Archive for January, 2011

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sahm.

January 28, 2011

(aka stay at home mom) Well, I’m back to the depressing article reading. This one was especially good. It’s about how this woman, years ago, decided to be a stay at home mom. And now, year later, she’s divorced and financially struggling because it’s hard re-enter the workforce. In a nutshell, she’s advising women to choose not to stay at home because there’s significant change (given the divorce rate) that it could turn out terrible.

Anyway, I swear I’ve written about how eventually I do think I’ll be a stay at home mom (but for the life of me I can’t find that post anywhere). It’s not something I mention all that frequently because it seems less acceptable than if I was deciding to have some extravagant career. I guess that post is going to come next though. But this article – technically, the woman’s right. It cannot be easy to re-enter the working world after staying at home with your kids for years. And yet, it seems like too much planning for the worst. I don’t think anyone gets married and has kids while planning to get divorced or to be widowed (unless you’re a gold-digger). I’m guessing they don’t really plan on getting laid off either.

Then again, there are so many working mothers nowadays. And there are so many kids that turn out just fine even if they go to daycare. And there’s nothing bad about having a second income. Maybe it’s just that I grew up with a stay at home mom, so I can’t imagine doing it any other way. What about bake sales and all those school events that parents help with? What about any memory of your mom on field trips with your class? Trying to put a price on what you accomplished as a parent seems like a terrible idea. It’s your choice! If you can handle being a mom and maintaining a career – that’s fantastic. But I highly doubt most women are cut out to do that.

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recap.

January 23, 2011

I traveled to Rochester, NY the last two weeks, which I had hoped to spend in the office. Travel significantly impacts my inspiration for posting, so here’s a cop-out recap post.

WatchedTron, Black Swan, The Good the Bad and the Weird, first season of The Wire – Daft Punk made Tron awesome. Black Swan was scarier/crazier than I had hoped. The Good, the Bad and the Weird was fantastic and I highly recommend. First season of the Wire – I now understand why everyone loves this show.

ReadThe Other Boleyn Girl, started Made to Stick and Good to Great. Not all that impressed with any of the three.

Acquired – Noise canceling headphones as a present from the boyfriend. New luggage since my old is broken. Two new dresses from my mom and a digital picture frame from my dad. New headbands because I can’t go shopping without buying.

In other news, the Packers are going to the Superbowl!!! Ice inside your care is a sign it’s too damn cold outside. The boyfriend is in Zurich for a week. And I really should’ve planned myself a weekend vacation in February, but now it’s too late.

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nightmare.

January 11, 2011

A woman’s worst nightmare? That’s pretty easy. Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.”

I definitely know how to choose articles to read in the morning. But this one, while being somewhat of a downer, was really quite interesting to me. See, I told the boyfriend about my motel stay, and I think he thought I was little bit ridiculous for being afraid. I thought maybe he was right because he really didn’t understand. But this article points it out exactly: women are acutely aware of situations where we would be physically vulnerable. There are all sorts of precautions I take, that when told to any other female, they seem like common sense. Like not liking to be in taxis alone or empty locker rooms. Guys just look at me like I’m crazy. And I never realized that they don’t see these as decisions to make all the time.

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superior.

January 9, 2011

The article of Saturday morning seemed to be the WSJ’s Why Chines Mothers are Superior. It’s written by a mother of two daughters and describes what she sees as the major differences between “Chinese mothers” and “Western mothers”. The author is, of course, of the “Chinese mother” sort. I’m waffling at about 50% agreement on the overall idea.

The part I am in agreement with is the effort that “Chinese mothers” put forth in order to see their children succeed. Putting in the time to tutor your kid, helping them with homework, making them practice, knowing their friends, going to their activities – that’s good parenting. Being involved in your child’s life is a good thing. Similarly, taking responsibility for how well your child does in school and not automatically blaming the system – also good. And ultimately, will probably result in the kid doing pretty well in school.

But I’m not so much in agreement with the idea that as a parent you should attempt to control your kid’s life. See, I don’t think playing sports or acting in a school play or painting is any different from playing violin.  Imagine if Chinese parents really liked sports. You would end up with some kick-ass athlete kids (they’d probably get picked on less in school too). Instead, though, you end up with semi-prodigy musicians, who will most likely give it up after college or shortly after. I played sports; I participated in the school play; I went to sleepovers and had a boyfriend. And I still got A’s and honors and played piano. I don’t think enforcing weird social restrictions is really necessary. And in fact, there are so many restrictions (like not having a boyfriend) that are impossible to enforce. Especially by high school, if your parents are that restrictive, why wouldn’t you just break the rules? Maybe I’m just too Western?

I wasn’t raised this way, but it seems to me that this parenting style would seem to create an environment where you have to be obediently and unquestioningly happy and successful (according to your mother’s measure). If they fail, if they act out, if they want to be a theater major – they’re faced with shame, disappointment, screaming. And you either constantly fight back or you put your head down and power through. Should childhood be something you have to “get through”?

side note: I also disagree with a significant amount of her self-esteem argument. Sure, “Western parents” might be too soft. But Asians are still one of the highest suicide rates (after Native Americans). And if super skinny was universally attractive, I’m sure we’d be leading the eating disorder rates as well.

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2011.

January 2, 2011

New Year’s is my favorite holiday. It’s strange. There’s absolutely nothing about the holiday that should make it my favorite. In fact, if you really think hard about it, New Year’s is kind of a sham. It ends up being all manufactured ideas and no real substance. It’s got the happiness of a new beginning and the nostalgia of an end. It’s a time for change and reflection. It’s a time to throw extravagant parties that I will never go to. And a completely appropriate time to dress like a disco ball in sequins and glitter and wear awful glasses made of numbers (which made sense when there were two zeroes, and now just looks ridiculous). But really,what are we celebrating? We’re just celebrating another day.

At the same time, New Year’s is such a fantastic holiday. It represents something everyone around the world can celebrate. It doesn’t discriminate on religion or country or single-ness or anything. I guess it doesn’t really matter given how many people celebrate Christmas without really being Christian. It’s a nice thought though.

I think what I really love about New Year’s is that it embodies what I love about any important event. The event itself is always a bit of a disappointment. It’s the build-up, the preparations, the planning, the waiting, the spirit in the air – everything that leads up to the big day that makes it great. It happens with holidays; it happens with graduation; it happens with prom; it happens with vacation. With New Year’s, the event you’re waiting for is a countdown that lasts 30 seconds + several minutes of kissing and cheering. But the majority of the celebration is part of the waiting. It’s perfect!