Thursday, August 17, 2006

Self Portrait Thursday many elephants do you see?

(Click to embiggen. Hat tip: Chasmyn and The Simpsons.)

Here's a freebie, one of them is mostly hidden behind the upper right hand corner of my screen.*

Sometimes I'm reticent to tell people that I work from home. They tend to assume I'm just working part time to make a few extra bucks. Not so! I'm the primary bread winner so I work full time and because I'm self-employed, that generally means over 40 hours a week. Although I do work long hours some days, I also have a great deal of flexibility, which rocks the house! I never imagined I'd be so lucky to have a work-from-home (hereafter known as a WFH) job, but I always imagined I'd be working.

Interestingly enough, (to me, you're probably bored to tears, that's alright, just skip ahead a few paragraphs) the issue of balancing work and family life was thrust into my consciousness at the tender age of 7.**

It was a rainy day and my dad*** was driving the carpool to take us to school along with some of the neighbor kids when he asked us "What do you want to be when you grow up?" At least I thought he was asking us, he quickly corrected my assumption. When I cheerfully submitted, "I want to be a Psychologist!"**** He responded with, "Actually, honey, I was asking Mike."***** Then he floored me with what was quite probably one of the most psychologically damaging things he ever said to me, "Besides, don't you want to get married and have kids? How are you going to do both?"

I had no idea what to say. Meekly, I responded, "I don't know?" I was stunned, I did not know I could not do both. This had not occured to me before. At that moment, my Cinderella complex was sown.

Fortunately, I was a child of the 60's so while my father was a heavy influence on my later concessions to the patriarchy, my consciousness was being raised daily in a million tiny ways. At that time the country was exploding, so the mainstream media was full of radical flower children, bra-burning feminists, bussing and civil rights. I was watching Free To Be You & Me and singing along because I knew all the words! Everyone was created equal, weren't they? Women could do anything men could do, right? Isn't that why Billie Jean kicked Bobbie's ass?******

But that day in the car got me to wondering, and a seed of doubt was sown, how could I do both? I'm still trying to figure that out.


**I was also questioning the doctrine of predestination at that age, but that's a whole nother post.

***My Dad deserves a little defense here, after all, he was the affectionate parent. He was the huggie, lovey, here-comes-the-tickle-bird, let's-watch-cartoons, fun guy! He was also the stern but mostly fair (and never abusive!) disciplinarian. While some of his ideas are shockingly progressive and libertarian he can also be a sexist, racist, classist, knee-jerk repukelican deeply entrenched in the care and maintenance of the patriarchal status quo. From his perspective it's just good business sense. After all, he's a white boy who came of age in the 1950's; the dominant paradigm has served him very well! He is hopelessly anachronistic, but he's also always been the most emotionally supportive of my parents. It's safe to say my feelings on him are mixed, but I do love him, I can't deny it.

****Long story: I promise, I'll do a whole nother post on that one too, k? Short story: my mother couldn't deal with me so she took me to a psychologist who procured a prescription for Ritalin, which I took from the ages of 6 to 10. For some reason I liked him so I wanted to be psychologist too. Go figure?!

*****He still lives across the street. His family is one of at least half a dozen on this street alone, including me, who came back to the old neighborhood to raise their children. Interestingly enough, I still don't hang out with any of them. Hmmm...okay, next post? Why can't I get along with people sometimes? Do I fall somewhere on the asbergers/autism spectrum or am I just misanthropic?

******I will never forget watching that moment in history with my entire family, jumping and shreiking with joy when she finally won! Finally we had proof that girls were just as good as boys! It was a defining moment for girls everywhere.


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