SO the recent Apple and Facebook decision offering women the chance to freeze their eggs instead of dipping out of their careers primetime and using them the old fashioned way understandably provoked opinions. The corporation interfering with mother nature, the ‘punching in’ of work strictures impressing itself on the steady unstoppable movement of body time may seem like a perk, a brilliant board room benevolence gifted to talented women wanting careers as well as children but surely after the initial exhilaration of the ‘great idea’ no one actually left that table [or bouncy castle - you know what these cool tech workplaces are like] still thinking that it was a revolutionary solution to the ever present problem of women, work and childbearing/caring. What it’s saying is actually you know what now you have no excuse not to have that career you always wanted. There. You can freeze you eggs and then have them later. Later? How much later. Exactly. We’ve all heard case of women having children in their 50’s, 60’s, older even but as a 42 year old mother of a 3 and half year old and 6 month old I tell you it’s not easy been an ‘older mum’. As a filmmaker, writer and now teacher of these practices I have first hand experience of how for many people and perhaps particularly women, confidence and success coming at the same time as our peak reproduction period. I wasn’t sure I even wanted children until I was in my early thirties. My husband and I fell pregnant quickly but we suffered 3 miscarriages and other complications so it wasn’t it took until I was 39 that I gave birth to my first and 42 for my second [April this year]. It’s been hard work. I’m older than I’d like to be truth be told and I highly recommend having children younger to anyone I can. The physical side of it all takes it’s toll – even when things are going smoothly. It’s all very well saying do it later. Just because we have the tech to do it doesn’t mean that we should right? This may work for some women, but I suspect it will not for most. Finding the right time to unfreeze and go through the complications and worries that so many pregnancies throw up regardless of fertilization would be incredibly hard. Hopefully there were some women in the room when this brainchild first took breath. If only she’d said, ‘What women really need is flexible working hours and better childcare provision.’ Now that would be a revolutionary idea. Something to really take us forward and future looking into the 21st century.
It’s been a while. two months in fact, but here’s blogging at you … mother of two is where i’m at. nothing remarkable about that in the scheme of things but to me it is nigh on miraculous. a unexpected adventure and my greatest challenge. saying that i’m still getting used to the new routine is an understatement – and of course with children that routine is always changing. My youngest is a dream. Happy go lucky and now a good sleeper – no possible reasons for complaint there. It’s just my life and my head. How do I fit it all in. By ‘it’ I mean everything they need – my 3 and half year olds’ social calendar alone requires an experience PA to do it justice – everything our house needs [housework -laundry, cooking, cleaning etc.], everything my husband needs [mostly just dinner] and oh yes everything I need….I have had to become better at something I was always bad at. Time management. I’m not going to be writing a best seller about this subject any time soon – but it’s time manage or sink as far as I can see… and that means making time for not doing. Which I am not doing at the moment. I am a firm believer in the restorative power of mind over matter and for me this means time alone with your thoughts. Otherwise it’s easy to forget who you are. And the question of what kind of mother I should be – cf this blogs’ title with the word ‘person’ now subsumed [forever?] into the word ‘mother’ – will not be one I recognise or can happily live with. More on this anon.
This novel was suggested to me by my PhD supervisor as I began my research in to the impact social media is having on experiences of motherhood. The women and mothers in this novel don’t make use of social media, nor does their author to communicate who they are so it wasn’t for that that my supervisor suggested the book. Rather it was for its precise anatomy of the struggles of women with the daily divided tertories of men and women’s work. they way Cusk describes lives where the politics of gender should be alive, kicking and screaming – but isn’t. These women are bright, intelligent but most exist as if feminism hasn’t happened. As if The Feminine Mystic, Female Eunuch, A Room of One’s Own and the many other conscious raising tracts of the politics of sexual inequality hadn’t happened nor the movements they inspired. Cusk and her characters are dissatisfied in their housework and child rearing duties and wonder what’s changed for women now compared to the past. Certainly not much as far as they see. Some accept this as the way of things. Some find it less easy to stomach. But what to do? Crop your hair the only answer one woman comes up with. Cusk relies on a conventional third person narration to detail the thought, dreams and actions of her characters with a genome scientists precision. The shopping trips, school runs, neighbourly dinner invitations that make up their seemingly similar suburban lives in desirable Arlington Park the landscape in which they must thrive or sink. As we move over the lives of these characters Cusk gives us a wide tracking shot of their lives, intercut with well place close ups – but she keeps us at a distance and at times I found myself reading on as a matter of duty rather than desire. I think the distancing effect of her writing is due it part to its eloquence. Dare I say over eloquence? Although I admire and enjoyed her prose the impact of the characters lives feels backgrounded as a consequence of Cusk’s prose style somehow. Cusk writes with acuity and if you are a wife and/or mother it is likely you will find something to recognise in these pages. But don’t expect any solutions to the problems of domestic life it raises.
