January 24, 2007

What's a question with no answer called?

The headache has been really, really bad today. The sort that makes me nauseous. You'd think that I would be in bed, but really that makes it worse because then I sit and dwell on it. I've always been the type that if possible, I'd rather hobble around and do things. I think that's why morning sickness supremely kicked my ass because you can't really hobble if you think you're going to imminently puke. Fortunately, with a headache, typing and being on the Internet help distract. Playing with Arun helps take my mind off of it, too. Going to the doctor and hearing a healthy NewKid heartbeat? Definitely makes it better. MUCH better. Oddly and sadly, reading, knitting and watching TV make it worse. I am really behind on my reading now and at this point, the DVR Death Knell is sounding for Studio 60 and potentially Brothers and Sisters. The recent addition of returning favorites such as Antiques Roadshow, 24, and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations have my DVR crying like a baby these days.

Speaking of knitting, my pregnancy induced carpal tunnel is rearing its ugly head AGAIN. It helps to have 2 different projects and to just switch back and forth, so that may help this go around. The carpal tunnel crapola SUCKS, though. It's getting to where I can't hold a coffee cup or a phone for too long before my hand goes numb. Of course, it's totally worth it and it helps to keep your eye on the prize.

Anyway, AWESOME comments yesterday! Not to belabor the point, but aw FUCK, who I am kidding?? I’m gonna belabor away here......

Regarding "fer'ners" and theirjavascript:void(0) "funny sounding" names.........One thing that is very frustrating with most Americans is that inability to “listen” - as one commenter noted. We purposely gave Arun a two syllable name that is easy to pronounce -all together now “AH ROON”. Not hard, eh? The problem is, people don’t listen, even when you take the time to pronounce slowly and carefully . Poor X has this problem, too - he has a very simple two syllable name that is comprised of sounds that all White People can say. However, no one LISTENS and often, X just gives up and lets them call him by our Curiously Christian Last Name which has resulted in one of our cars being registered with his names reversed. Stating for the record here, if Arun tries to go by the name “Aaron”, I will kick his ass. I did not sweat over list after list of Indian baby names just so he could go by the name “Aaron”, a name that is fine for a girl, but one that I do not care for with a boy.

Also, I do try to account for the fact that most white people did not grow up with an Indian in their family like I did - my grandpa married my Indian step-grandmother before I was even born, she's the same age as my aunt, so she is like an aunt to me. India has always been in my vernacular. So, I DO try to keep that in mind, that I take it for granted. However, it's hard to keep that attitude when people don't even "try" right back.

Okay new topic, since I am crabbish anyway. Oprah is killing me. Monday she had her whole Debt Diet special again (Hint for the general public - SPEND LESS. Seriously. Most of the people I know claiming Financial Fouls are not actually "hard up"). Then, yesterday she had the whole “working moms” vs “stay at home moms”. Sigh. The same old horse trotted out for beating AGAIN. Nothing new just the Same Old Same Old with moms going at it, hell bent on brow beating each into submission that THEIR way is THE way. Whatever. I stay home because I enjoy it and I am not going to pretend otherwise. This time is temporary and I don’t want to miss it. As one working mom pointed out, ”Anyone can read a book to my child”. Maybe so, but I want to be that person reading the book. Another former SAHM Turned Working Mom complained that she had “lost herself” when she stayed home. Um, that can happen regardless if you stay at home or not - I totally lost myself in a job once and found myself a year later digging furiously to discover something remotely interesting about myself that didn’t involve that job.

Anyway, the end goal of my staying home is not for my children to think idyllically of fresh baked cookies and my loving gaze in soft focus as we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear for 40 zillionth time. Rather, I just want my children to remember a childhood that was safe, secure and spent with parents that weren’t harried and actually enjoyed being married to each other. And that can be achieved regardless if you choose to stay home or not. However, for X and I, that is most easily accomplished by my staying home. Our life is easier because I don’t “work”. Damned straight, it helps that I have a husband who gratefully acknowledges that what I do adds value to our lives. So, as much as I adore Arun, I can’t really claim some great sacrifice for him. I’m doing this for our family.

