Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are Mom's lost? An Answer from a Mom

An answer to John Robison who posed the question in his blog entry.

"When I follow the links from your comments, and read your own blogs, in many cases I read almost exclusively about kid raising. And it leads me to wonder.

You must have several lives going on all at once . . not just kid-raising. Where are they? "


First of all I do hope to address concerns and reveal some of the 'lives' I live, and thoughts I have, that extend beyond my family.

As to work: computer progamming in a development office at a University is less than fascinating to me...Do you really want me to BLOG about it?

This is some of my longer answer to John:

Hey John,

I am happy we got to touch base in person at least for a short while before your leap further into the media spotlights.

Time- is an issue and focus. (Ah the mom excuse ...)

Have been caught up in being a mom this past week, mostly trying to negotiate college funding with men who see things almost exclusively from their perspective and desires and are NOT concerned with other family/children issues nor MY being able to turn my assets and time towards developing myself.

Trying to engage towards a 'cooperative' agreement with a bright, determined, uni-focused son who has been ill, preferred to sleep most of the days, does and did not plan well ahead, does not wish to look at facts or take time to analyse and understandably has difficulty being in the middle of two parents who differ, along with trying to enagage a provocative and uncommunicative ex-who is always the victim, witholds documentation and details to support decision making- and who seems to think one day and 2 weeks out of the year with his son, and a few weekends with his daughter, is enough time for his commitment to his children... (Other than HE works- as if I don't) .... has left little time (or energy ) for ME.

On top of this I did manage to carve out some time for working, teaching, swimming, dancing tango, a bit of writing, love-making, paying bills, tending a sick cat, and ah yes- sleep. (and a phone call or two to you)

But the main focus was the children and concerns around them; financing, feeding, driving, attention to THEIR interests and concerns, etc.

I think it is a matter of biology , society, values, and the reality of survival- in the interest of the success of the next generation.

As to writing and talking about it. That too is partly biology, socialization and values.

I hear an implicit judgment that 'Moms are lost', or will be, if they focus so much on children - that they become boring, and lack diversity.

I think that is what MEN mainly see, think, feel and judge. Women sharing these concerns and topics with each other can be endlessly engaged and find meaning and direction from each other, besides support.

Our society does not VALUE this.

Damned if we do and damned if we don't.

A career focused female like Hillary Clinton is seen as a cold calculating bitch...not feminine...

We all talk (and write) about what concerns us most at the time and what we have partly been raised and encouraged to do.

What about men that talk about cars, motorcylces, sports, and audio equipment as their obssesions? What is so damn diverse and interesting about that? What is so meaningful?

One might say it is selfish,childish, about power and mastery, competition, and 'typical', vs. nurturing, caring, and community building.

Where does it leave the men if they don't have women to love, have sex with, and keep the family web working? The women who queston them and provide a key to their understanding and accepting themselves and the world?

What happens when kids leave, is similar to what happened before women had them. Women can return to some of the interests and activities that they were excited about as young girls, or develop new passions, careers, hobbies, and friends.

They can maybe sleep again more peacefully.

We all may start talking and writing more about aging as that takes more attention and becomes a strong personal (and societal) concern.

You write about your life-

I am your friend and so find it fascinating from that perspective alone. It is an opportunity for me to know you better - and connect. It provides context and allows for compassion.

These are typical female interests, concerns, perspectives.

As I have also have a niece with Autism/Aspergers it is interesting though frankly not as informative as some research articles and experts who work with this would be, or talking with my sister directly about her child.

(Ah mothers with children again)

And then - on top- you have some strange and funny stories to tell and do it with style.

an aside

Just wondering how much of this post has been provoked by my discussions, complaints, and questions about male/female relationships, and the different struggles we have shared with each other about our lives and seeking balance - with a little time to express our souls.

Your focus on Asperger's became an obssession
One - because you are blessed with that kind of mind

Two - because you found out about it and were encouraged to write about it.

Three- your writing and experience is marketable.

Your ability to write and do the book thing is partly possible because you do have a mate to help on the home front. Jack is older- and needs less attention and both allows for time, and your brother paved the way.

Besides you also get lots of encouragement from female friends (and readers) :) .

There is SOOOO much more to this topic.

And yes males may be both more shy, more private, and also less eager to reveal their ideas to a group.... perhaps more direct and detailed?

As to blogging about diverse thing etc.

What IS appropriate to blog about? Is mine diverse? Will it be if I get the time to write about ALL that concerns me?

It could be more so- Would anyone read it except if they were pointed to it or interested in the particular topic?

And what is NOT appropriate to blog about? I've gotten feedback that I'm too revealing... both personally and about ideas I may wish to market.

Safer if I just talked about the kids?



John Elder Robison said...

That's quite a long and rambling answer to my question. And it ends in questions of its own.

So I am not sure what to say.

As to what you should blog about . . . I do not know if blog content should be diverse or focused.

I don't know that you are too expressive or revealing.

You said, "What about men that talk about cars, motorcylces, sports, and audio equipment as their obssesions? What is so damn diverse and interesting about that? What is so meaningful?"

I don't know the answers to those questions. I never suggested there was any greater meaning to them or anything guys say. I just suggested that many blogging moms seem more wrapped up in momhood that other demographic groups who blog are wrapped up in their topic. And the subjects of momhood - kids - grow up, and I wondered if those moms would then be lost.

With 40 opinions on my own blog the topic has stirred some people for sure.

The Muse said...

Hi Alison,

I responded to your post on John's blog:

Thanks for your insightful post. I think that perhaps it is true that men tend to define themselves by their work or careers; whereas women are more inclined to define themselves by their home and their relationships. It is also interesting to me that this subject has triggered so many responses.

I wasn't sure that you had seen it?

PS. I am also a friend of John's from the area. Are you going to his book signing in New York? I hope to meet you.