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columbus represent

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

From A Girl Who Wants it ALL

Since I've been kicking around this planet, there has always been the healthy discussion in society about women's roles in it, and how they have changed and can and should (or shouldn't) change. The question for today's modern woman (yes I know I called myself a girl in the title of this post, shame on me) has always been: Can We Have it All? Can we be effective wives and mothers, as well as succeed to our utmost at our career. Does one have to suffer because of the other? Do we consciously make these choices, or were we brought up to believe that we can have it all, its just a matter of social policy, and therefore we just keep pushing?

I was thinking about these issues last night as I was drifting off to sleep. This was around 7:30 PM mind you. I had seen my love for about 20 minutes total between when he got home from a 12 hour, physically demanding day, and before I snuck into bed as he went out to get food for us. I was very upset, thinking: DAMN! I have NOTHING to give to my family. Nothing. They have to do it all for ME. And its not like their days are easy. Then I thought back over my day. I gave a lot yesterday. Quite a lot. I didn't spend the day in bed, staring at a wall, giving nothing to anyone. I gimped myself to meeting after meeting, did research, tried to think big thoughts, did what others asked of me. I realized that consciously or not, I had made that choice of, if one or the other has to suffer (family or career), I had clearly made my choice, just subconsciously. I will work until I drop, and beyond. Then I will go to bed at 7:30. Damn. I had never framed it in this light: that I had made a choice to put my career first. Is that what I wanted to do?

Then it really hit me. There is a third party in all of this. It's not just about making the choice between work and family, and coming up short somewhere. There is the whole chronic health issue. So the question stopped being: Can we women have it all? but rather, can we ChronicBabes, have it all? We are needed at work, we are needed at home, and by golly our bodies need us to STOP every once in a while.

There has got to be a way, I obviously haven't found it since this just dawned on me. And it doesn't help to have a workaholic personality that will take nothing less than perfection for myself (gawd, how self centered is that?) But an article in today's TomPaine.com entitled Back On the Chain Gang helped shed some light on the subject of working my ass off. It's not just me, it's us. One of the lines in the article states:

It's hard to believe, but at one time people gave their lives for the eight-hour day.

8 hour day, HA! Even 9 hours makes me feel like I'm cheating my employer. So I guess this issue encompasses women, people with disabilities, labor, and politics in this country. Like I said, I sure don't have the answers but would love to hear what others think.


Blogger Sonya said...

ok -- so this is going to be going off on a whole other tangent, but...i guess i just feel really conflicted with "have it all" label in and of itself.

throughout human history, both men and women toiled (sometimes in different ways, doing different tasks) to eat and feed the family. humans--all of us [except the rich, but that's a whole other story for now]--have ALWAYS worked. and had offspring. and partners. and lovers. and old people to care for. in this sense, we have always "had it all" (except old-days work wasn't necessarily all that fulfilling to our identities and such, but we won't get into that...)

i'm sure someone else can put this more succinctly and accurately than me, but it is in RECENT human history--now that what is considered 'real work' is tied to the dollar--that women became understood generally as not to be workers. "work" (the kind that gave you money and hence power) became a male domain, with women in the workforce being the exception rather than the rule . and yet ALL women continued to do work (raising those wild offspring, cooking, cleaning, choping, washing, gathering..etc) and men still "had it all"--families and kids and food and all that good stuff.

so now that we[women] are 'true' workers (getting all that money, all that power); now that we have entered zone of the dollar-getters; it is WE who are suddenly the ones forced to decide "can we have it all?".

i say fuck that shit. and how do we fuck it? don't feel bad for coming home from work dead on your feet. let your partner cook that food and put it in a bowl for you. let your man wash your clothes. and don't feel bad. the other daddies never did.

11:05 PM

Blogger Sonya said...

ok, with all that said, i know it's hard. i just wanted to put stuff in historical context.

12:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having it all….do you know anyone – man or woman – that actually has it all? For me, there is a constant struggle about how much to give – to my career, my students, my husband, my family, my friends, political organizations, non-profits galore. The pulls are endless and I am never doing enough. Because at some point, I also have to ask, how much do I give to myself? Most of the time, I think I do an okay job of balancing it all and I stay in a good mood. But some nights, I feel almost paralyzed. I just sit in front of the TV and zone out. We are at war and people are voting for American Idol contestants instead of calling their government representatives? I ask myself, does it really matter what I do? Does it really matter that I’m not doing enough? Because I know there are horrible things happening right now all over the world and I’m not doing anything about it. Then, I read this blog and I read my sister’s blog and I think, it’s okay. I can take a break. There are other people fighting the good fight. I have to take a break or I’ll burn out and what’s the point of that? And I hope that the optimism returns and I will soon generally feel good about what I can do each day.

So, having it all? I don’t think so. Finding a balance is about the best I can do. Some days I will feel like shit, like I’m not doing enough, but other days I'll sign petitions, call my congressmen (Go, Obama!), teach a child to read, and then I’ll listen to music, read, laugh with friends and family and feel really good. I know it’s not ever going to be enough, but at least it’s something.


12:56 PM


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