Also, I think "having it all" is a total misnomer and does nothing but create unrealistic expectations that are stressful for most women to meet. Something has to give. Either time with your children, or time with your career. I axed my career, and I am okay with that. But working mothers need to acknowledge that if you are getting home at 8pm, you are giving up time with your children. It's not a judgement, it's just a fact - like the fact that my career is totally dead in the water right now - a fact that gives me no pleasure whatsoever in admitting. Probably the closest to "having it all" is an awesome, decent-paying, working part-time position which are so fucking hard to find, it makes my head spin.

So, instead of moms pounding on each other , maybe we should start pounding on the corporations that have become so family unfuckingfriendly that we HAVE to choose and then we feel compelled to beat on each other in order to justify what was really a difficult, heart-wrenching decision in the first place.

How about that?

17 comments:

CPA Mom said...

AMEN! Did you see the recent post on The Soccer Mom Vote about this??

flybunny said...

I am with you on beating up on the corporations. I have been lucky the last few years to work for an absolutely fantastic boss who has basically let me manage my work hours however I need them so now I am scared to change jobs let alone employers for fear of losing my flexibility. It was my boss giving me flexibility not my employers and as I am sure you know, all managers are not created equal.

That being said, all of this, as you know, is playing even more heavily now that I am more than likely going to be forced to change jobs and neither of the girls went to daycare before they were one because hubby was a stay at home dad and now #3 is going to have to go to daycare at 3 months and I am having lots of heartburn - lots of heartburn even though the owners of the center are VERY good friends of our and will treat her like one of their own, I am still unsettled.

Sorry for the long comment and my confusing use of commas above...

Dee said...

I never really understood the whole SAHM/working mom debate. As long as you choose what is the best for your family, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? I would love nothing more than to stay at home with my son, but because of a divorce and past financial mistakes it is not a possibility. What is best for my family is that I work so that my son has diapers, food on the table, and a roof over his head. After almost a year and a half of having him in day care I still want to cry when I drop him off some mornings but I know that I'm doing what I have to do for my son and my family.

MLE said...

I just wanted to comment that I love Arun's name. Also, that pronunciation is a love word in Gaelic, like "darling." When I think of saying your kid's name in my head I also think of "darling" or "sweetheart."

Leah said...

Cagey, you rock. I love your rants so much.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, sister! I purposely left an un-family-friendly workplace to go work for an extremely family-friendly company, only to have it bought by the very company I left, WHILE I WAS ON MATERNITY LEAVE.

I agree, though, we need to make our voices heard. I definitely do not put up with the work demands that were taken for granted when I was in my 20s.

Anna

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

hee hee, I gots me a 2 syllable nickname of 3 letters (my legal name IS difficult, there's a sound in it that isn't even in the English language) and it's still misprounounced.

Sadder still is that when Kooks called me for the first time, he got my VM with me saying my name in an Anglicised way and he actually asked me, in a concerned voice, if I had a different name than the one he'd been told. I was like "NOOOO, that's just for work people, ignore it!!"

md.macaca said...

So true.. I think i'd love to have a part-time job once I had kids, and I'm lucky because Indian grandparents play a huge role in taking care of grandkids on a daily basis. So I know I'll have enough people to take care of my children when I want a break or work or something.But yeah, it's really hard to be a good employee and a good parent and more importantly, to ENJOY either/both experience.I'm also sure it gets easier as kids grow older and go to school. Then there's a lot more free time to do something.At the end of the day each woman has to find her own balance, I guess-- some women would feel totally lost if they were SAHMs, and others might feel incapable of doing anything at work while their kids are home. Anyway, the point of this rambly post is for women to stop hatin' on each other and just do what works for them and not feel like they need to justify it. Also-- I totally agree with the piss-assiness of corporate America. Women are half the labor force and the population.. isn't it about time that things are changed to make it easier for women to NOT have to choose?

