Girls night, mom’s night, ladies night
I should have stayed home because I am going to get really sick but I couldn’t help myself. My friend invited me to a girls only potluck dinner party. I love the whole idea. Just the girls and the majority of women there I wouldn’t know. My friend is a writer so the party was an eclectic mix of writers, school parents (her kids to go a different school than mine), new friends and old friends.
I had a variety of interesting conversations. One woman was finishing up her film, another woman was publishing a young adult novel, one woman was a lawyer, another was an artist. I spent a lot of time listening and asking questions. Very interesting women who were balancing life, family and friends.
One woman, who I have actually known awhile, said something to me that struck me. She said that there were a group of women that we both know who are, as she called them, wealthy housewives. She said I was a wealthy housewife but I wasn’t like them because I didn’t have those type of conversations. It made me laugh. She started to ask me what I was doing these days and I told her a little bit about the projects I am involved with.
Wealthy housewife? A good friend of mine gave me fantastic advice a little while back. She said I always say that I am just a Mom with a few things going on to keep busy. She says, not true. Take every day and color code your activities. Blue for Mom, Green for real estate project, Red for pickles, etc. She guaranteed that I would find that my day was actually pretty balanced. That I am not just a Mom (BTW, that is the most important job of the lot).
I am beyond fortunate that I can create my own personal career. I know plenty of women like that and I also know plenty of women who work because they want to and work because they have to. Figuring out the life balance is so damn tricky. You want to be there for your kids because the benefits are obvious but you also want to do something for your own intellectual curiosity, drive and ego and for your kids to see you make a difference besides making a difference at home.
I always find it insightful talking to different woman and the choices they have made. At one point of my life I would think, damn I wish I had done that or damn I would have been great at that or maybe I should do that. Maybe it is age but my comfort level of doing what I do is getting better every day because I keep busy and I am doing interesting things on my terms.
When people ask me what I do, I do still take pause. Sometimes I answer, nothing that I get paid for. But I came up with my favorite answer the other day when I had to fill out my job title/description for a political party that I had given to. The Government finds it necessary to know what you do when you give money to a candidate. I just wrote in Superhero.
Wonderful post. After several years in the technology world working insane hours, I quit in mid 2006 to try to start a family. For a year and a half, I told people that I did nothing. But if I actually looked at what I was doing (fertility stuff, applying to film school, writing, advising startups, managing the building of the nursery), it was a lot of stuff and my schedule was quite insane.
And now with twin boys, the schedule just got even more crazy!
Congratulations on being a Superhero! My mom is one too 🙂
What I have been missing about being in the work world lately is – having a great boss, or being part of a team – where I am really really learning new things every day…..having the internet definitely helps…I can always find new things to learn about (TED is great)- but it’s definitely different in the work world when you are really inspired by someone who is teaching you and challenging you intellectually every day…those jobs, of course, are not always easy to find – but I had a few in the past. I imagine this how business or public leaders feel when they move into philanthropy. It’s not that what we’re doing isn’t worthwhile and challenging…but that edge is missing sometimes. It’s that reward you get from being on the edge of creating something new with someone.
I know there must be countless women out there who feel the same way….and I feel like I am on the tip of something to create a way for women who want that same thing.
One more thing….when my friends and I talk about going back to work (still a few years away)…- we don’t want to be discriminated against at 50 years old – we all want to step back in to a position we are worthy of handling….a position using our intellects. We all fear the same thing…having to pay some sort of dues again – why? because we took 20 years off? When we chat about our future jobs we all know what we are capable of doing – and yet we all share that same fear. We feel we are going to have to create our own positions. On one hand we feel we have the most to offer – no young children to balance, healthier than ever, energy beyond belief and yearning to work and create….the perfect employee but we all know it’s going to be a hard sell. Do 50 year old women get the good jobs?
You would hope that 50 year old women get good jobs. There is an entire generation of women who are smart, capable and have incredible skills that could probably add more to a workplace after being home for 20 years. I am surprised that the we have not seen more workplaces figure out how to embrace women on their second careers post-family.
Love the Superhero big — read it on Fred’s blog and just had to come here and say good for you!
After being a mom, you have even more skills: you’ve learned to balance complete chaos with yourself, child(ren), partner, house, projects. Incredible management skills even if you already had some. There is a book called ‘The Mommy Brain’ which talks about the brain benefits of being a mom, which is refreshing. I haven’t read the whole thing yet (have 4 year old, starting company, manage house, work on sculpture, looking a schools…you know the drill). Another book I think about is ‘Get to Work’ which talks about how if every mom just worked next door, she’d get paid, and at least have social security. Why is the most important job (raising your children) invisible to the government? We just did our taxes, and according to that, I have pretty much been doing nothing for 4 years. C’est ridicule!
I am (slowly) working on an essay ‘The Shock of Motherhood’ which I found isn’t a unique title; however, switching from a well-paid, well-respected position to working on art & being a mom is one of the most shocking things I have experienced. You’re working harder than ever before, with little sleep, little time off, but you suddenly have no respect in the outer world. And when you’re in business, you stand up & don’t take it. But after a while as a mother, you become used to it, and start taking it (at least I did). Now that I am re-entering the business world, I have a new perspective–rather my old perspective back, and I will not take rudeness from the new receptionist at the pediatrician’s office. Heh. I appreciate this forum. I now appreciate more fully how vital it is to work & connect with others in venues where you can use your mind differently than when mothering. So thank you. (Also, blackberry is a gift from the gods.)
A blackberry. Could you imagine life without one?
Terrific post. I chose to stay home with my child after she was born, six years ago. It’s incredible to me that working and non-parent friends think that equals a voluntary lobotomy. Their most frequent query is “What do you DO all day??” If they only could realize I do more in the first 90 minutes of my 14 1/2 hour work day than they do in their comparative eight.