Just came across this report on parenting website babycentre.co.uk. Some interesting findings clearly presented.
This report was commissioned to analyse the social media habits of mothers and how that impacts on purchasing habits. It demonstrates what you might suspect – that social networking does indeed drive purchasing decisions – and in particular the consumer habits of mothers. Well why else would advertisers pay popular bloggers, you tubers and social networking sites to advertise on their pages? Despite this obvious finding there’s much to mull over here. For example [p10 of the pdf] how women adapt their social habit when they become mothers – for instance finding themselves having less in common with friends who don’t have children and feeling more comfortable with friends that do or new friends who are mums because they can talk about their children without fear of boring the other person. Is the world really divided between those who have and those who don’t have children. I’d like to think not but i have to say this point rings true in my experience. What’s your experience? Do the eyes of your friends-without-children glaze over as you discuss little johnny or jana? Also how mothers use social media to enhance their well being by posting about personal, health or professional goals and achievements. A positive thesis. A more negative thesis – one I’ve been reflecting on these past few years is how social media increases social anxiety and stress. Perhaps these are two sides to the same coin. The anxiety or stress we might feel by seemingly not having such beautiful, ambitious, achieving lives as our peers is placated by purchasing the product and services so conveniently placed next to our social activity… mmm.
Anyways – lots more to digest so take a look and if you see anything of a similar nature on your interweb travels do share. THis is all grist to the mill of my PhD.
For a summary:
Found anything else like this? Please share and help me broaden my PhD research net!
Post a link in the comments sections below – or if you’re seeing this on my FB page share with link with #socialmediamums.
Loosing a child at any stage of their or your life is a tragedy. Loosing a child you never met or felt is a strange event. Like missing something you never had. mourning someone you never knew – but to which have a completely visceral connection. After my third miscarriage [trying to have my first child] I was referred to a consultant who made the routine investigations and suggested medical answers to my situation. If it hadn’t been for the service Petals Charity founder Karen Burgess provided at my hospital’s birth centre I might still be searching for the answers to more difficult questions. the ‘why me’s?’ How can I grieve for someone I never knew?’ ‘How long will I feel like this?’ It was a deeply isolating and sad time where everywhere i looked happy mums laughed with their healthy newborns, women blooming in late pregnancy gracefully sidled around every corner and the realisation that something I had taken for granted but now knew to be as uncertain as everything else worth having in life – having a safe and healthy pregnancy – seared, raw and relentless. My sessions with Karen helped me to come to terms with the loss and galvanised me to look to the future with a positive and mindful attitude.
If you live in the Cambridgeshire area you may need Petals services or know someone who will so please support their work by voting for them in the Lottery Good Causes. Winning would raise the profile of this charity, its work, acknowledge the emotional impact of pregnancy loss and if they win they also receive a cash award. Money that would enable even more parents to receive the support they need at a difficult time.
Please Support this charity by following the link below and voting by July 23rd.
Why do I say being married is a good way to be? Being married for me to the particular person who is my husband has provided me with a healthy life stability – both emotional [love and support] and practical ( I could never have afforded to buy a house on my own). Something I never really thought I missed but looking back clearly did. Obviously marriage isn’t for everyone and people find themselves married for all sorts of good and not so good reasons but for this particular person it’s been a deeply rewarding and affecting experience that will be a part of who I am forever – regardless of what the future holds.
Today is my 7th wedding anniversary. Although my husband and I have been together for 13 years (and celebrate our ‘getting together’ anniversaries too) the wedding anniversaries are special in a different way. In answer to the question posed on the header of this blog: how should a person be? I’d give ‘married’ as one – perhaps rather unfashionable (?!) – answer. The public commitment my husband and I made to each other this day 7 years ago in front of family and a large cohort of friends is still something of which i feel proud and hold dear. Sure, as we were living together for 6 years previously and had bought a house we’d already made a commitment but the act and event of celebrating this publicly still feels great today. There is a bond of love and life-journeying that deepens with each year and as we enter this 8th year with the family of 2 children we wanted finally a reality I feel as excited and as loved up about our future as I did in 2007. Being married is one of the best things I have done or will ever be.