Friday, September 15, 2006

The Choice

Bubba sent me this blog about the passing of Ann Richards, written by a woman who writes for the NY Times, among other things.

*I am inserting the gist of it here for those that can't access the link above*

Ann Richards, Hillary Clinton – those women of that turbulent, transitional period of the 80’s into the 90’s – had it right. You can’t clean house and make it to “the dome” too. You can’t bake cookies and make it to the Senate. And that’s not just because there isn’t enough time. More profoundly, it’s because it just isn’t human to do all that. With all of our spouting off these days about the glorious variety of women’s Choice, there is one basic choice that we are not humanly able to make: we cannot choose what kind of people we are or what we are driven, drawn, destined to do. The best we can do is be ourselves – and stand up for what it takes to bring our self into being.
I hate to bake cookies. I will never have a neat house. And I am sick and tired of ruining my days – and my family’s for that matter – trying to be someone I am constitutionally incapable of being.
I want to be like Ann Richards, who in the later years of her life freed herself from the need to do things perfectly, relinquished the desire to be all things to all people, and focused, she said in a 2001 interview, on living a life filled with love, fun and work.

Now I don't always agree with the women who write for the Times, but this one really had an affect on me. I have always been of the opinion that women hold all the cards. We can stay home, we can work, we can do a little of both (God bless those women who are able to do that), we can choose NOT to have children, the list goes on and on. (Bubba says men have two or go to jail, and he's not all wrong.) Anyway, the problem is that The Choice isn't always easy, and you are damn lucky if you are actually in a position to CHOOSE one or the other. A lot of women don't have those choices. The article points out that you should also be true to yourself if you DO have the choice and not kill yourself by trying to be Super Woman. You are who you are, and no amount of Oprah or Martha Stewart day time TV will change that.

Makes me think of Baby Boom. I love that movie. Whenever I see a woman on the street here who is obviously a Career Woman pushing a stroller, I'm reminded of the scene when Diane Keaton is pushing the stroller and trying to keep up with the non-mommy woman who is passing her, dressed to the Nines in heels and a business suit, and she just gives up with complete resignation after less than a block. It is the shifting point in the movie, and one that I think most women can identify with.

I don't know yet which side of the Work/Stay Home line I'm going to fall on. It will likely be a little of both as our family life evolves and kids grow up, etc. At least, that's what I hope and pray. But I thank God I have The Choice in the first place.

And that I can bake a mean batch of cookies one night and talk about highway design the next day.


Bubba said...

I'll step into this.

I think men are short changed a little here too. There are men that are stay at home care givers to the children too.

My main point is that when the wife works, the house work, etc. falls on both spouses. So, men could end up trying to do it all, work, coach little league, and make dinner when mommy has to work late. Men just don't worry so much about it because we aren't seen as having to choose between careers and stay at home. It's frustrating for me because my boss's wife is a stay at home mom. So he works all the time. Great, but with Katie working too, I have to do some of the stuff his wife takes care of, so I don't want to work his hours, and then go home to chores he doesn't.

Does that make sense?

Mike in NY said...

I can't get to that link. I think you need to be a NYT subscriber...

Anyways, there is one quote attributed to Ann that I liked and I mentioned it to the wife last night.

"Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels"

katielady said...

Thanks, Mike, I inserted the piece I wanted everyone to read.

And I remember that quote. Classic.

angelq said...

Bubba, I feel your pain on the boss thing. I've been saying it for years. Problem is I haven't quite figured out how to let go of the notion that I can do it all. There's a lot of guilt associated with not being able to cook as often as I "should" or get my housework done in a timely manner.