workaholic single childless friends have many interests, which is necessary to keep re-fueling the worker mind.

I feel like I did, prior to parenting. It was part of the motivation to become a SAHM. I couldn't see how both would coexist. I am happy in my role now, but I do think I missed out on what I would have learned by figuring out how to balancd motherhood with my career.

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While I can see how others might feel offended by this article, I found truth in it for myself. When I was working in research science I found it incredibly taxing to juggle both motherhood and my career. Hours in the lab were grueling and other childless individuals could pull the necessary hours. I would not, chose not to as I didn't want to miss out on my kids. I did a career switch and went back to school. I ended up becoming a mental health therapist for the flexibility in the career. It was much better as I mainly worked within schools and followed a school schedule. However, I always felt I was missing out. I mourned that other people got the best hours of the days with my kids and I worried I didn't get to see them enough and felt tired when I finally did see them. I can relate to this post having been a mom for 23 years and a working professional. I can honestly say right now, as a SAHM it is the first time I haven't felt like I was two sides of a coin. I don't intend to be out of work forever, I love to work. I love the challenge that comes with it. Right now though, in this season, it feels like a dream to get to focus on nurturing and to put 100% into this role.

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Upon sorta sleeping in the 4 hours I got to try doing so I thought more about this and think the real travesty is the presumption that we must makes do with the status quo.

 

The real problem is not some work/family balance either/or choice.

 

It's that the almighty dollar has become the final arbiter of success and the main measure of our family social policies.

 

It's one thing to say, for example, that there's no shame in taking a season for raising young children, but the reality for most of our society is this is a laughable claim. For most, it does in fact end their career and cause financial hardship and THAT is something women are commonly shamed for in our society and our government policies reflect that attitude such as a laughable 6 week UNpaid maternity leave.

 

Men and women shouldn't have to choose between family and education or family and earning a living to the extent that many do these days.

Edited by Murphy101
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"And what do the children themselves desire? They want patience, calm, and the full attention of their mothers, which are exact opposites of what the hectic pace of professional work often requires. Children do not want a parent who is physically present but multitasking; they want that parent to look at them and listen to what they have to say. They want attention as they swim, draw, or play the piano. "

 

So my kids are doomed even though I'm a sahm.  Just sayin'.

 

When I was a kid with a working mom, I was very happy that she was a working mom.  There was more than enough patience, calm, and attention outside of work hours.  I decidedly did NOT want my mom up my butt all the time.  Maybe this lady did, but that is far from universal.  It might even be unusual.

 

And also, again, to borrow the author's words, "what do [patients] desire?  They want patience, calm, and the full attention of their [doctors]," which are [hopefully NOT] exact opposites of what the [normal] pace of professional work requires. :)  (Substitute teachers, nurses, etc.)

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Upon sorta sleeping in the 4 hours I got to try doing so I thought more about this and think the real travesty is the presumption that we must makes do with the status quo.

 

The real problem is not some work/family balance either/or choice.

 

It's that the almighty dollar has become the final arbiter of success and the main measure of our family social policies.

 

It's one thing to say, for example, that there's no shame in taking a season for raising young children, but the reality for most of our society is this is a laughable claim. For most, it does in fact end their career and cause financial hardship and THAT is something women are commonly shamed for in our society and our government policies reflect that attitude such as a laughable 6 week UNpaid maternity leave.

 

Men and women shouldn't have to choose between family and education or family and earning a living to the extent that many do these days.

Agree

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"And what do the children themselves desire? They want patience, calm, and the full attention of their mothers, which are exact opposites of what the hectic pace of professional work often requires. Children do not want a parent who is physically present but multitasking; they want that parent to look at them and listen to what they have to say. They want attention as they swim, draw, or play the piano. "

 

So my kids are doomed even though I'm a sahm.  Just sayin'.

 

I just don't think it is entirely healthy to focus on the kids all the time. This is a modern 21st century parenting technique that makes for kids who are quite focused on themselves and think everyone else should be too.

 

I don't buy it.  You are not the center of the universe.  I love you very much, but mommy is talking to her friends while you swim, or will be making dinner while you draw, or will be finding somewhere quiet to go while you are on the piano practicing.  

 

This phrase quoted is ridiculous.  Carrie, your kids will be FINE, more than fine.....

Edited by DawnM
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To me it seemed as if the writer formed all of her ideas about professional life by listening to college commencement addresses.

 

She consistently speaks of working life as the pursuit of "excellence," but in my experience most professionals are not daily consumed with "excellence." They are more likely thinking about doing things "very well." It's a reasonable choice to merely strive to be competent, diligent, knowledgeable, wise, efficient, and ethical. Can we even agree what professional excellence means?

 

She writes about raising children as if there is no room for skill or competence. Also, only fathers in Portland and New York are primary caregivers. Do they really not have that in Texas?

 

She seems to see women as working primarily for themselves - to satisfy their need for "excellence," to gain recognition and respect, for materialist reasons. She doesn't seem to recognize that women (like men) also work because they are nurturing, loving, committed parents who want to provide adequate food and shelter. They want to educate their children and pay for art, music, or sports training, for travel, for long term security.

