Sunday, 28 August 2011

Choice and Chauvinism

I had a conversation with Nathan last night about the underlying theme of the last blog; he marvels at the way that I loved being a small part of a big company, whereas his mentality is to only embody that role as a working bee in order to reach the finish line – to get to a place where you don’t have to be in that position anymore, because having to go to work everyday stops you from doing all the other things you want to do.  But I reminded him that he is what we call “accomplished”.  He has a degree. He worked his way from the bottom up.  He went from broke to secure.  He built a reputation for himself for which he is now highly regarded within his industry (I can speak firsthand because I have on numerous occasions worked on projects with him).  His work has brought him opportunity on so many levels, and I think that this may be why he’s not in the same mind frame as me (or the former me that I was writing about)– not “chomping at the bit” to be at work.  I still had so much growing and achieving to do.  He mulled over this for a few moments… I’m not sure if he thought it was bullshit or if there was some truth to it, but it brings me to my next point.
Choice.  As I take this stance on traditional gender roles that I have been ranting about, I now must confess that I don’t think I could be praising my lifestyle choice in the same manner if I was expected to do one thing or another, as appose to choosing on my own terms what direction to set my life in.  Granted, my pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, I still have personally made the choice to be a stay-at-home-mum.  So as much as I now think that there are certain things men and women are just naturally destined to be doing, the feminist movement and the push for equality of human rights and liberties (which is still going on) was very important in order to have a sense of fulfillment in what I am now embracing as a full-time job.  Let me clarify.
I think its fair to say that to become “accomplished” and feel a sense of achievement is a basic desire for both men and women.  Naturally, to have careers where we are on the up-and-up gives women this thrill and sense of fulfillment.  Careers and babies could be interchangeable in that regard – in most cases one is as big a sacrafice as the other.  For women who don’t have the “surprise” pregnancies, it’s a very hard thing to pinpoint an exact “perfect” time to have a baby.  It often turns into a situation where the man is saying “okayyyyy….. are you ready yet??”  Because women are invariably putting off the death of life as they know it.  I’m going to go ahead and say that I LOVED my life pre-motherhood.  Had it not been for my unreliable method of contraception (stay away from iPhone apps designed for this purpose), I’m not sure I could have fully grasped the fulfillment that motherhood would give me, and thus I may have been in this situation.
I don’t think it would have suited me to be born in the 50’s where there was not much choice for women.  They were widely expected to be homemakers.  None of this “get a trade, find independence, then settle down” business.  Maybe because I had the opportunity to have that fulfillment, I am content to settle into a new role in life.

I want to express my gratitude (to noone in particular – just sending it out to the universe in true “The Secret” fashion), for the freedom of choice we are encouraged to practice nowadays.  It is thanks to the “rising up” that women in western worlds no longer suffer oppression … (the third world is a whole different story, but that’s for another day)…
Don’t mistake me for a feminist – because that is one thing I am not…. However maybe it would pay to take a moment to reflect on how I have come to achieve such a high quality of life – without a doubt some tribute must be paid to the bra-less, brash and brazen women who drove a movement not so many decades ago which shaped generations to follow. Snuffing out the acceptance of chauvinism in society is probably one of the main things I have to be most grateful for.  Otherwise I might not be so content to settle into the role of wifey.  Coincidentally.

I have a partner who considers me his equal.  He treats me with respect, and places no expectations on me at any time in regards to household duties or daily achievements etc.  He encourages me to pursue my hobbies and interests, and is appreciative for all that I do for him – even though I just consider it my half of the work.  He never makes me feel as though I am spending “his” money, and certainly never implies that he has some sort of ownership of me because of his bread-winning status.  This may all sound obvious, however it was not so long ago that most women weren’t so lucky.  They were expected to stay home, raise children, cook, clean, and look nice.  There was no importance placed on their desire, or “itch”, to see the world, learn new things, gain independence. 

