Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Posting Plan for Next Six Weeks


Dear Friends,

I’m taking a break from regular posting for the next several weeks. 

As some of you know, my husband has taken a three-year job in another state and is going to move there in mid-November. 

My daughter and I are not moving with him at this time, as we’re uncertain about many parameters of the job.  He may be sent overseas.  

We want to spend as much time together as possible before my husband leaves.  Then, SeeSpotRun and I will be traveling to where he’s moving to help him get settled.  After we return, we’ll be working on ways to stay connected to him and figuring out our own routine here. 

I have slacked off my blog quite a bit in the last couple of weeks as we get closer to this change.  Instead of trying to keep it going in a half-baked way, I’m going to let it go of regular posting for now and see how I feel about it when my husband has gone. 

I expect that either I will want more than ever to connect with my blog friends and have the distraction of writing, or…I will need to rest and focus on things closer to home for a time.  Or maybe some of both will happen. 

In any case, I may post from time to time, and then I hope to reconnect with you all in some fashion by December.  In the meantime, know how much I appreciate you all.  I continue to send my encouragement and support for you in your blogging!



photo by R.W. Behan

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be (a Pole Dancer?) Like Mommy

WhenIGrowUp.jpg When I Grow Up . . . image by NebraskaHick57

Looking for a photo to go with yesterday’s post, I found this funny story and picture on Photobucket (here). 
“When asked to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up, second-grader ‘Sarah’ turned in the lovely drawing shown above. 
Needless to say, the teacher was a bit surprised – Sarah’s mother had always seemed like such a conservative woman. So she sent a note home to the girl's mother asking for clarification as to the picture's meaning.
Here's the reply the teacher received the following day. 
‘Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.’
Sincerely, Mrs. Smith”

Thank you, Miss Sarah, for the comic relief. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mothers Being True to Themselves

Deborah at The Temptation of Words asked on a recent post: Can Mothers Be True to Themselves?

What a thought-provoking question.  I’ve pondered it all week. 

Mothering is an awesome and humbling responsibility. We know from our own mothers and Nancy Friday that how we understand ourselves is deeply attached to our mothers’ definitions of themselves.

When you get right down to it, what else do we have to offer our children but ourselves?  Whether or not I feel adequate, my daughter has her roots planted in who I am, and how I live my life.  She will learn her first and most lasting lessons about how to be a woman by watching me do it.  This is basic psychology. 

If I want SSR to value her own life and take it seriously, hadn’t I better take a stab at that myself?  If I abandon the sacred ground of the life I’ve been given (my own)—tell myself it’s “selfish” to attend to it—I’ve essentially abandoned the soil that contains her roots.

There’s also this.  It’s tempting to think that only I can give my daughter all she needs to be an adult; that I must forgo my own growth to tend to hers.  But that’s giving myself too much credit.  Many, many people will influence and teach and love her.   

It’s also, maybe, a way to avoid taking responsibility for my own life.  It can seem so much more noble to assign myself the keeper of hers.  To hold on to that feeling of being needed as long as I can.

Being needed is a powerful experience and painful to release.  Motherhood is the most profound thing that’s ever happened to me.  I adore being a mother.  I don’t want the active part to be over.  I crave and yearn for more children. 

Yet, life is what it is.  I have one precious daughter.  For SSR to grow into an adult, she needs me to get a life.  If I cling to being her everything forever, she’s going to need serious therapy.

“Being true to ourselves” can tend to carry a connotation of turning our backs on loved ones—charging off into the sunset alone to follow our bliss. And you know, I’ve done a fair amount of that.  I’ve been racked with guilt and self-doubt.  But it it’s meant to be, those resistant feelings will diminish. And if it’s revealed that I’ve made a mistake, I can make amends. Few decisions are irreversible.

Today, as SSR approaches teenager-hood, I don’t feel the need so much to get away.  I want to be with her more than ever.  I know I have something she desperately needs:  a loving guide in how to be a woman.  In other words, a mother.  No one else can give her that.   



Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Quick Hello from SeeSpotRun


Hi, this is SeeSpotRun. As Sallymandy may has told you on Wednesday I was informed that I have H1N1 (swine flu), and I’ve been out of school for four days, and I’ve been the sickest I have for a long time.  I just wanted to say a quick hello and I hope you stay healthy this fall, and here are some quick ways to keep healthy!

  • Wash your hands often.
  • If there’s a person near you who has the flu, don’t get too close to that person.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Get enough sleep.

I hope none of you are sick, and have a great weekend!




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Days of Swine and Noses. Please Stay Tuned and We'll Talk More Later.

I'm so pleased and grateful for the comments and discussion that my last posts on Women and Happiness have generated. I've spent the weekend thinking about all you've shared, and reading more about these topics.

For instance, here are two titles well worth looking for. "Between Ourselves: Letters Between Mothers and Daughters," in which such creative notables as Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen tell in intimate detail the workings of their minds and hearts as regards being a woman in a world largely defined by non-women. "Twelve Habits of Highly Creative Women," is an outstanding and thoughtful study--rather superficially named--useful to both genders, of cultivating true freedom of expression and satisfaction in living by one's own lights.

But this week, my daughter, whom some of you know as my guest poster SeeSpotRun, is ill. We're hoping it's not H1N1, of course, but seems like it might be.

I'll be posting again soon, but for now, I'm choosing imbalance in order to throw myself into mothering.

xo, Sallymandy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Thoughts on Women and Happiness

2666724429_d1ec11b825.jpg Happy women image by ShelbyHays

Knowing what I’ve been writing about lately, my father sent me a link to this article about What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.  It’s a piece by Marcus Buckingham highlighting findings from his recent book.   

I had seen this article last week.  My first reaction had been “What does a person named Marcus know about women’s happiness?”  But when I got past this resistance, I realized the author has some very good information.   

In surveying women, Buckingham found that the “happiest” among us strive not for balance but imbalance—in other words, leaning toward moments that create happiness while letting go of those that drain us.  As my friend Shannon once told me, “Do what makes you strong.” 

This is simple, yet not easy.  To do what makes us strong means knowing what makes us strong.  To know this, we have to commit to finding out.  This, I believe, is our path to contentment and connection to others.         

A thoughtful and generous blogger friend brought another idea to mind.  She commented on my recent posts about how cultural norms can harm us.  Then she pointed out my inconsistency in posting, last week, a list of ways French women stay slim.  Was I contributing to the problem by bolstering the importance of thinness?  

This is a good point.  On the one hand, I want the world to take women seriously.  On the other, I’ve absorbed many messages about what I think we’re supposed to be.  The list includes pretty, thin, and accommodating.  As long as I hold myself to these expectations, it follows that I will continue to pass them around.     

Twice this week I’ve observed how I unknowingly devalue the “feminine” in myself and other women.   At a social event at our house, I found myself taking a much greater interest in the husband’s academic work than the wife’s business selling cosmetics.  Why did I?  I don’t like it when that happens to me.  Now, I think I’m genuinely more interested in history than cosmetics, but still…why didn’t I ask about her work to take an interest in her life? 

A couple days later I got my hair cut.  In the salon, I became aware that I quietly look down on “women’s” talk about clothes, hair, food, and their husbands, such as I heard in the salon.  This time, I allowed myself to join in.  My jaws flapped and I laughed freely.  In the process, I found that the subject matter was just an entry to the heart of talk that was not shallow.  We were sharing, in a way that’s maybe uniquely “female,” how we make decisions, relate to others, and solve daily problems.  This is the stuff of real life. 

It felt good to let myself join a sisterhood that day.  It didn’t matter, really, what we talked about.  What mattered was that we were women listening to each other and being kind.  I had a good time.  I felt part of a community.   

I felt happy. 


Click photo for link to Photobucket.