Modern Day Hermit said...

Sorry to hear about your headaches and carpal tunnel! :(

I grew up in a town of 900 people in NE Missouri. White folks lived on one side and the 10 non-white folks lived on the other. Some people are just dense and like you noted, don't listen.

My ex-husband's name is Manoj, how hard is that? He bastardizes his own name just to make the lives of others more simple. My Mom, who doesn't know squat about anything to do with India, living in podunkville got it right on the first try. She even spelled it right.

I dated a guy named Murugesan Subramaniam, now that is a little more difficult. But, I still enjoy saying it. I guess growing up as Jennifer B...bleh.

I think I'm just feeling fiesty.

I'm still rocking my ex-husband's last name (My husband's sister's name is Jennifer, no need for to Jennifer K's and Bailey is booooooooooring) and it's easy, too. The silent J in hispanic country (AZ) I can understand, but where do the get the G? There's no G. I'm waiting for someone to call me Jenn Diarrhea.

Now that would be f'n hilarious!

In any case, I don't get that whole mom vs. mom bullshit either. I think people are just so worried about their own choices the only way they feel better about it is by knocking on anyone else whose choice was different. Crazy shit.

Cagey said...

CPA Mom,
Will have to check that post out - thanks for mentioning it

Flybunny,
YES! I've seen mixed results with your employer as well and you totally have it right - it depends on the manager. I was scarred at a tender young age while working as a young pup at Coopers & Lybrand - they won some spot on Working Mom's list of Best Blah Blah Whatever, but yet, I could see women working even later hours than I was and traveling like crazy. Then, I worked at Ernst & Young and actually was told by a manager that since I was single without kids, I SHOULD work more.

Dee,
I don't think good daycare is bad (bad daycare of course, is always bad). It's still a hard decision, though.

Mle,
HEY - that's really cool! My dad has been studying Gaelic (mainly Scottish) for years - I will have to point that out to him.

Leah,
Gulp.

Anna,
re: the 20s - I think the thing that saddens me is that I had hoped that all my hard work would parlay itself into some sort of part-time gig, but it just never panned out. I realized at the Fed, I could NOT stay there and keep my sanity. My boss worked crazy hours and had a child - meaning, she would have expected the same from me. The position lent itself incredibly well for part-time, but I know they would have never gone for that. Financially, it probably wouldn't have been worth it because reasonably priced part-time daycare is so difficult to find.

Monkey,
Well, what do you expect from Kooks? After all, you don't even know what biryani is, right? ;-)

Md. Macaca,
YES, let's stop the hate. You are right about the "balance" part, too. For me, staying home does work better because I have the flexibility and time to continue pursuing my other interests. I would have had to give up far more of my hobbies if I were working outside the home.

Modern Day Hermit,
M. Night Shamalayan's first name is Manoj. His frickin' kindergarten teacher couldn't pronounce Manoj and that's how he started going by Night. My last name now is actually boooooring because X is Christian - people often assume that my married name is my maiden name because they think X's last name should be some 5 syllable monstrosity. My maiden name was MUCH more interesting. Sniff.

Lisa said...

I agree with you on the corporate stuff. I was just talking about this with someone else today. I stay at home because my hubby has always worked at a company that EXPECTED 60-80 hour work weeks and a high travel load. Our son used to think his daddy didn't even live with us. And when Seth was a baby, he'd scream when Marc would try to hold him... Marc was a stranger to him.

We have had to cancel so many vacations just because something would come up. Once my hubby's boss called in the middle of our first wedding anniversary dinner. He was gone for 45 minutes. THe boss KNEW what he was interrupting!

