Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, the CBC was running a collection of old interviews that spanned the last five decades. I never read the book or knew much about the author, and as I listened to the radio program, I realized what an uphill battle this lady had. Of course, she was promoting an idea that went against mainstream thinking of the middle class mind after World War II. But she could hold her own. She was feisty, intelligent, aggressive, and, at times and to her detriment, petulant and defensive. Whatever it took to get the point across. Even later, when interviewers wondered if she thought feminism was a failed experiment, Friedan insisted that it wasn’t. She offered solutions that we are still working out today such as free universal daycare, division of labour within the home, flexible work hours for parents, and so on.
I’ve never given the feminism of the 60s its due. As I listened to her and her contemporaries debate the existence of the woman whose life revolved around her husband, her children and her home, I found myself relating and was reminded of a recent conversation with my best friend on the topic of maternity leave. We are two women born in the mid 70s, educated by nuns (You don’t know feminism until you’ve known a nun. They practice a quiet feminism honed over centuries in which they accumulated education, wealth, and power.), part of the labour force since our teens and with university degrees.
We discussed the sense of meaninglessness we felt during our one-year maternity leave. I suppose that part of the reason for the one-year is medical society’s current insistence on breastfeeding. (My next post might be titled “The Human Dairy Cow”. Time will tell.) We felt isolated from the world in spite of all the communications technology available. Our lives suddenly centered on the home: a daily grind of cook, clean, take care of the baby. That was it. We never left home without the baby and the diaper bag. When we took our children out for activities and socialized with other parents, we talked about our babies. When we met up with friends and family, we talked about our babies. No one asked “How are you?” or “What do you think about (insert major world event)?” It was “How’s the baby?” Before we became mothers, we were people. Yet suddenly, our children defined us. Ironic since parents are the ones doing the raising.
Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy being with our children. We spent hours staring at our babies and pondered the wonder of nature, the miracle they are, that we all are. We tried to hold on to the memory of that first smile, that first step, that first sound that was more word than baby noise. We could have gone back to work early, but how could we intrust the care of this defenseless little person to another who considered changing diapers a job as opposed to the creation of comfort for someone who couldn’t do it for themselves? Looking back now, perhaps the ability to work from home or even a part-time return could have relieved the thoughts that we as people had become meaningless. I don’t have a solution. It probably exists on a case by case basis. What I do have is a new respect for the post WWII wife and mother. And I am grateful to the feminists of the 60s who forced society to recognize that self-actualization should be defined by each individual and not imposed on us by a group, a government or the media.
What do you think of feminism, Betty Friedan or The Feminine Mystique? What was your mat leave experience like? If you’ve chosen to be a stay at home mom, how do you remain you?
This is my first WANAfriday post. The prompt for this week is Friday funnies. I’ve posted pranks from Fousey before. Here’s his latest.
Check out funnies posted by other WANAs using #WANAfriday and have a laugh.
I knew it was time to do something about my love life when my 5-year-old showed more concern for it than I did. So last week, I joined an online dating site.
It’s my third foray. On the first website, I got propositioned a lot and met men online that just seemed unsuitable. When I met someone offline, I was glad the search was over. The second round came last fall. I don’t believe my mind and heart were in the right place and so my success was impossible. I put out the wrong vibes. Beware: the universe gives back what you give it. This go around is going better. In one week, I received much interest and expressed some interest in a few men. I communicated with three very nice gentlemen and agreed to go out with two. As first “blind” dates go, they went quite well. And I hope to hear from one of them again. It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t. There are plenty of fish in the cyber sea.
As I talk about my current experience with friends, I’m getting all kinds of interesting feedback. Misconceptions about who’s online abound. Many women expressed fear at meeting creeps. I say forget emailing back and forth, get his number and talk on the phone. If he sounds normal and asks for a date, suggest a crowded location, mention your plans to a friend, and drive yourself there.
Some of my male friends had their own bad experiences and some had never tried, but they agreed that picking up a woman at a bar or some other public place was infinitely better. Their arguments were: 1) you know what she truly looks like and that you’re attracted; 2) by talking to her, you get a sense of whether she’s a crazy b* or not; 3) and no nerve-racking blind date necessary. All good points.
What do you think of online dating? Got any good stories to share? How did you meet your last date?
I finished cleaning. Broth’s simmering on the stove. A Sunday afternoon breeze is coming through the window. Baseball game on the radio. The Jays are leading the Twins 7-3 in the 7th inning. And I’m waiting for that magical time when I go pickup BabyGirl. She’s been on vacation with her Dad for a week. I’ve missed her. I’m looking forward to our reunion. But I still have a few hours and I better take care of business cause I’ve been remiss.
After a month of daily postings, you’d think I’d have developed a longing for blogging but no. Social media does not evoke much emotion in me, except for Facebook, which if you’ve followed this blog since the beginning, you know I despise. I’ve given up trying to scrub the blood stains from the wall. I’ll have to repaint some time.
So I’m taking stock of what I need to get done to take care of my business:
- Finish 2nd draft of Stay by July 27.
- Find an editor and turn manuscript over by July 28.
- Find a cover for Stay (8-3 Jays)
- Blog at least twice a week forever.
- Book Writers Digest Conference West before July 19 to take advantage of early bird pricing.
- Finish planning my third novel.
- Practice guitar daily (research for my third novel; I’m taking lessons). (9-3 Jays)
- Finish planning Western Canada vacay.
(11-3 Jays, still in the 7th inning) I had to stop writing this post to start the next one on online dating. Guess we both know what I’ll be talking about on Tuesday. I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved. Make sure you come back for my kernels of wisdom(?).
What’s on your to-do list? Where are you vacationing this summer? Does all the energy from the sun recharge your batteries?
Happy Birthday Canada!
The WordCount Blogathon 2013 is over! It’s time to assess:
- My personal goal was to start blogging again. ACCOMPLISHED
- The Blogathon challenge was 30 posts in 30 days. I managed 29 posts in 30 days. So I’m going to give myself a PASS.
- I babbled. I did some soul searching. I racked my brain for post ideas. I got lazy and posted music videos and movie trailers. I went to bed late every night. I had some guests. I learned how to create a wordcloud.
Overall, I had a great time. Thank you to Michelle Rafter of WordCount for running this event.
What have you learned from blogging? Is there a type of post you enjoy reading more than all others? Is posting music videos, movie trailers and wordclouds a cop out?