In my travels, I have ducked in and out of different countries and witnessed varying levels of accepted chauvinism.  Where I grew up, it was certainly not tolerated, and I never truly felt impacted by the disapproval of any man for what I was working towards.  New Zealand was a little bit different – although I was dealing with more shock than disapproval.  There are very few women in NZ taking on careers in “mens jobs”, however most men were accepting once I proved myself on the job.  I did have run-ins with a few characters…. I remember once looking around for a company to take me on so I could get some domestic house-wiring experience in order to complete my apprenticeship.  I called a company in Queenstown, and the guy on the other line was baffled about what I was asking for.  In the end he came right out and said “look, I’m not going to hire you because you are a woman.  It would just cause grief and distraction for my boys on the job.  Its not worth the hassle for me.”  So that was hilarious.  I can think of a couple other men who didn’t want me to be doing what I was doing and tried to hinder my progress – but only a couple.  And it always made me smug when I had some sort of personal success that I could somehow flaunt ….in a subtle manner, of course. 
So then there was Eastern Canada.  After a series of events I found myself in Ontario, where I was promised a job with a power company from a family member out east.  This didn’t pan out, however, so I was left applying for jobs all over bloody Ontario smack dab in the middle of the recession  - in a month when there had already been 60,000 job losses across the country.  This led nowhere, but it did reveal that not everywhere in Canada has the same supportive and accepting attitude towards women in trades as Fort McMurray does.  You know, a lot of “Sorry little lady, would love to help you, but I just haven’t got anything for ya”; with sympathetic smiles and tips of the hat.  I was shrugged off and snickered at and patronized in my face-to-face encounters while job hunting in Ontario. 
My next prospect was the opening up of a position within ABB (again) in the Asian country of Lao.  Naturally, I was all over this.  A chance to go somewhere exotic and isolated and different, and a chance to get seriously stuck into my work.  So off I went on what would be come the most life-changing adventure thus far.  And just speaking in terms of gender roles, it was a real eye-opener.  The job was in a newly-built and yet-to-be-commissioned hydro power station deep in the heart of Lao.  There were other women on site, but none of them trades people doing manual work in the field.  The station was swarming with hundreds of local Lao and Thai men, boys and girls – whose level of knowledge was indicated by a sticker on their hard hats – and I had to get used to them collecting into a mob around the panel I was working in and blatantly staring as I terminated wires or tested circuits.  It was creepy and distracting and would make me mad to begin with and I would try to shoo them off.  There were some Indonesian and Indian guys on site who would come question me all the time; asking where I came from, why I do this mans work.   And now, looking back, I can see their fascination/confusion.  Growing up in a communist country, Laotians would struggle to understand the freedom I exhibited as a young woman.  Growing up in a country heavily bound by tradition and religion, Indians would struggle to understand my desire to be so adverse to these sacred things.  The women on site and in the camp and the village were lovely and full of character and personality, however they were quite obviously never going to be straying far from their villages and their roles as women.  Tradition is paramount in most non-first world countries and it made me reconsider my sometimes carefree and dominant attitude - as a matter of respect.  
Now we are in Australia.  Australia is interesting because it’s a fully developed western country just like Canada and NZ and US etc, but thus far I have observed a disgustingly high allowance of chauvinism.  Its apparent in media, advertising, attitudes of politicians and citizens alike.  In fact, the whole Australian identity sort of promotes it.  Not sure how I would get on trying to find a job in my field in this country… I suppose with international companies such as ABB there is a more mature approach in their hiring policies, but can’t see myself getting on with a local sparky bashing wires around Brissy.  ……Maybe this has a lot to do with my love of big companies – they sort of have an obligation to protect the minorities, like myself – and to give the benefit of the doubt.  ABB certainly did that for me in many instances. Bless ‘em!
(Note: I know I jump from past tense to present tense when I write, and I apologize cause I think its poor grammar, but it can’t be helped.)
Something just popped into my head – and its somewhat relative to my blog topic….  When I first applied to the co-op program to start an apprenticeship, my dad seemed really eager for me to go down this path. 
I guess for him, he could see that Fort McMurray was a rare gem – tons of opportunity for the bright young locals who chose to seize it.  He said “Yes my dear – get a trade – once you have that ticket in your pocket noone can take it away from you, and you can go anywhere in the world”……. In hindsight, he was right – it has taken me so many places.  I suppose a father wants nothing more than a world of equal opportunity for his little girl.  Thank goodness he (and mom) instilled in me the confidence that I have – as it armed me for all the surprises I would face once leaving my hometown.  Equally, on the other end of the spectrum, I got wind of the much-acclaimed Dubai – where opportunity, jobs and money were abound – and I mentioned this to my Auntie (she has a name, but to me she is just Auntie).  I said “when I get qualified, I could go work in Dubai and make tons of money!”  She gave me a serious look and politely but sternly pulled me out of my naïve cloud of youth and into reality.  “Jennifer” (note use of full name… means she is serious) women cannot do such things in Dubai.  It is a highly conservative and religious country – it is illegal for women to even show the skin on their arms or ankles there.  Do you really think you could easily find a job on a construction site with only men?  It’s not like Canada”.  She emphasized a number of things to me with that statement… A. that I was naïve, B. that I was fortunate to live in a liberated, democratic, free country and C. that when you go somewhere you must, to a certain degree, follow THEIR rules. 
Anyway.  As much as I believe in gender roles in the home which supports my decision to be a stay at home mum, I believe that every step of the road I have walked so far have been important.  Women that step out of their comfort zones pave the way for tomorrows women, so they too may have a fair crack at whatever fulfillment it is they’re after.   This may, in a roundabout way, even help towards creating more happy and contented mums for our little angels… is that fair to say?

