Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My reactions to the letter I posted below

What I object to in the letter below is very loaded language: pro-abortion - I've never met anyone who was pro-abortion. I think she is referring to pro-choice which is about having options (my definition of what progressives are for) and not being forced into one way of doing things.

I also can't quite figure out what she means by pro-psycho wife and pro-exercise queen which seem like very judgmental statements. I consider myself progressive, but the only exercise I get in is the walk to and from work everyday. As a working mom I don't have time to exercise. And I consider myself pretty stable mentally as a wife . . .

I also have a problem with her language about "letting others raise their kids". That's kind of ignoring the fact that for most of human history children were raised more by community than just biological mom to biological kids, and were put to work at very young ages.

Economically, I have to work. Ideologically, I like to work -- at least the job I have currently. With both daughters I stayed at home until each was about 2 years old. I felt that was a good compromise by giving the girls lots of attention as infants and then as they got to an age when they wanted to be more social they were in an environment with a lot of kids their own age.

By the end of the second year home with my now pre-schooler, I was ready to tear out my hair because being a SAHM really isn't my talent or calling in life. But even though I enjoy what I do for a living and would be unhappy at home, I still put my kids' needs as a priority:

My oldest attends a school where the parents are required to co-op 3 hours per week and serve on a committee. I put together the school's newsletter as well as my time in the classroom, putting in easily 18 - 20 hours per month so that my daughter can attend a school that is very community oriented and nurturing.

I went to great lengths to find a daycare for my youngest daughter that was close to home. We spend quality time in the morning and evening as we walk to and from daycare talking about what we are seeing (changing seasons, dogs, insects, people) and about her day. Her daycare is a good one and she gets good learning in the morning (she's learning to write really well, is learning some French and Spanish) and in the afternoon gets quality social time with peers which I couldn't provide for her at home.

We always eat dinner together as a family, which is a great way to spend quality time with the kids talking about our days.

The weekends are all about quality time with the kids (my teenager not so much these days as friends are her main focus at this stage of her life). I take my pre-schooler on a mommy-daughter date where we usually go to cultural, artistic, or educational events or use our memberships at the planetarium or children's museum. The rest of the weekend is pretty much whole-family focused.

I don't feel that my kids suffer from my being a working parent. What does suffer is the state of our home. We're always behind on laundry and dishes. Dusting happens maybe twice a year, and other household chores happen less often than they should. I've yet to do anything with our front yard and wonder if I'll ever learn to garden. I'm years behind on scrapbooking (one of my favorite hobbies). But these are a trade-offs that I can live with (for the most part - I really want to learn how to grow my own food so that I'm not so dependent on our environmentally-destructive food system).

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