Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good reads

A great balanced post on "me time" (or "self-care" or whatever other word you want to use instead of the un-PC "me time" ;)

My friend Natalie wrote a really good post on caring for ourselves:


9 comments:

Natalie said...

Thanks for remembering me, Andrea. I really enjoyed your post and Bethany's too. I am blessed to glean wisdom from other moms in the trenches!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that first article. The second post, by Natalie, was much better and I see the wisdom in not losing yourself in the mothering role (so hard not to do).

I guess I'm really struggling to understand the sentiment in the first article. I don't think entitlement is the right word and I didn't like how she said women have been told they have the right to a career/work outside of the home.

That just doesn't seem right in a practical sense.

Don't families need a provider? Often the provider isn't permanently the husband. What if he passes away? Or gets laid off? What if he can no longer work due to a disability? In these economic times, especially, it seems irresponsible to speak of women, mothers, and careers with this tone.

I find myself in the difficult position of trying to keep my job skills current so that I am employable if and when my husband can't provide for our family by himself, or, at all. I've seen that happen to many families.

It's so hard to do that while being a mother and playing the mothering role. That in an of itself might be the most challenging thing.

So for someone to say I am entitled to a career and that it is a perceived right of feminists feels very off to me.

Really, it is an economic reality and a fiscal responsibility of being a parent, not an entitlement.

L

Andrea said...

L,
I understand your point, and I also understand the author's point in the first post.
I think every situation is different and there is no "right" answer whether or not a mother should have a career or not. We are all different, our needs are all different.
I think it is wise to keep your job skills current as well as mother children. We don't know what the future holds---Thankfully we live in a time where it is possible to do that.
I think the feminist movement has opened doors in a lot of different ways for a lot of women and that is a good thing. It also has gone off track in a lot of ways by saying women can "have it all" (entitlement)-- that is simply not true whether you work or stay at home. Personally, I think they have gone off track in other ways as well.
Bethany's post was her opinion, as well as many (most)blogs are. It's not full truth, but we can take from it what we can, as with all blogs.
=)

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said above. I find it hard to do in practice, though...keeping skills current and available for a career to support the family if I need to (or want to).

In many ways, that pursuit could be part of self care for others, and is for me.

I have felt more economically vulnerable myself and for my family when I was a stay-at-home mother, but, at the same time I liked the priority I was able to place on my children and family. And I loved all that it allowed us to do.

I would look forward to any posts you might do on your blog about how a mother can keep her job skills and resume up to date to be able to step in and take over providing for th family if she needs to.

Thank you so much.

L

Andrea said...

L--definitely.
going back to school, keeping job skills current by taking classes to keep a degree or doing part time work associated with your career are all excellent ways for a mother to practice "self-care" and can be an outlet for some mothers. It also fills that need of feeling economically vulnerable as a stay at home mother.
However, as I've said before and on many posts on burn-out, this whole "self care" thing is about seeking HIM for how HE made you....only He can tell you what is best for you....what kind of self care you need to do for yourself to make you a healthier person as well as a mother. For some it is going back to school or going back to work. for others it might mean making more time to do things outside the home that are enjoyable. My hope in all my burn out posts are that mothers take the time to access that in themselves: what they need to be a sane mother. 'cause we don't need no crazy mothers!! =)
Blessings on your journey, L.
Andrea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea,

I've been thinking about what you wrote the last few days. I honestly don't know how I can find the time (or money, actually) as a mother and with everything I do at home and all the responsibilties and expenses related to childrearing to take classes or go back to school.

I don't know. Would many mothers be able to take classes and / or go back to school and would that keep them employable and able to support a family if need be?

I don't know. I really don't know.

I think working part time (or working full time) would keep job skills current, if you can find professional part time work, that is, which is hard to do. And, from my perspective, juggling a job, even part time, while raising a family is very difficult.

It's rewarding in some ways, and refreshing in some ways, but mostly it's just exhausting.

This is something I think about a lot with regard to burn out and mother overload. I give so much to my children as a mother, and I've certainly sacrificed my career, even though I work time now, and have not made the strides in my career because I've made strides as a mother. But it makes me more vulnerable economically, and, by extension, my children more economically vulnerable.

Anyway, I've given what you wrote some thought this week and I'm curious if you have done these things yourself...taken classes or gone back to school.

You mentioned that you have never worked a job outside the home since you married right out of college.

I was out of the workforce for about 2 years as a stay-at-home mother and even those two years out of the work force made it significantly harder to find a job in a field that I had worked in for over a decade.

There is definitely a sacrifice in staying home with children, and, yes, in many ways it is worth it, but it does make me feel very vulnerable economically and in the employment world.

Thanks,
L

Andrea said...

L,
I don't feel like an "expert" or even someone who could give advice to you on this subject. =) To be honest, I don't give this much thought. Thankfully, I don't have to think about whether or not I should work or not. I also don't look at working outside the home as something as refreshing--to me. Staying current in my career is a wise thing I think, but not something I currently do or put a lot of time and energy into, nor worry about.

Most of the questions you asked me are such personal questions that I could never answer for you.... you know yourself and your family's needs as well as what God would have for your family.

I don't know, maybe you aren't asking me questions, just bouncing ideas off me.... and that's fine, too.
I would encourage you to bring these questions to the Lord and I know He is faithful to hear us.
Blessings, andrea

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrea. I'm more or less bouncing ideas, and wondering how other mothers approach these issues, and grapple with them.

I was drawn to your blog more or less because of the title. :)

I want to flourish as a mother. And as a person. This has been the most challenging time in my life.

I feel being a good parent is my ultimate goal in life, and that if I mess this up, nothing else really matters.

But I feel like when I became a mother and now that I have these kids, everything in my world has changed. The level of work involved in caring for other people has changed dramatically, and yet the outside world (and my husband) seems to think nothing has changed.

It's a struggle to balance work and childrearing. I still like work, but it's a struggle.

It just seems that throughout life there are so many messages that working is important and necessary. That was the message in school, in college, from my husband, from my husband's family, from employers, from the bank and electric company... :)

And then, bam, the household workload and time to do everything more than doubles when you have kids, and nothing works as it once did, and everything is changed, but the change isn't really acknowledged by the outside world, and even by my husband, who still expects that I will work and contribute economically as I always had before.

And I just feel that it is quite unreasonable that a mother can not take off a few years while her children are young without risking having to take off the rest of her life because of obsolescence of her job skills/career.

It seems very harsh and very unnatural. I get that women can't "have it all" but it's always couched as "can't have it all at the same time."

I'm finding I can't even choose the time and place. I can't step out of my career for much longer than a maternity leave without risking everything I've built. And yet, of course, my children are worth it, but the outside world doesn't acknowledge that and there is pressure from my husband and family to continue right along and do everything I did before AND raise my children.

I hope that makes sense.

This is the cause of my burn out and I refresh but not for long. It's a perpetual cycle of burnout.

I wish there was more time and space for mothering.

Andrea said...

L--would love to be someone to "hear you out". Email me and we can talk more, if you are comfortable with that.
flourishingmother@hotmail.com