Next week I am going to discuss my moral and ethical dilemmas for the “work / stay at home” argument.
Yours Truly…..

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Transformation - Then and Now

I'm going to use this blog to emphasize my transformation.  In the past couple of blogs I have marveled on how motherhood has changed me.  I think I need to now delve a bit into the detail of my pre-motherhood life in order for the extent of my “change” to be understood. 

As I stated in the first edition, a lot of who I am is thanks to my upbringing and the ideologies of my generation.  This propelled me onto a career path which was male-dominated, yet very much within reach for a young, ambitious, capable person such as myself.  This career further expanded my view that women and men CAN be equal in the workplace.  I was lucky enough to start out as an electrician in training with a massively supportive team.  I was never doubted, and my successes were always applauded and my enthusiasm was appreciated.  This started the ball rolling for my work addiction.  Being in an industry where overtime was well within reach, not only was I feeding off the thrill that comes with a wealth of knowledge, but also the large paychecks that were landing in my bank account.    I couldn’t get enough of motor disconnects and reconnects, pumpstation maintenance and plant observation – all of which were a part of daily work on a maintenance crew in the Tailings division of an oilsands plant.  I worked for a huge company, and loved the safe, secure feeling of being a small part of a very big picture. 
A series of events led me to venture overseas to New Zealand, where I straight away picked up my apprenticeship from where I left off in Canada, and I was back in the game.  Now, not only was I working towards an apprenticeship that would undoubtedly promise me a rewarding career, I was doing so on the other side of the world – and there was sooooo much to learn, see, love, discover, and achieve.  Nothing inspires me more than experiencing something or some place new.  Nothing fills me with life more than being far away from home and figuring out how things are done in a different place.  There were times where I experienced feelings of isolation, loneliness; but this is to be expected when you leave your family, friends, your life, and everything that is familiar at the age of 20 and move so very far away. 

So, as I said, I am in NZ.  After dabbling in various fields of my trade, I found myself working as an Electrical Fitter – basically an electrician that does maintenance and fault work in HV substations.  33,000 – 200,000 Volts, generally.  This was me.  I was in love.  I don’t know what it was…. Well, actually, I do.  It was the fresh air, for a start.  The subs we tended to were often out in the wop-wops, outside the cities and towns, out in the country amongst the sheep and the wind and the hillsides.  We had subs that were right on the seaside; subs in the mountains; subs in the paddocks; and a few subs that were “in town” – but it didn’t matter because once you got up in the cherry picker or up the gantry or on top of a transformer, you were still with the wind and above all the normality and racket.  We worked to strict safety requirements and even stricter time constraints - this made the work even more rewarding as there was a bigger challenge to get it completed. Every day I was pushed – mentally, physically, and most certainly emotionally – and to be able to continuously overcome obstacles in the field is completely empowering and gave an endorphine rush that would give most good drugs a run for their money.  It didn’t matter if I was sweeping floors, installing new protection panel wiring, repairing a faulted transformer or replacing rusty bolts – every day I went home eager for the next work day to come.  I wanted to work weekends, holidays, late nights and early mornings.  I’m not even kidding.  I had to tell people that I was money-hungry, cause there was no way anyone would believe I was just that keen to go to work.
Each day I arrived early; and that’s saying something, considering some days were a 3:30 a.m. start.  No joke.  It was my opinion that apprentices should never miss a chance to show their ambition and enthusiasm… both of which I had plenty.  I cared about 50 year old transformers as if they were my very own cherished shoe collection or something.  I was constantly wanting all the information I could get for each piece of equipment, and it pained my impatient soul at times to learn that some things can only be ascertained from experience, not from manuals or history records, or even hounding my journeymen til the cows came home.

