Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This makes me feel sad

I was kind of in a sad mood anyway, and seeing this photo (care of Go Fug Yourself) of L-Lo flaunting her bony back and toothpick arms and severe lack of musculature to the point that she can't seem to hold her lollipop head up over her severely emaciated shoulders...well, it just left me feeling kind of down. This is the look that gets rewarded in the media? What kind of message is this sending? That women should be nothing but breasts on a stick?

I thought I was going to blog about the latest episode of Lost. But it was so mind bogglingly, well, mind boggling, that I just have to let it sit for a while. I kind of want to blog about my current existential crisis - revolving around the fact that I am a former career woman who has no career, and even though the less I work (meaning the less I teach), the more I am able to be present with my kids in every way, right down to packing them nutritious lunches, and the more I am able to focus on my own practice, I am still feeling weirdly conflicted about the fact that most of my weekdays consist of nothing more than getting my kids off to school, practicing yoga and resting up for what comes next: picking up the kids and getting them to wherever they need to go, getting dinner on the table, making sure their homework gets done and then getting them into bed on time (8 p.m. for the little one, 9 for the older one).

Funny thing is that I was feeling really good about it all this evening as I was stir-frying some shrimp and tofu with snowpeas, cabbage, bok choy, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and then plating it all with brown rice, toasted sesame seeds and a light soy-ginger-chile sauce. I had just come off an afternoon that made me feel like Supermommy, having dropped off Adam at Tae Kwon Do for two hours of practice, then zipping back uptown to pick Brian up from Chess Club, then spending an hour with Brian reorganizing his and Adam's car collection (there must be over 500 cars of all different sizes), then zipping back down to pick up Adam, Lewis in tow for his late afternoon walk, then getting them settled in at the kitchen table to do their homework while I cooked. It all sounds so cooly efficient, and in truth, it was.

So, what's my problem? It's a case of the "shoulds", I think. I "should" be working. I "should" WANT to be working. But I'm not (I'm barely teaching, and I can't seem to motivate myself to look for any gigs or to accept any subbing jobs that come my way). And I don't (want to, that is...and even if I did, the limits my personal wellness program places on my ability to schedule work hours makes work pretty much impossible anyway).

I think I can be really good at this full-time mom thing. But is that really okay? What kind of message is THAT sending to my kids? And then what?

I suppose that when the time is right, I will figure out what I am going to do next. Until then, I need to go with what I am doing and stop worrying about not wanting what I don't want. Seems kind of silly. Why desire to desire?

YC

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently read that most of the time people make decisions on a subconscious level. Thinking about things consciously doesn't result in life-changing decisions. So you should know that your mind is dealing with your current questions, and you will have the answer when your are ready. Don't overthink it.

From

A former psychologist who moved on to something else who is now dealing with the concept of moving on to retirement or whatever

Julie said...

Lauren,

Funny how you can be going through the exact same thing as someone else at the exact same time.. only 180 degrees different. You see, Lauren, I'm feeling that way BECAUSE I went back to work... it's all the opposite... but it's really all the same. I'm not sure there is a perfect answer, a perfect situation (well, in many ways, I think I had it before I took The Office Job)... it's just a journey.

samasthiti said...

Lauren,
As a working mom, I have quality time with my kids, I pack a nutritious lunch, and make a nice healthy dinner too. I am complemented on how smart and awesome my kids are everyday. My day is packed. It's a flowing packed day. Not leisurely, but not bad. You create a routine no matter what you do.
My big concerns for stay at homes is that they have no income of their own, no retirement of their own, and some even have no credit. Marriages do fail(just being realistic), and women who have stayed at home can really get a raw deal. If forced then to go get work, they have been out of the workforce for so long that no one wants to hire them. You are 40 this year, this is a ageist society and unfortunately your time is running out.
I personally would be unable to stand the fact that I didn't have a paycheck of my own.
But it's not all or nothing, you don't have to work 40-50 hours a week. You could figure out something creative, something that you will thrive doing. If anyone can you can. And it does sound like the seeds have already been planted.

Anonymous said...

I think that you are sending your kids the message that they are the most important thing to you. Your practice allows you to be present with them in a more profound way than you would if you were a stay-at-home-mom whos practice were watching television.

samasthiti said...

So, what is the message that working mothers are sending their children then?

I think that it is most important for a mother to feel fulfilled in her life, which makes her happy, which in turn allows her to share her enthusiasm for life with her children. That is possible no matter what you decide darling.

yoga chickie said...

I used to get my back up at comments like the one by anonymous - when I was a working mom. As a stay-at-home mom, I would like to take anonymous's comment as simply supportive and nothing more.

My own mom was a working mom, and I am really proud of her. She still IS a working mom/grandmom, although she might be finally getting tired of working. There were times when I felt embarassed because she didn't "do lunch and play tennis" like the other moms. But I never felt like she wasn't there for me, or present with me when she was with me.

I think that if I worked and were miserable, it would be a bad message for my children. If I were home and miserable, it would be a bad message for my children. I think every mom's gotta do what they gotta do, and if they are settled in it and accepting of it, the children benefit.

Right now, Susan is probably in a slightly better place for her children than I am for mine, since she knows what she wants and she enjoys what she is doing, whereas I feel a bit disjointed and in limbo. Hopefully, I will BE where I am NOW and stop thinking about it so much.

Lauren

Anonymous said...

YC,

Thanks for the compliment. I admire you as well for many things. You will figure it out.

I have to say that Grandma always said to me that a woman should have a career so that she didn't have to be dependent. Unfortunately, she was dependent, but times were different. I still feel that way for you, and I know I conveyed that message when you were growing up. But now it is your choice to make. Brian and Adam will support you in whatever you decide to do -- one way or the other. They are great boys and they have strong roots.

You are very smart, creative, well educated, and well credentialed. Whatever you decide to do you can do.

Love to all mothers whether they stay at home or choose not to.

BeBe

Anonymous said...

Yes, my comment was to offer support and I am glad that is how you took it.
And I support the working mom's too! Really, I just felt like you could use some cheering on... So here's some more cheer.
As they say:
"this too shall pass" so take advantage of it while it lasts. Be in the moment and enjoy the ride. The future will come and get you before you know it and neither you or your kids will have missed a thing when it does.
peace.

Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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