He left his old company two weeks ago... He was there 10 years and help build the company. They were total assholes to him. Out of 30 employees, several are now divorced and even more have gone to marriage counseling. Many have left... So many have gone through periods of depression and burnout from these types of hours and travel trips of 9-14 days at a time. (And if an employee comes home on a Wednesday from working 9-14 consecutive days, the employee is STILL expected to work that Wed, Thurs and Friday.)

When will corporate America realize that when you do this shit to your employees, it wears them down. It makes them mentally and physically unhealthy. It messes with their marriages and kids. And if your employee's family life is imploding, how productive are they going to be?

Goofy Girl said...

I haven't read through all the comments, but I have to chime in with a Mom Who Works Because She Wants To viewpoint. I work because I like it. Not because I have to.

That said, I read to my son almost every night (when I don't, Daddy does). We bake cookies together. We go to the park together. He also comes to work with me if I need to stop there on the weekend. We have plenty of (forgive me for using this term) 'quality time'.

Of course,like Flybunny, I have a flexible employer who is understanding of work/family balance. But if I didn't, I would run out and find one.

And I don't think Alex is at a disadvantage for being in daycare. He is a super-social kid, who has tons of friends at daycare, and loves his teachers. There is no crying from either of us when he is dropped off.

And I should mention that the Blame Game goes both ways. I get a lot of dirty looks when I tell folks (usually women) that I work full-time and have a 3-year old.

I think we should each choose our own road, based on what's good for the family and for each of us. And we should support each other in whatever road we choose.

Mojavi said...

YELL IT SISTA!~

dorothy said...

I have been the first one to beat myself up over the course of the little angel's life for being a working mommy. I have finally found a full-time position that seems like a compromise - I put in the time I need to if there's a crisis, but they understand that that time will be put in when the little angel is sleeping, if it's after 5 p.m. I also work from home a few days a week - she still goes to The Emerald City, but I get to nix the commute and pick her up earlier, plus get some sweet quiet in my own house, which makes me that much more ready to have her burst through the door again.

I totally agree with all of your commenters - being a parent is a highly personal thing. You have to figure out how to make lemonade from whatever life you've got. I do think working parents should make an extra effort to do the extra work after the kid has gone to bed, but some employers expect face-time. I would run, not walk, away from any employer who could not wait a few hours for me to feed my child, bathe her and put her to bed before I started slaving for the man again on any sort of regular basis. Employers need to learn that there is nothing so important it can't wait until 8 p.m.

Rayne of Terror said...

I wonder if you need a retainer for your teeth while you are pregnant... If you had orthodontics earlier in life, maybe all the loosy goosy hormones make your jaw/teeth out of alignment and give you headaches. My best friend had just gotten a retainer at 30 y/o due to headaches and it cleared them up within a week. Just a thought.

MB said...

I had headaches for a year. Then I went in for an eye exam, and turns out the last dopey eye doctor I saw had given me a prescription twice as strong as what I needed. And every year he just kept making it stronger when I would complain it didn't seem right. Of all people, it was the Costco optometrist that finally got it right.

PS What is so wrong with job sharing and working part time? Why is corporate America so afraid of anything but the M-F, 9-5 model of doing business?!

Me said...

I did luck into having a part-time position so I'm able to work and have a couple of days home with the kiddos. It works out pretty well, for me and for my employer I would say. I have just enough time at home to drive me crazy, then I go to work for a few days, and I'm home again before I'm completely nuts. My employer gets a seasoned professional doing just about anything they want to assign, and at a discount because my position is one to two levels below my experience level.

It does put my career on hold - in my last review, my supervisor actually put my part-time status as a negative because it was preventing promotion. Also, I put up with a lot of jacked up stuff at work simply because it will be next-to impossible to replace my job.

And, as with any professional job, there are projects that demand more time which causes me to see less of my kids and stresses out the hubby.

Still, for me, it is an overall good balance of work and home. I'm amazed that companies haven't discovered the hidden awesome workforce that they could use in part-time professionals.