I loved my freedom so much.  I loved that I was accountable to and depended on by next to noone.  I had flatmates in NZ who I was good friends with, but I very much came and went as I pleased, and loved this fact more than anything.  I had no family commitments, no social life, and for the most part no relationships that were worth mentioning.  I went out of town for work sometimes 3 times in a single week, and sometimes I got sent away for work for days, weeks, and months at a time.  Timaru, Westport, Greymouth, Clyde, Roxburgh, Castle Hill, Tekapo – all these gems of NZ were frequented by us and it was such a thrill to be cruising through the most picturesque parts of the country, and getting PAID for it!!   Countless times I can remember thinking to myself, “I never want to give this up”…
My aforementioned flatmates had a child while I was living there.  She was a shining light in my life – she lit me up – she was a treasure.  I loved spending time with her, seeing her grow and develop, and I loved how she completed their little family.  But I can still remember thinking, gosh, she is the loveliest baby in the world – it doesn’t get any better than a baby like this – but I don’t know if I ever want to have one of my own.  Be tied down.  Be tied TO someone… be responsible for a family.  The thought sent a chill down my spine, to be perfectly honest. 

Yet now here I am - the keeper of my home; a mum; nothing more, nothing less.

So it begs the question.
Is it timing?  Is it the biological clock?  You know, I wasn’t ready then, but I am now?  Is it a matter of fulfillment?  Having experienced travel, a sense of achievement, breaking boundaries and exceeding expectations – has this made me feel like I can now move on to get a different sense of fulfillment?
Is it love?  Does falling in love with the person who perfectly completes you make you more baby-minded? 

So now, one might be able to see how this is such a torment for me – to contemplate being a mum and being in the workforce is so overwhelming because obviously the work that I used to do was extremely demanding of my time.  The one thing we can never get enough of.  The one thing that being a mum demands the most.  Clearly my circumstances are quite unique, however I know other mums can draw parallels with certain aspects of my situation and often find themselves debating how it can be done.  How can we give 100% in both places – work and home?  Damn you, society, for placing that expectation on todays women.  Damn you, I say..

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Gender Debate cont'd

Lately, I have been having to remind myself that I am doing half the work.  That is, half the work that it takes to raise a family and run a “home”.  I do half, and Nathan does half.  But for some reason, Nathan gets paid, and I do not. 
I struggled with this concept – still do – as I find it quite a hard thing to be spending “someone elses money”.  Because of the circumstances of our living arrangements, I do not receive any parental leave pay nor do we get any government assistance.  We live solely on what Nathan brings home.  He is the sole bread winner.  I, like most other girls of my generation, have been working since I was a teenager, and got used to having disposable income, and not being too much accountable to anyone for my spending habits.  Now I find myself in a position where I have nothing of my own to spend.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I have nothing to spend.  I’m saying its not my OWN.  A few other mums I have spoken with say that you get used to this feeling, and you don’t feel so guilty after a while.  And Nathan is constantly reminding me that, even though its his salary, the money actually belongs to the “family unit”.  His job is only half the work, by going to work each day to earn that money- my job is the other half – by running the household. 
Now somehow, in all the commotion and ruckus of the modern-day revolution, the emphasis on the importance of running a household has been down-played and undermined.  We are led to think that its no longer a full-time job, so mothers needn’t pursue it any longer as such.  And if they did choose to do such a thing, be prepared for almost no kudos or admiration or respect because it is no longer enough to warrant it!
This, in itself, is absurd. 

Here are some granted points for the opposition to this argument:
There are things we have today that we didn’t have in the past that makes a home run smoother.  Today we have dishwashers.  We have washing machines.  We have disposable nappies.  We have microwaves, electricity, convenience foods, and access to cheap clothing and homewares.  Gone are the days of homemade crafts, goods, or even daily baked bread and the like.  It just isn’t the norm anymore.  So without all these time-consuming things of the past, what keeps a homemaker busy in todays age?
Well.  I am learning as I go, but let me just note some observations….

Someone has to put in the time to “keep up” with the housework.  I quickly learned that there is no sense letting it build up on you – so it sort of fits in to babies routine like clockwork, if you want to stay on top of it.
 It takes planning to put healthy, balanced meals on the table every night that suit both parents and baby.  Meals with fresh food – no frozen foods or ready-made packet products, as these are often more expensive than starting from scratch!  New parents learn very quickly that this all becomes a juggling act, and you have to get creative!!  Babies aren’t at their best at “dinner-cooking” time…. So it is often wise to do all dinner prep (and all possible cooking) throughout the day.  Babies don’t eat curries, extremely rich food, spicy stuff and the like…. So sometimes babies get separate meals to mum and dad.  This means preparing “batches” of food for storing or freezing for babies requirements.  An unrewarding act if, when presented with the food, baby turns his nose up and decides its not good enough!!  Luckily, we don’t have that problem – our baby, so far, is a human vacuum cleaner – eats almost anything and everything put in front of him  - bar eggs.  He doesn’t do eggs.  Unless you fool him with French toast.  Yep I’m sneaky  – Mummy 1, Jack 0.

