Sunday, January 30, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: The Feminine Mystique Edition

It is 5:24 PM and I am just now sitting down to write the SuperIma Sunday Check-in.  If you've been waiting all day to link up (Shannon?) I'm so, so sorry.

David and I reached an all time low last night.  Not in our relationship, just, you know, in our general being.  We both fell asleep on the couch, I think around 9:30, and didn't rouse until right before 3 AM.  When we dragged our sorry selves upstairs to our bed, the sound of us walking up the stairs woke Nesyah (who was in another room, behind a closed door.)  By the time I got her back down it was 4:00, by the time I fell asleep again it was 4:30.  So, I "slept in" till 6:45, meaning I didn't get my grocery shopping done super-early as usual.  I ended up having to stay at Sunday School longer than expected, meaning I didn't make it to the mobbed grocery, Asher in tow, till almost 1:00.  I got back home at 2:30, stuffed my face with something, peeled some carrots, chopped some onions, made some baby food, entertained the children, fetched snacks and juice, cleaned all the floors, managed some laundry, baked a batch of Mara's pumpkin muffins, changed diapers, did potty time.  Now I'm feeding the baby one of the muffins and some cottage cheese for her dinner, and typing this between spoonfuls.

When I was shopping, I found these alphabet crackers.  Aren't they cute?
(Not really physically, even.  More emotionally.)

It took me 25 minutes today, between tasks, to order some %$#*ing diapers on Amazon.  And *that* was my quiet time.

I can't find my water bottle because the boys are obsessed with drinking from it.  They have stolen it and stashed it somewhere, so I don't even get a drink of water.

David isn't slacking.  He's got a big presentation at work on Thursday, and he's been using every free moment to prepare.  That is his job.  This is mine.

Terry Gross interviewed Stephanie Coontz about her book about The Feminine Mystique this past week.  Ms. Coontz mentioned that she had never read The Feminine Mystique before writing her own book about it, and I realized that college-educated me had never read it either.  I downloaded it to my Kindle and you guys?  Check this out - an interview with a woman for the book:

"I love the kids and [my husband] and my home.  There's no problem you can even put a name to.  But I'm desperate.  I begin to feel I have no personality.  I'm a server of food and a putter-on of pants and a bedmaker, somebody who can be called on when you want something.  But who am I?"


"Then you wake up one morning and there's nothing to look forward to."

Yes, yes, yes.

I'm whining.  I know.  I'm fortunate.  My husband has a job.  My children are healthy.  I have a roof over my head.  Oh, wait.  What's that, Ms. Friedan?

"The problem was dismissed by telling the housewife she doesn't realize how lucky she is - her own boss, no time clock, no junior executive gunning for her job.  What if she isn't happy - does she think men are happy in this world?"

There's more like that.  A lot more.
Of course the difference now is that I could, theoretically, get a job.  But it doesn't really help my sadness that I'm sitting and reading a book that my grandmother probably sat and read, and nodding in agreement at all the parts she did.

Anyway.  The check-in.  I did an okay job at my writing for pleasure this week, and I'm going to keep that as my goal, because it feels good when I get a lot of words done, and I don't know what else would.  I chopped and baked today so I don't have to do it later in the week, and I'm folding laundry tonight so I don't have to tomorrow.  The floors will be slightly dirtier than they should be.  And no one will die.

What about you, fellow Super-Imas?  How did last week go, and what are your plans for the one ahead?


  1. Well, first of all, you really are a supermom if you're doing all that stuff. That is like constant motion, woman!

    I haven't read The Feminine Mystique (other than the little blurbs I was required to read for college courses), but my friend read it and also commented on how relevant the book was to life today. I think each generation of moms faces its own unique challenges. As you say, our grandmothers felt stifled because they were more or less expected to be housewives. I think our mothers felt a lot of pressure to have it all because they were just starting careers in the middle of the excitement of the women's movement. Our generation acknowledges the challenges of having it all, and has tried to respond to this challenge with these new hybrid career choices that promise the elusive work-life balance. WAH! PT WOHM! SAHM! Freelance! And since we're pioneers in this new world of hybrids, there is no precedent or blueprint as to how the hell to make it all work. And then we all end up feeling guilty and frazzled, and also ungrateful that we still can't find fulfillment and balance despite having so many more opportunities than our mothers and grandmothers did. Then in the end, no matter what choice you make, you wonder why your life isn't perfect and fulfilling like they promised it would be. (You know, the nebulous "they.")

    I hope that you find some kind of outlet. You are in a very challenging situation, being home with three young children, and I give you a lot of credit for that.

  2. Hi Leigh Ann! Oh, your post made me a little sad! I have a few friends who feel kind of lost in motherhood, I just don't know what to say you know? I don't have as much going on as you do by any means, but sometimes I do feel bogged down a little because I have 2 very old dogs that are handicapped and need a lot of care. Like I said, nowhere near the Super Ima level, but I guess I can relate a little bit. I think that you find a good outlet with your writing don't you? I guess finding the time is the challenge! Speaking of that, I've done nothing on the writing lately! Blogging is a good outlet for me too. Can you get out for a solitary walk now and then?

