Monday, March 15, 2010

A generation of women bred to work

I just wanted to post the link to this article from the Sunday Times of London. I think it is such an excellent discussion of how the work/home balance for women really operates. And it makes the excellent point about the fact that previously women considered freedom the ability to have career and work outside the home. I love this line, 'Our mothers hoped that we would be more independent from men — but they equated independence entirely with money. So while we no longer rely on men for cash, now that we are working, we need them in so many more ways than before.' So true.

Something that I often remind myself of, especially on those days when I feel like I am 'missing out' by staying home with the girls, is that this lifestyle is a huge luxury- the luxury of time at home with my children. Quite frankly, this is probably what annoys me most about French people (read: fonctionnaires. I got caught in the middle of ANOTHER manifestation on Friday afternoon and had to walk home 3 km because there were no buses running. Arg.) who complain about their underpaid, under-appreciated work. When you have a 35 hour work week and upwards of 5 weeks paid vacation a year, you are in a very enviable positon. They work so very little that they actually have the luxury of time with their family, time to do other things, and yet they completely do not appreciate it.

The article also makes the excellent point that modern families have so devalued the skills that our grandmothers took for granted that we've lost all those skills. We now sit rapt before our televisions to watch programs that teach us how to cook, clean, and raise children.

I think that the most interesting point that the author brings up is 'now what?' What do we teach our children? I'm glad that I have daughters but they do make you have to think that much harder about what you want to teach them about a subject like this. I kind of flipped out over Ella's 'Princesse Parfaite' book about coquetterie the other day because she was so enamoured with the idea of being a little princesse who only wore pink dresses and never rolled in the mud, playing with the boys, or went out with messy hair. But then, where is the line between what I want her to be and what she wants to be? I suppose, the best answer is that anything she wants to be is cool. If I want her to be something else, then I should be that way first- I think children definitely definitely turn to their parents example first when they are trying to make-up their mind about things- and if my example is convincing enough, she will be that way. I don't have to say anything. So the question is not, how do I make Ella and Georgia into awesome women? but how do I make myself into a really awesome woman that they can look up to and aspire to be?

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