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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Primary Job?

I know I don't blog anymore.  Except...sometimes I just need to get my thoughts down in writing. 

My baby is now 5 months old.  He is adorable and I really love him, in a way that can't really be described or anticipated until you experience it.  He has changed my life more dramatically than any other life event I have ever gone through.

I have been back at work for a few months now.  I work part-time these days so that I can still spend a good amount of time with my son, and watch him grow and develop.  I think this arrangement is the best for both me and my son.  I never really saw myself as the type to want to be home full-time, and I do find that having the break from my baby during the day makes me really appreciate the time I do spend with him. I also really enjoy the intellectual stimulation of my job, getting to interact with adults on a daily basis and feeling like I am more than just a burp cloth ;)  And the money and health insurance provided by my employer are helpful also.

My supervisor and other co-workers regularly tell me that they value my work and that they think I am doing a great job.  This is despite the days I have to leave on a moment's notice to pick up my baby because he isn't feeling so well at daycare and the mornings I drag myself into work having had very little sleep the night before.  But I am dedicated to my job and make sure that whatever I am asked to do gets done within the required time frame (sometimes working from home) and with a high level of quality.

I have an amazing boss and work for a great team.  My one gripe with my job is that it is mainly a secretarial-type role, which I would like to grow out of at some point.

Well, here's why I'm writing this post.  I was told the other day, that as long as my primary "job" is being a mother, there isn't really room for advancement for me within our department.  I am sure this is mainly because of my part-time hours (and in those part-time hours, I do the work of a full-time employee), but that wasn't the reason given.  And while I don't have my head stuck in the sand, I was still a little taken aback by that.  Mainly, I think, because I've never encountered so obviously the whole "you can't have it all" phenomenon.  And I don't know how to take it.

Conversely, I was having a conversation with someone the other day and I mentioned how much my baby looks like my husband and how I'm a little jealous of that.  Her response was that my husband needed that to bond with our baby, and I didn't, because I am such a natural mother.  But the thing is, I don't feel like a natural mother.  It took me a little while to really bond with my baby.  And while I adore him, I still have moments where I don't know what to do with him or how to interact with him, or I just want to be able to sit down and read a book uninterrupted. Or have a little time to myself, without having to think about him.  To be really, really honest, I can't wait until he grows up a bit and I can have a conversation with him.  The baby stage is cute but I find it really hard and intense.

Which I think is why the comment about my job prospects stung a bit.  Because I feel like I kind of flounder around being a mother (I'm ok, but don't feel like the natural my friend attributed to me) and then, because of my floundering mother status, I'm being held back in the other area that I actually do feel like I'm good at.

I think it also stings because being a working mom is SO hard.  I juggle so many responsibilities and feel like I have to be good at all of them.  Job, baby, cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, leisure time.  So many balls to juggle at once.  And to be told that, because I'm juggling all those balls, I'm being held back.  Which, by the way, I don't have so much choice about - I think my working is important for many, many reasons - and, as a woman and mother, I don't have an option to leave behind the mom role like a man can.  So I guess I was a little stung to hear that because I had a child and want to be a decent mother to him, I made the implicit decision to leave a career behind and stay stuck in a role that I feel I could easily move past.

I don't at all regret my decision to have a child - it has incredibly enriched my life and I can't imagine not having my son.  I guess I just wish that women had an easier role in this world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Women's Changing Roles

Wow has Blogger changed.  I guess it's been a while.  While not necessarily wanting to revive this blog, I did have some thoughts recently that I wanted to get out in writing.  Not sure if anyone will even see this post (except the ridiculous spammers who I still get occasional emails from asking to exchange links) but figured it would help me clarify my thoughts (which was one of the stronger reasons I used to blog).

So, since my last post quite a bit has happened.  I got married.  We bought a house.  And six weeks and 3 days ago, I had a baby boy.  Wow.  Talk about a life I don't even recognize anymore.  And as is the human condition, life trucks on and we adjust and forget about the life we left behind.  I honestly tried to remember last night what it was like to not have a baby and I had trouble conjuring it up. 

All this having a baby stuff has made me think a lot about the nature of being a woman and how our roles and identity change so much throughout life. 

