“I read a book that I think you would love,” said a facebook message I got a bit ago. “I felt like I was having a conversation with you while I was reading it. Go check it out!”
The book my friend was talking about was This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today by Kristin Maschka.
On my facebook friend’s recommendation I purchased the electronic version of the book and started reading away on my iTouch. There were moments I teared up, moments I got mad and – the beautiful thing – moments I said, ah-ha!
Kristin’s book helped me identify and articulate some of the emotions I’ve experienced since becoming a mother. I felt a sense of kinship in realizing there were many other women around me who felt the same sense of conflict I felt trying to reconcile their professional persona with their maternal persona.
Some items caught my attention?
“No matter what baggage we carry, mothers today often feel we have to decide between our families and our ambitions. We sense that we can’t have both because our subconscious tells us that mothers are completely fulfilled by caring for family and mothers who are employed or pursue personal fulfillment are selfish. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for ambition. Should a ‘good’ mother be able to let go of ambition?”
“Mothers I talked to shared… a sense of loss… “I’ve somehow lost my ‘more.’ It got relegated to the back burner some time ago, and got replaced by the things my kids and husband are passionate about.’ As another mother described so well: ‘I felt my identity shrivel up and wither.'”
“A woman shared she had recently attended a career seminar in her field. She asked the people in attendance how to explain in an interview the fact that for three years she had been caring for her family and not employed. A colleague told her, “Tell them you’ve been in a coma. That way you’ll have better luck explaining why you haven’t been doing anything for the past three years.” Haven’t. Been. Doing. Anything?… I need to update my resume and I have two options:
Coma Patient (1999-2002) Responsible for lying in a hospital bed as machines breath for me, tubes feed me, and nurses bathe me.
Family Care Provider (1999-2002) Responsible for… everything!
You’re telling me I’m better off with the title Coma Patient? How is it possible that people can calmly assert that being in a coma – a coma! – is more productive, more contributing, more work than caring for a family?”
I ended up writing Kristin a note thanking her for putting her own struggles down on paper for other people to enjoy and take wisdom from. The book is an excellent tool to start examining my own feelings and perspectives – and then filter them through my own core beliefs in my responsibility and ability to do the job(s) that God has called me to do.
Kristin was so friendly and responded personally. She even offered me a book to give away to you, the Stealing Faith reader, for free!
It’s my first giveaway and I’m pretty excited about it!
So, here’s your job. You have one week to contribute a comment on this post. Next Sunday, Easter 2011, I’ll put the names of everyone who comments in a hat and have the ruffians draw the winner.
And that lucky winner will get a book from Kristen!
Isn’t that lovely?!
Tell me in the comments what parts of motherhood surprised you the most? Have you had conversations that parenting isn’t what you thought it would be with the significant women in your life?