  3. Oy. The last couple of weeks have been hard for me, and I think the coming weeks will be as well. But, I plug along because what else can I do? Besides, hopefully I will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

    I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again...being home with a little one (or several little ones)is hard. I want to be home...but I still have little complaints, like, Ari won't nap except for me or my husband. That makes it nearly impossible to run errands if I don't drag him around (which I don't like to do, because it is so disruptive to his schedule and then he won't nap, or he misses a meal, and then my day also gets messed up because I can't get anything done because he doesn't take a nap) let alone spend a night away from him. I often feel guilty for spending money on things, like jeans that fit, or makeup, or new yoga clothes, sometimes even on groceries because I like to buy organic, because I am home and not technically working (my pt yoga teacher job really doesn't do much other than get me out of the house), and I wonder if I should look for a PT job that pays decent, even though that means leaving him. Which is why I SAH, because I don't want to leave him. I have a hard time cleaning my house and getting all of our chores done, too, and I only have one child and a little dog to tend to.

    I don't know what the answer is. I do know, though, that from my own life experience, striving for perfection leads to failure, because there is no such thing as perfection. We can't do everything fabulously all the time. The housework will fall behind (though hopefully everyone will have clean underwear...if not, well, life happens) and sometimes, maybe several nights in a row, dinner will be something that was frozen, either from a box or from a previous meal. I am also exhausted, but in these moments I try to remind myself that I'll miss these days, one day. And I know I'll forever be grateful (once I get some real sleep) that I had this time with my son.

  4. OUCH. hate falling asleep on the couch. hope these endlessly gray days let up soon for us all...we need some sun! staying home with kiddos is 24/7, which does indeed make it the hardest job ever.

  5. I have to say, you might have tried for this, but I find this entry rather inspirational.

    See, I'm a Doda (aunt), not an Ima. So many of the "mommy blogs" out there consist of some variation of "I woke up at 4:30 with the sun shining on my face, roused my five cherubic darlings, fed them a hearty four course meal for breakfast, got them off to school in their coordinated outfits, one of them pooed in his brand new suit and I changed it with a giant smile on my face because poo is a gift from The Lord and BOY ISN'T THIS LIFE AWESOME."

    Not that I'm not happy for them, but it makes the prospect of motherhood rather intimidating, because I somehow doubt that's going to be anything like my reality. We want kids, we're just not sure if we're ready be parents- ESPECIALLY when I read crazy mommy blogs. If motherhood requires me to be that perfect, I'm nto sure I can live up to it!

    This, on the other hand, make it clear that no matter what, things aren't going to be perfect, we'll need to take things day by day, things are unliekly to turn out as expected and yet, we will still love them and they will turn out just fine :)

  6. Ladies.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your responses. You truly buoy me up.

    I want to make it clear that, although being home with the children is hard, for sure, it's SO SO IMPOSSIBLY HARD when I want to be working, and I can't. Working is hard, no matter what job you have. This is, unfortunately, becoming unbearable.

    @Shannon - I meant to thank you here for your "you get more credit" post from earlier last week. I've adopted it as my mantra as well.
    You're right. We have no idea how to make it all work. *sigh*

    @Rain - No comparisons, no guilt. :) I just love you for replying! There really *is* nothing to say. I can get out(my husband is sweet) but it just doesn't help the bigger problem.

    @Hal - Thanks for the commiseration. I'm not striving towards perfection - this is just sucking the soul out of me. I do appreciate little sweet moments that crop up during the day sometimes.

    @DMarie - Yep. It's a 5AM - 8PM job. On a good day. :)

    @Kate - THANK YOU! Blissful mommy blogging has its place - that's what my other blog is for - but it's become SO important to me to have a place to be real.

    xoxoxxo to ALL OF YOU!!!!

  7. I do hope that you're starting to feel a bit better, though if you're getting any of the weather we're getting I'm sure it's not helping.

    The perfect thing? That's me. My whole life. I have always tried to be "perfect." Today, I know there is no such thing...but, sometimes I still get caught up in it. Like when Ari wakes up at 5 a.m. and thinks it's time to get up for the day, and I'm tired and cranky and want to stay in bed, but I feel like I can't say that, because then I'm being ungrateful for my healthy child. Or when I eat 4 bowls of sugar cereal with marshmallows (like I did today) but don't want to admit it, because that's not a "good" thing for a yoga teacher to do (and I'm admitting it now because it's better to be real, for sure).

    Anywho, what I really meant to convey is that I can sympathize, even though I wanted to be home, because I have a hard time too. To some extent, I understand what you're feeling because I'd really hoped that I'd be teaching a lot more yoga, and it's not happening for a number of reasons. I know it's not the same - I never taught full-time so I'm not missing something that I know - but I just want you to know you're not alone.


  8. I read The Feminine Mystique in tenth grade. It's definitely an interesting read, and I felt like I understood the hardships those 50s housewives were going through. I reacted the same way - I nodded and was all church lady in my head ("sing it, betty friedan! you speak the truth!"). And that's such a shame! It's 2011 and women still struggle to find a balance between taking care of their families and taking care of themselves.

    You should look up the book The Artists' Way. It talks about unleashing your creativity and honoring the skills that you have and the life that you live. I know that sounds really self help-y, but It's a great way to reconnect with yourself.

    If you can find one hour a week to get away, do it, and go visit someplace new. It's called an Artist's Date. Take yourself out and drive/walk/run/frolic to a place you've never been before. It's a great way to chill out and to take care of yourself.

    I miss you, hope the mishpacha is happy and healthy!

  9. Maddie! Since it's taken me ten years to reply to you here, I wanted to email you or post on FB but it's toooo early in the morning for me to figure out how to do either of those. So I hope you see this.
    1. Thank you for your care and concern.
    2. "Creativity as a Spiritual Practice" (the subtitle for 'The Artist's Way') sounds VERY compelling to me. I just downloaded it to my Kindle and I'm devouring it this week, iy''H.
    3. Miss you too. Really.



Thanks for your comments! They make my day.

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