 

Sometimes we limit our options out of fear or self doubt. Some of the young women she is counseling aren't even in relationships yet! They can devote all the energy they want to individual achievement. They may need to have the faith in themselves to reprioritize as circumstances change. Perhaps they will later decide to surrender the pursuit of professional exceptionalism in favor of professional competence. Most of us would not tell our children that they should not finish school unless they can achieve an excellent GPA, that musical education's only reasonable goal is perfection, that sports are worthwhile only for those who are exceptional. Perhaps these women will choose to revise their professional goals, and I hope if they do so, they can do so with pride.

 

Deciding to stay at home to raise kids is a perfectly reasonable choice (and was my own choice). However, whether at home or at work, the burden of perfectionism can be painful. I don't want my children to believe that their professional lives must be consumed with striving for some unreachable ideal of excellence. I would rather see them set reasonable goals in whatever pursuit, care about doing things well, pay attention to the details, and value a job well done even if not done perfectly. I hope they do not burden their children with the idea that work is not worth doing unless the results are somehow exceptional. I hope that if they or their spouses leave the workforce to raise children, they will take pleasure not just in their relationships, but also in reaching (different) goals, learning new things, pursuing new skills.

Edited by Danestress
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I did work when my oldest was little for a while and in my profession.  I didn't stop because of wanting to be home at that time but because of my husband's career which included frequent moves.  I went back to school to pursue my doctorate and after I was done with classes and exams but before my dissertation, I was invited to a professor's house for a Christmas party.  I had given birth to my second in the late summer and had been having some second thoughts about what I was doing considering her medical needs and the increasing needs of my first child too.  Well at this Christmas party was the professor's wife who was a stay at home mom.  I was looking around the home and talking with her along with others.  It just hit me that I wanted to be home with my children more too.  I was actually able to be home with them a lot because I was studying and previously my classes were mainly in the evening so my dh could take care of our son then.  But I decided that I could still work part time with my master's degree and didn't need to further pursue the doctorate which was going to be very tricky as my dh's doctoral research would take less time than mine would and how would that work when he could be transferred anywhere when I was still doing my research?  As it also turned out, my autoimmune conditions had worsened a lot with baby 2 and that was a factor too.

 

But as to her claims that we are different at work then at home?  No.  My analytical personality was still in full force at home.  My compassionate part of my personality was still in force at my work though I was still able to apply the law as needed and required. 

 

Also, my intellect and abilities have found other outlets.  I still got compliments and praise and still do.  I have never had anyone dismiss me because I was not earning a paycheck.  I didn't live in that kind of world and I am really glad I didn't.  My world of military life, homeschool life, church life and community life all respected my choice as I respected their choices.  I am really happy I didn't live in a world where jobs or ranks equal how one treats another.

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And for the record.  I worked when my kids were babies.  I worked until they were 9 and 7 years old.  

 

I then came home ONLY because my oldest has ASD and we didn't know what in the world was going on.  We just knew he kept getting into trouble and we kept getting calls to come get him.  After getting kicked out of his 2nd school, we decided to homeschool.

 

It is 10 years later.  I am back to work full time.

 

My poor, poor children.  They are completely screwed up.

 

Oh, yeah, I  have to pay for college for said children somehow!  So, off to work I go.

Edited by DawnM

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I worked either full or part-time until my oldest was starting kindergarten. Then as I began looking into educating her, I realized that it was enjoyable work and I wanted to do it myself. I chose my homeschooling "job" because it was personally fulfilling, but if it wasn't, I would have had no problem handing that job over to someone else. Now that my girls are older and working more independently, I have started working part-time again.

 

I just really don't think one woman should try to be the voice for all working mothers or SAHMs. I cannot relate to many of the things she generalized as being issues for all mothers. DH and I are raising our girls in an environment where every person in the family is encouraged to pursue their own interests in a way that is respectful of the family unit, and supportive of the others. The first words when someone wants to do something are "how can we make that work?" The author of this article seems to believe that for women, you really can't make it work, and I strongly disagree.... and will be teaching my daughters differently.

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Upon sorta sleeping in the 4 hours I got to try doing so I thought more about this and think the real travesty is the presumption that we must makes do with the status quo.

 

The real problem is not some work/family balance either/or choice.

 

It's that the almighty dollar has become the final arbiter of success and the main measure of our family social policies.

 

It's one thing to say, for example, that there's no shame in taking a season for raising young children, but the reality for most of our society is this is a laughable claim. For most, it does in fact end their career and cause financial hardship and THAT is something women are commonly shamed for in our society and our government policies reflect that attitude such as a laughable 6 week UNpaid maternity leave.

 

Men and women shouldn't have to choose between family and education or family and earning a living to the extent that many do these days.

I think maybe we are seeing again that subtle difference between Canadian and American social experiences here. I find that one of the most fascinating parts of international contexts like the internet.

 

I do find that women indeed loose a lot when they choose home over career for a season -- sometimes they lose an awful lot. However I don't find that we are subjected to a lot of generalized shame around that choice. I get a lot more "it must be nice" responses.