My dad came to visit to see his first grandchild.  He was on the phone trying to track down his lost luggage (annoying!) and I overhear him telling whoever answered the phone his last name, in order for them to try to input his information.  I was surprised to find that I expected him to say the same last name as my married name and realized I was thrown aback when I heard him say my maiden name.  In that moment, I realized that in two and a half years, my self-identity had made a real transition to my married last name.  Which is ironic, because I remember early on in marriage really struggling with the loss of my identity and proposing to my new husband that we both change our last names to a neutral new last name just to be fair (this proposal was met with very little interest).  But the transition came and now I think of my married name as my identity.

Then, the baby.  All of a sudden, I'm mommy.  I refer to myself as mommy.  My baby recognized me as his nurturer.  My husband calls me mommy. Whoa.  And, as I haven't yet returned to work, I'm mommy all the time, 24/7.  There's no escape.  Whoa.  Talk about the biggest responsibility and game changer possible.  And it happened without a conscious thought - as soon as that baby was born and put into my arms, I instinctively knew I was a mommy.  My job was taking care of that baby, my baby.  I slipped into the role soundlessly.  And a little terrified.

Now, six and a half weeks later, I'm almost ready to go back to work, because to be honest, I need a little break sometimes.  Going from working full time and identifying myself in large part by my role at my job, to full time mommy was hard.  But I realize that no matter how many hours I'll spend at work (and I can't bear the thought of spending too many of them there), my thoughts will be with my son.  My identity has once again, been changed dramatically, as it does for a woman when she has a child. I will never go back to being the person I was before.

Thank God. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

An Update

I don't know if anyone will read this, since I said goodbye several months ago. I didn't expect to blog again, and I don't expect to continue now. But so many things have changed that I felt the need to post an update.

I'm getting married in a week and a day.

Everything has changed so dramatically in my life since my last post that it's hard to quantify it. But yes, I'm getting married to a wonderful man who makes me incredibly happy. This relationship is so incredibly different from any others I've experienced. I can't wait to start my life with him.

The experience of finding a man who I am going to marry has made me do so much thinking, without finding a lot of answers. All I know now is that I have no idea why things happen when they do. But I do know this - my fiance said to me the day after we met, about an event that seemed awful, that I would look back and see that the bad event was the best thing that could have happened. And I now do.

I know I don't always get such quick positive hindsight, but I do see that he's right for most situations. I have no idea why I've gone through some things in my life, but I do see that they have made me who I am. And while there are a few things that I admit I regret, in general, I like to think I've learned and matured from my experiences.

It's said that on your wedding day, you get the opportunity to start anew. While I love that in some respects, I also don't want to forget all the lessons I've learned through my struggles and mistakes. And when I look at my fiance and see how we fit together so well, I realize that it wouldn't be so without all those past experiences. So I can look back and know that it was all for the best. And that's a great place to be.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bye

I don't know if anyone will even see this, I've neglected my blog for so long. I felt like my blog deserved one last post - after over five years of semi-regular writing, it didn't seem fair to abandon it without so much as a good-bye. So I guess this is good-bye.

I started writing because I was bored at my job. I've moved on from there and I can honestly say that I am very rarely bored where I am currently working.

When I started blogging, it was still kinda new. There was a limited number of blogs out there. Now it's ubiquitous, everyone has one or has had one. It's not unique, and I kinda like being different.

I used to write because it helped me clear my thoughts. Then a lot of people started reading and I found that I wasn't as open and honest as was helpful. I didn't want to get too personal or expose myself too much, so I hid. And it kind of lost its purpose.

I met a ton of great people through my writing, many of whom I consider friends today. That hasn't gone away, nor would I think that it has lost its potential.

I just don't feel like writing anymore. Through good and bad things that have happened, stressful times and happy times, I just don't feel the need, the urge, the push anymore. I'm not quite sure how I get my thoughts out of my head anymore, but writing just doesn't have the same allure. So I stopped. And it's fine. I actually don't miss it like I once thought I would.

So I guess I'm saying good-bye to my blog, though hopefully not to the friends I've made through my blog. I'll still be lurking in the shadows, reading posts here and there. But Sweet Rose is signing out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Silver Linings

I know I haven't been posting much lately. I think my blogging career is slowly eeking its way towards its end.

