For the First Time…

April 8, 2008

1. I started walking the dog, pushing toddler in the stroller, and nursed baby in sling all at the same time. I laughed at myself as I walked past a car and saw my reflection. I was flashing a side boob. But the dog was driving me crazy. The toddler needed to go go go. So I went went went. Ha!

2. I made shepherd’s pie, which required making mashed potatoes Not From a Box. I’ve never done that before.

3. I’m going to try and make it work Working for Myself/the family. This is a big step. For the first time in my life, though, I feel like I’m making choices based on things I want to do, not on the easy things I know I CAN do without too much trouble. That’s a big change. I realized recently that many of my past decisions have been about avoiding failure, and I’ve lied to myself and others about my motivations, making them seem much more lofty than “I was scared of the competition of theater, so that’s why I didn’t pursue an acting career” – or “I was scared of being separated from my partner, too much so to go get a teaching job after grad school” – things like that.

I’m still pretty scared, but this time I’m being honest about it – and I’m going to try to move ahead with what I want to do anyway.


Bringing Your Daughter to Work… Everyday

March 12, 2008

I would love to do this.

I watched Waitress the other night, and the last scene that shows the mother – *spoiler alert*- gosh, I’ve always wanted to type that! – course, the movie’s been out for months – still – Anyway, the mother, having achieved her dreams and purchased the pie shop where she works skips off into the sunset, not with a man, but with her little daughter, with whom she’s been sharing her almost cosmic pie-baking knowledge, as did her mother to her – well, I was sobbing at the poignant sweetness of it, love and loss and all the rest of the Big Stuff, yadda yadda.

I wasn’t really thinking about the movie in the context of work – despite the title – the identity of a woman summed in the title of her job – until this morning, when, to answer my question of ‘what do you do all day,’ a stay at home mother friend of mine told me that she purposefully Does Her Thing and her kids do their thing or follow along/watch her do her thing.

It was a huge relief to know that this wonderful mama doesn’t spend intense one-on-one time with her children all day long. I’d been feeling (when working at home) like I needed to provide constant stimulation, and I haven’t been able to hack it. A memory of a kid’s book I read about Native Americans that showed the mothers grinding corn and the children imitating and playing right along side of her clicked on in the viewfinder of my imagination. Women have always involved their children in their work. The whole “take your daughter to work” day seems kind of silly from that angle…

However, I failed to ask what my friend what her “thing” entailed exactly. I think I was assuming it was housework. But what do you do if your thing isn’t housework? What if your thing is, like me, writing? It’s one thing to involve your toddler in an activity like mopping the floors or washing the dishes, doing yoga or painting, which we do all the time in our household. But how do I really bring my kid to work when that consists of working on the computer? She can’t really help me build a website or type a blog post in the way that she can rake leaves (ie, hop in the piles, rake aloft like a broadsword)…Every time I open up my laptop, my daughter wants to navigate to You Tube to watch Miss Piggy. Watching someone else type and click is boring. And not in a good way.

I love when my husband takes our daughter with him out on his job-related outings – at least part of his work can educate her like the kid watching his mom mush maize…

In a way, I feel kind of inspired – or conscripted – to do more domestic chores – bake bread and shine the silver – just so I am able to engage the family in my activities… but I don’t want to bake bread and shine the silver. I have a bread machine and I don’t own any silver. Not to mention I’m not sure I want my kid to remember me as Mom the Housewife. She helps Daddy cook and assists me in loading the laundry, but I can’t spend all day long in an apron. It’s not me. And it doesn’t earn any money.