 

I only see shame happening if someone is made to suffer or if someone is treated unfairly 'so you can stay home'. (Ie a husband works 3 jobs, a wife stays home, ends barely meet.) in which case the shame is around selfishness.

 

As long as it seems to outsiders to 'work for you', I don't see general shame messages around the idea that it's not ok to sacrifice career things in order to personally care for your own kids while they are young. Generally, that's seen a kind of noble: unless it's having noticeable negative consequences for others.

 

That seems to be different than the shame context that you are describing. It gives me a better understanding of the context of the article author.

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I think maybe we are seeing again that subtle difference between Canadian and American social experiences here. I find that one of the most fascinating parts of international contexts like the internet.

 

I do find that women indeed loose a lot when they choose home over career for a season -- sometimes they lose an awful lot. However I don't find that we are subjected to a lot of generalized shame around that choice. I get a lot more "it must be nice" responses.

 

I only see shame happening if someone is made to suffer or if someone is treated unfairly 'so you can stay home'. (Ie a husband works 3 jobs, a wife stays home, ends barely meet.) in which case the shame is around selfishness.

 

As long as it seems to outsiders to 'work for you', I don't see general shame messages around the idea that it's not ok to sacrifice career things in order to personally care for your own kids while they are young. Generally, that's seen a kind of noble: unless it's having noticeable negative consequences for others.

 

That seems to be different than the shame context that you are describing. It gives me a better understanding of the context of the article author.

 

I think this varies among different US subcultures.

 

I think that in general, North American women are lucky because most of us have real choices - a wider range of choices than North American men and many other populations.  Yes, we will all be judged for our choices by this or that narrow-minded person, but we can ignore that.  :)  Most of the time.  :P

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I think maybe we are seeing again that subtle difference between Canadian and American social experiences here. I find that one of the most fascinating parts of international contexts like the internet.

I do find that women indeed loose a lot when they choose home over career for a season -- sometimes they lose an awful lot. However I don't find that we are subjected to a lot of generalized shame around that choice. I get a lot more "it must be nice" responses.

I only see shame happening if someone is made to suffer or if someone is treated unfairly 'so you can stay home'. (Ie a husband works 3 jobs, a wife stays home, ends barely meet.) in which case the shame is around selfishness.

As long as it seems to outsiders to 'work for you', I don't see general shame messages around the idea that it's not ok to sacrifice career things in order to personally care for your own kids while they are young. Generally, that's seen a kind of noble: unless it's having noticeable negative consequences for others.

That seems to be different than the shame context that you are describing. It gives me a better understanding of the context of the article author.

I think the shame thing varies a lot, perhaps depending on where you live or with whom you associate, because I have never had anyone say anything negative to me about staying at home to raise my son. Apparently it's a problem for some women, but it's definitely not a universal problem.

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I think in the US one of the elephants in this particular living room is that divorce law tends to make it easy to position staying at home with kids as an individual choice, rather than a family one, the risks of which should be born primarily if not completely by the one who stayed home.  We have seen that on these boards, a lot.  So staying home is somewhat economically risky for the family as a whole, but particularly so for the parent who stays home in the case of a split.  

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I thought it was an interesting article, worth reading, not offensive, and sparked some interesting thoughts.

 

I don't agree with her, and didn't well before she came to her conclusion.  This,

 

​"Work and family evoke from us two distinct modes of being and of relation to others."

 

is what I disagree with, though I think that in fact, many people do experience that.  In fact I thin that goes beyond being a parent or caregiver and is a cause of a lot of discontent in modern western culture.

 

I don't think that is an essential difference though.  I don't think that is something that occurs in all cultures and times, nor is the sense of individualism she describes.  And in fact self-focused individualism is really what she's discovered.

 

She may be right, that in a culture which takes self-focused individualism as a natural truth, it will always be in tension and incompatible with things like parenting or mothering.  I think that could be extended to family and community life, the life of the state, our relation to nature, our relation to the Church, to God.

 

So, it feels to me like she is trying to build a vision of Christianity, and even just natural family life, that is compatible with western individualism and capitalism. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I felt like I was changing my whole persona on the way to and from work every single day.

 

I haven't read the article you linked. I am a Type A extrovert who went to university and party with law and medicine undergraduates despite being in engineering school.

 

Saw this BBC article "Why we're different people at work and at home" dated 17 May 2017 and thought of your comment.

 

"In her doctoral research, Balsari-Palsule found many workers think acting differently from their natural selves is an intrinsic part of their work role, and therefore, it actually feels “less burdensome.â€

There’s even a name for the dance we do between the different personas we adopt inside and outside the home: free-trait behaviour. “It is a way of acting out of character,†says Brian Little, a Cambridge University psychology professor and fellow of the university’s Well-Being Institute.

...

Balsari-Palsule attributes the ease with which many people are able to slip into different personas to the value Western cultures place on extroversion. “We are often encouraged to display behaviours associated with extroversion from a young age,†she says. “For example, being more sociable is often linked to being more liked, or at work, the perception of a leader is one who is dominant and assertive, which means that extroverts are often more likely to promoted or selected for leadership positions.â€"

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170518-why-were-different-people-at-work-and-at-home?ocid=fbcptl

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