Babies don’t just require food and clean nappies – they also need plenty of time, love, patience, entertaining, and fresh air and sunshine.  These are the most important things about spending time with my child – and the reason for wanting to be a stay at home mum.  When you put all these things together, it fills in the day pretty quickly.

In our situation with only one income, obviously it cuts down on disposable income that we were used to in the pre-parenthood days.  As a stay-at-home mum, I am finding it my duty to do things such as: buy home brands at the supermarket.  Know what’s cheap and whats not for any particular grocery item.  Use cloth nappies to cut down on the cost of disposables.  Hang washing outside instead of using a clothes dryer.  Get handy with the sewing machine to do any and all alterations this family requires.  Be “crafty” with gifts – it just gets too expensive to go buy presents for everyone all the time!!  I have learned how to bake, how to cook, how to knit, hell we even started a garden in the back yard which I'm hoping, in time, will cut costs a wee bit on produce purchased from the supermarket.  At the end of the day it all adds up…. So not only do we get a bit of savings from these little things, but its also rewarding to me to know I am having a positive impact on the “bottom line”.  Which is ironic, because although I feel like I am creating savings, I am also the only one that spends the money in the first place! 

And who would have thought that I, Little Miss Gen Y, Little Miss Independent, Child of the 90’s (as Nathan calls me), would become such a domesticated, old fashioned, frugal, strict mum! 
And this is where I am convinced that its more than just learned behaviour.  Its more like instinct.  Engrained deep within me from previous generations.  I now somehow feel a close tie with my grandmothers and great grandmothers – the ladies of previous eras to whom being a housewife was very familiar. 
My mother, on the other hand, was not a house wife – she is very much a career woman – and I wonder if she scratches her head sometimes to see me reverted in such a short time into such a different person, habitually.

So, yes, Nathan earns a salary while I stay home and keep a house for him.  It doesn’t get more real than that.  Or boring, for some.  But the more we play this parenting game the more I am convinced that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  Families have been operating like this for centuries and I just think that it’s a wonderful and balanced operation – it just works. 
Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge that some women have to go back to work to “make ends meet”.  (we are lucky enough that we don’t have to do this)..  And some women have to go back to work because they aren’t cut out to stay at home all day, every day.  But for me, it has just come to pass that it all feels perfectly natural.  Gender Roles work in this house.
Its true that I know how to use a drill, a screwdriver, a crescent, and an array of other tools to fix or make things.  But in this house, building toyboxes and garden planters is unspokenly Nathans job on a Saturday afternoon while I spend hours in the kitchen baking or cooking up batches of baby food.  I’m an electrician – but its Nathan that often replaces the lightbulbs or fixes the faulty electronics, while I do the cleaning and mend Jack’s clothes.  I was a confident member of the workforce not so long ago, yet when asked by other people “what we do”, I wait for Nathan to tell of his role as an engineer, and then happily let the conversation drift without needing (or hoping?) to inform anyone that I am (was?) an electrical fitter… I am content letting people assume that I am a “mum”.  Nothing else really matters, does it?

So in all my recent realizations about my true self, I am acutely aware of society’s expectation – and thus, the expectations of mothers upon themselves – that it doesn’t suffice to stay at home and raise your family.  You must get back into your career; be somebody; make something of yourself!  I have even heard people say “what a waste” about a young, successful woman that is putting her career on hold to have a baby.  It is the ultimate purpose in life.  We are all just animals, afterall.  We have an ability and an instinct to reproduce.  A woman has a womb for a reason – and should she choose to walk the path of domestic management as appose to business management, is it really such a pity?  

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Gender Debate

I am writing this blog as I have many matters, points, issues and subjects to send out into the ether to be debated, disputed, agreed upon and pondered….. by anyone who wishes to do so. 
I have an itch to cover the topic of “gender roles”.  I have slowly been changing my opinions on my own principles, to the point that I have now done a complete 180.  Having a child has both enlightened me and made me feel ignorant, and I now live in a permanent state of contemplation, wondering who, if anyone, is “right” on the matter of Gender Roles.