Regardless of that, I do have some slightly-delayed year-end observations and reflections that I thought I would share.

This year really pretty much sucked (I apologize to any readers with sensitivities to somewhat foul language). For so many reasons, my stress level was at a high. I was juggling a ton of responsibilities, I had to deal with some situations that I've never faced before and I felt lost in a lot of ways. I'm still dealing with a lot of it and struggling to find my way, though I feel like some things are at least a bit clearer now. Somewhat.

Through all this stress and confusion, one thing did become pretty clear to me, and that is who my friends really are and the fact that I am living in the right place. This past year, while I was the lowest and during those periods where I was dealing with some really difficult situations, people really came through. I had those people who checked in on me regularly just to make sure I was ok. I had people who were really there for me to talk to openly without judgment and with understanding. I had those who invited me over for Shabbos meals and even meals during the week just so I didn't have to be alone. These little things, that really weren't so little, meant a lot. New people and old people, I felt like relationships were redefined in many ways and I saw who I could really count on.

So at the outset of one of the more difficult years of my life, what I find is that I really do have a place and people who are there for me. That knowledge gives me some strength.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shana Tova!

I wish everyone a sweet and wonderful New year :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lots of News

So many things to write about, but honestly, so little actual motivation to do so...

Here are a few things that have come up in the last few days (or weeks) and my incomplete thoughts about them:

This article about a town in Alabama, Dothan, whose Jewish community is offering $50K to move there. Many people sent the article to me, including a commenter here. It's an interesting proposal. I'm not sure exactly how it is funded, and whether it would be financially worth it to the congregation, nor how many families Dothan's Jewish community is willing to offer up so much money to bring down South, but if you've ever seriously considered the slow, Southern pace of life and have a desire to live in a small town, I would highly recommend it. It would certainly offer the opportunity to be an active member of a community - speaking from my own experience, even no longer living in a Southern town - when you are part of a small Southern Jewish community, you are taken care of, you are part of a family. That's not to say that I am not taken care of here in Yankee territory ;), but it's just not quite the same. My concern stemming from the article is more how all those transplants would affect the community, not how they would like it. It would be interesting to see a study five years from now to see how successful this venture turns out to be, and how integrated those families who do choose to move down there end up being.

Next topic up -

Lots and lots of people have already written about the resignation of Dr. Bentzion Twerski from Dov Hikind's Sexual Abuse Taskforce. I will admit that I haven't read all the posts, so what I am saying has most likely already been said. But I am aghast at the whole thing. Not the fact that Dr. Twerski resigned from the Taskforce. Because, honestly, there are only so many threats a person can take. But I am utterly appalled at any person who would threaten someone who is trying to do a service for their children. And important, necessary service. There have been so many cases recently to become public about the sexual abuse of children, and this man was trying to do something in order to make sure that these cases do not occur in the future. And people threatened his family and his future because of it. It is a blatant disregard for the safety of children and families, and honestly, the future of the Orthodox Jewish community. From the avalanche of cases that have arisen in the past few years, it is completely obvious that something MUST be done in order to educate and protect children from sexual predators. If that protection has to be from those whose reputations might be protected, too bad. I really am extremely saddened that anyone would stand in the way of the protection of children.

Finally, this article about a transgender professor at YU who has caused quite a stir in campus. Honestly, I have very mixed feelings about this one. But generally, I think it all boils down to whether YU has a clear policy about having on staff those who do not uphold halacha, which I don't believe they do. From what I understand (and I admit that I have not studied this in depth), yes, it is a violation of halacha to undergo a gender reassignment. However, from what I can figure out, this professor is not Jewish and has never claimed to follow halacha, which has been fine up until now, and is fine for numerous other professors at the school. Yes, this situation does cause a lot of other issues to arise, but I'm can't really figure out on what basis it is really such an outrage and how it clearly is different from any other staff member who is not Jewish and does not follow Jewish law, which seems to be fine with the university. I think the clear difference is that people are just not comfortable with the situation. It reminded me a bit of this article where students at all-women's colleges have chosen to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, though I think the implications there are much more thorny and difficult.

That's it for now.