Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oh Happy, Complicated Simpletons!

Warning: this violates the short and sweet blog entry rule. Read on, please. It would give me great pleasure...

This woman has it going on. She has a kid, she's writing a book, and she's a successful, what, law professor or something? I'm glad there are law professors. Really I am. I have no use for them, but I'm glad they're there. Granted, I have even less use for law professors of her ilk, but I digress.

Ms. Hirshman believes that women who stay at home are doing themselves and society a disservice, and that with the divorce rate what it is, women need to be prepared by staying in the office.

"Hirshman has some questions for the women who disagree with her: How can women leave the workplace when the divorce rate is 41 percent? And don't women know that after divorce, the man's standard of living goes up 10 percent while the woman's can collapse?"

Well, I for one don't really have any concern about divorce, so I can easily leave the workforce. I have a solid marriage that started with a commitment from me to my husband to "make it hard to leave in the morning, and great to come home at night." I've always been around for him, and I've always made homemaking a priority, even when I was working. He loves for me to be at home raising our kids, and doesn't want me to go back to work, though would "let me" if I wanted to. (I say "let me" because it's not something he lords over me--I'm a free agent.) Could it be that marriages are strong and homes secure because there's someone keeping the proverbial homefires burning? Hmmm....Let's examine some of her other points.

In response to a woman who took issue with her for demeaning her choice to be financially dependent on her husband, Ms. Hirshman says,

"Well, people choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, but that does not stop people from saying it's a mistake," Hirshman said. "Listen to the risks you're taking before you take the risk."

This is the silliest reasoning I've ever heard. Why isn't she listening to any of the happy SAHM's whose marriages are secure and don't have children in therapy because of their absentee parents? This argument has holes so large that I could drive my minivan through. One is a dance with death, another is a lifestyle choice. I don't see the connection.

"Hirshman says working is also a matter of feeling fulfilled. She doesn't buy into the arguments of many homemakers who say taking care of the family is the most fulfilling thing they could imagine.

"I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that position," Hirshman said. "One of the things I've done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person."

I wonder if she read my blog. Oh dear. Do I sound uninteresting or boring or uneducated? I'll have to go back to my professors in graduate school and give them a piece of my mind. I laugh as I write this. This woman hasn't a clue what it means to love with her life, to give everything in her soul to the health and well-being of her family, or to have the all-over feeling of rightness that comes on a lazy Saturday morning because DADDY gets to be home with us, too! As far as Ms. Hirshman is concerned I am complicated, educated and creative. I am also thrilled to have given up money to give all of those God-given talents to my children and husband. I love. I am loved. What on earth do I need money for? Do I sound fulfilled to you? If not, then you have a problem.

I wonder what Ms. Hirshman would say to my best friend who gave up her spot on the U.S. Olympic sailing team because she wanted to have a baby, and didn't want to delay any further? She's so glad she did. Medals don't giggle for you when you tickle them.

Hirshman says that's why women should only have one child. If you have one, you can keep up in the workplace, but two makes it difficult.

My response to this is only something that wouldn't be very Christian to write. Who the heck is she? Communist dictatorships demand that families have only one child. Do I really need to go into all the societal, not to mention familial problems that this implies? What would Ms. Hirshman say to my friend who has seven of the most wonderful humans that walk this earth living under her and her husband's roof? (They don't have to worry about divorce, either, by the way.) I'd like to see Ms. Hirshman keep up in that household--forget the workplace.

The long and short of this is that Ms. Hirshman is a condescending elitist. She just doesn't sound particularly fulfilled or happy to me. I think she is damaging herself and society with her choices and vitriolic lashing of anyone who is not living her version of the successful or even useful life. Misery loves company, does it not?

Many thanks to SPUNKY (I read you every day) for posting about this. I just couldn't leave it alone.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Busy-ness (and) Syndrome

A friend of ours came to visit. We met her in the city, took her around for the day, and then brought her home with us to stay the night and take her to the airport the following day. It was a fun, busy, and satisfying couple of days, but I was tired at the end of it...taking care of company, two kids, running around the city--deep breath.

As we were coming home in the midst of rush hour traffic we stopped for some take-out, and the place was packed with people, probably on their way home from work, trying to get a supersize nibble before rushing their kid over to the Sylvan learning center, just across the parking lot.

We wondered out loud--what's the big deal about Sylvan and tutoring places in general? I'm not saying they're bad...I'm just supposin' here...

Let's see...parents need two incomes so they can pay for their lifestyle. Child goes to public school that is sub-standard, comes home from school and after-school day-care cranky. He's unwilling or unable to do homework because he's too tired, doesn't get it, or just doesn't care. Parents scratch heads supposing that it must be the school's fault, or the kid's because he just doesn't listen, or his teacher isn't explaining well enough, so it's off to Sylvan for some caring, quality help. Once home from Sylvan exhausted child goes to bed with a peck of approval from Mom because he got his homework done. Next morning before sunrise she shuffles him out of bed to get him to school and herself off to work.

I am convinced that the busy-ness that people are engaged in today is epidemic. They are in a constant struggle to keep up, keep pace, and bypass the "average" so that they and their kids will be "special," "successful," "accomplished." I'd like to paraphrase Syndrome from The Incredibles... He said to Mr. Incredible that he invented his superpowers, but when he was tired of them, he'd sell them, and then everyone could be special, and then when EVERYONE was special, NO ONE would be!

My friend that was visiting teaches kids piano. She says that most of the kids are enrolled in two or three additional activities. "No wonder they don't practice," was her comment.

Looks like we'll have some pretty "special" pianists someday...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

'Tis the Season

...for every imaginable virus to strike. For little babies to have runny noses and wheezy coughs and for big brothers to spread the germs all over the house unwittingly. For dads to finally succumb to the crud and have to stay home from work in bed a day, and for moms to get a bit of it, too, but never really get to rest.

It is in these seasons when you just scrape by, the laundry piles up a little and the messes creep in. Lessons are done in catch-as-catch-can manner and sleep reigns supreme in everyone's fantasies.

One could be tempted to feel downhearted or even depressed, but there is a blessedness in it all. The days spent curled up together watching videos with grilled cheese and chicken soup meals are days that will be remembered fondly later. I still remember the compassion my mother had for me when I was sick, the meals she made to comfort me, and the presents I got to keep me occupied when I was "down." A new story record (does that date me?) or a coloring book could change the whole outlook on being sick.

So instead of railing against it all, hopefully we can be still and allow God's grace to fill our home and keep us from growing discouraged. Some day, when my boy is away at college or a bachelor living on his own, he'll think back to his momma and how good it felt to have her take care of him when he was sick.

When you think about it, that's why kids get sick so often and moms aren't allowed to...

On Reading

I love to read. I love it so much that I don't do it very often, or nearly as often as I wish I could.

One day last week my poor family had no dinner. When I say no dinner, I mean NO DINNER--hubby scrounged some ramen noodles, I slapped together a pb&j for the boy, nursed the baby, and I have no idea what I ate, or if i even did. All for a book.

It's all because of Pride and Predjudice. So now I'm on an Austen kick and decided to read Sense and Sensibility while I'm at it.

Thankfully my husband didn't mind at all. Ramen noodles are good once in a while, aren't they?