Having completed an apprenticeship and progressed on to become a qualified electrician, I am one who fully understands and appreciates the importance of gender equality in society, and more specifically, in the work place.  This social liberty which we tend to take for granted in western countries was, for a number of years, the very key to my happiness, quality of life, fulfillment, and sense of achievement. 
Now let me stop right there and say that, now, I am living a life which draws nearly no parallels with my pre-motherhood life – yet I am still managing to achieve happiness, quality of life, fulfillment and a sense of achievement. 
This has confused and amused me.

Society is seemingly changing more and more with each generation, instilling ideas in our minds that we are not defined by whether we are a man or a woman, but by who we are as an individual.  That your strengths and weaknesses don’t reside in your gender, and that anyone can perform any career (almost) and have any sort of lifestyle.  We are all different. 
I grew up with this unwavering sense of confidence; believing that whatever my goals were, as long as I worked hard, they would be achievable.  Never in my mind was there the idea that I wouldn’t be welcome on some particular job site or lack the resourcefulness to complete any sort of task at hand.  Thanks to my parents and the mentality of Gen Y, I truly believed the world was my oyster and I deserved whatever I worked for.  I grew up believing women MUST have careers.  Women MUST be independent.  Women must NEVER rely solely on a man for income or financial security.  So I shaped my life by these rules, and grew a work ethic that was consistent with this mentality.
I got a trade.  I felt the reward of a hard days’ work often defined by physical labor.  I developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  I became work-obsessed…. I loved my job and I wanted to know the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs, loopholes,  potential, and limitations of the industry within which I worked.  I experienced the significance of camaraderie, learnt the value of a dollar, and at the end of the day was always rewarded monetarily by the hours I had put in.  It was more than I could ever ask for…. Work didn’t feel like work – it was like an addiction.  I never wanted to do anything else.  Nothing got me going like a big ol’ switchyard – 220 kV lines; gantry rising into the blue sky; warm, humming transformers; massive hunks of metal containing circuit breakers and other protection mechanisms; and the list goes on… just talking about it makes my heart flutter.  I managed to stumble into what was ultimately the love of my life – high voltage.  (By stumble, I don’t mean literally – as that would be quite dangerous.  I mean I unexpectedly ended up working for a division of my company that led me to this magnificent field of work.)
And then there was Jack.
Well, before Jack, there was Nathan – I better just clarify that he is the “link” in this picture; the bridge between past and present life.  We met on a job in a powerstation, and now he is my provider, our protector, the “bread winner” – and I am a dependent, stay-at-home devoted mother of our sweet little boy, Jack.

And herein lies the conflict… the befuddlement and the perplexity which is thrust upon me as a modern-day “new” mum.

You see, the older Jack gets, (and currently he is 10 months), the less fathomable it is for me to actually part with him.  Granted, I have known all along that I would not have to go back to work in any hurry – Nathan and I decided before we even conceived this child that we want to raise him with a stay-at-home parent.  Now, this idea when first impressed upon me by Nathan, was not taken very well.  It was foreign to me; my mother worked, my Auntie worked, all the women close to me were career women as well as good mothers.  I was taught that I should be independent, and so on and so forth.  But over time I came to see that what Nathan believed wasn’t such a bad idea after all…. I just thought it was a bit unheard of in this day and age.
Anyways, I digress. 
So I now have this child.  And as I was saying, its probably because I haven’t had to “mentally prepare” myself to have him separated from me, but as other new mums with babies Jack’s age are having to go back to work, I seem to have trouble breathing at the thought of such a thing.  My heart starts to palpitate and my throat starts constricting at the thought of being apart from my child for 8-10 hours a day.  Its actually a joke to me – because I think if I were suddenly forced into such a situation, I would have a breakdown.  Its incredulous.  The most unnatural thing in the world.

How did I come to stray so far from Miss Independent? 

This is my point of contention.  I will sign off here, as to go any further will require a whole new length of blog reading, and I want to ensure the next “chapter” expands evenly on all the relative sub-topics being drawn up here, such as:  society’s expectations, paternal instincts, why mums should stay at home (instead of dads), financial dependence (or, a loss of Independence), re-entering the workforce and its associated challenges.

It seems lately that there has been a focus-shift in the media; I am seeing more and more blogs and editorials that are questioning the “super-mum” expectation that society has somehow managed to come to accept.  So what are the real reasons mum’s want to do it all…… such a complex issue that needs to be picked apart!
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,

Yours truly