Tag Archives: quotation

A contributing member of society

A blast from the past here on MamaBlogga

gilbert_keith_chesterton2We’re often told raising our children isn’t enough: we should be “productive.” We should have “real jobs.” Strangers ask us to justify raising our children when we’ve obtained higher learning. We should “contribute to society.” I promised you a rant on how nothing contributes more to society than raising children will, but lovely guest blogger G.K. Chesterton (at right) has taken that up for me.

He was way ahead of his time, you know. I mean, the man died seventy years ago, and he had the foresight to write this post for me. Okay, okay, so really this is just a long quotation. Emphasis, images and paragraphs breaks added.

Woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist.

Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world.

But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.

globeHow can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the Universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, p 118-119

Thanks, G.K.! (Note that this is taken slightly out of context, but seriously, it’s a lot better this way. Don’t bother reading the stuff that comes before or after it; it’s not quite so “enlightened.”)

Photo credits: question mark—Svilen Mushkatov; globe—Sanja Gjenero

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A contributing member of society

gilbert_keith_chesterton2We’re often told raising our children isn’t enough: we should be “productive.” We should have “real jobs.” Strangers ask us to justify raising our children when we’ve obtained higher learning. We should “contribute to society.” I promised you a rant on how nothing contributes more to society than raising children will, but lovely guest blogger G.K. Chesterton (at right) has taken that up for me.

He was way ahead of his time, you know. I mean, the man died seventy years ago, and he had the foresight to write this post for me. Okay, okay, so really this is just a long quotation. Emphasis, images and paragraphs breaks added.

Woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist.

Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world.

But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.

globeHow can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the Universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, p 118-119

Thanks, G.K.! (Note that this is taken slightly out of context, but seriously, it’s a lot better this way. Don’t bother reading the stuff that comes before or after it; it’s not quite so “enlightened.”)

In other news, I’d like to note that I was one of five winners of literary agent Nathan Bransford’s guest blogging contest, and my guest post will go live on his blog next week 😀 .

Photo credits: question mark—Svilen Mushkatov; globe—Sanja Gjenero

Life as a juggler

carol_bartzCarol Bartz is a busy woman. She’s a CEO (again), a breast cancer survivor, a community volunteer—and, oh yeah, a mom. While her children are now grown, she’s had all these balls in the air at the same time,

Five years ago, when she still had children at home, Business Week interviewed her. Toward the end of their article, they highlighted her commitment to family:

Bartz showed up for a board meeting one night with a hugely swollen leg. Turns out, she had rushed from work to her daughter’s soccer game and slipped, twisting her ankle. She hobbled to the game, then limped to the board meeting. Because the . . . freezer had no ice, she ended up sitting with a bag of frozen peas on her foot. But she carried on as usual, Nierenberg says. . . .

Bartz encourages her employees to have a life outside of work as well. Autodesk’s staffers can receive several hours off a month to help out at their children’s schools. A few weeks ago, Bartz taught 60 or so of her employees’ kids, who showed up for the company’s bring-your-kids-to-work day, how to execute a real business handshake (hand should not be limp, look the person in the eye).

How does Carol Bartz juggle all these roles? The interview hinted at that as well—but I think the two biggest keys are perspective and priorities.

First, she placed her family as her highest priority:

Ever since her daughter, who’s now 15, was in elementary school, Bartz would sit down with her at the beginning of each school year and promise to come to certain school events — say, a Christmas concert or the Halloween party. “I don’t care if the Pope comes to Autodesk, I’m still going to spend that time with her,” she says. Recently, she canceled a business dinner to attend her daughter’s first prom.

juggle_ballsSecond, Carol recognized that she wasn’t going to be perfect:

I have a belief that life isn’t about balance, because balance is perfection. Rather, it’s about catching the ball before it hits the floor.

I may not be a CEO, or even employed outside the home, but I take encouragement from that counsel. And you know what? Sometimes even the best jugglers drop the balls. What do they do? They pick them up and keep practicing.

How have you caught the ball before it hit the floor? How have you continued after dropping the ball?

Photo credit: juggle balls—Dani Simmonds

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Maria Shriver on motherhood

Maria Shriver is a journalist and the First Lady of California. When she appeared on the Oprah show in 2004, she made an observation that I totally agree with:

How do we get women to stop saying, “I’m just a mother”? Or, “I used to be such and such, but now I’m just a mother?” We need to market motherhood. So I came up with a saying: “Motherhood: 24/7 on the frontlines of humanity. Are you man enough to try it?”

We’ve discussed this quote before and most of you felt that we needed to start by taking more pride in what we do as mothers and not allowing others to disparage or belittle it.

Do you still agree with that? What else can we do to stand up for ourselves and our callings?

Do you have a quote from a famous mom? Submit it to famousmoms (at) mamablogga.com and we’ll discuss it one week, and you’ll get a link (if you include your URL, of course).

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Angelina Jolie on motherhood

In case you haven’t seen celebrity gossip over the last few years, I’ll just tell you: Angelina Jolie has a bunch of kids, and she’s supposed to have a couple more pretty soon here.

A little over a year ago, Jolie was interviewed by Reader’s Digest, and I found this quotation on receiving support from her partner, Brad Pitt (you’ve heard of him?):

He encourages the right things. If I’ve had a full day and just really been a hands-on mom, he’ll make a point to let me know that’s something he’s proud of. If I’m writing an Op-Ed, he’s the first person to want to read the drafts. I could be dressed up in the sexiest outfit for a photo shoot, and by his behavior, he’ll let me know that’s nice, but it’s nothing as sexy as when I’m home surrounded by the kids or reading books, educating myself. He slows me down to kind of get it right, to relax into the strength of my family and the love.

I like the support that she describes here, but most of all, I think it’s really important for us to “slow . . . down to . . . get it right, to relax into” our families and our love. What helps you to slow down?

Do you have a quote from a famous mom? Submit it to famousmoms (at) mamablogga.com and we’ll discuss it one week, and you’ll get a link (if you include your URL, of course).

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The Taming of the Mom

I have seen The Taming of the Shrew, I think, once (Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton version; I’ve seen 10 Things I Hate About You at least a few times, but somehow I don’t think that counts). There’s a production of Shrew at this year’s Utah Shakespearean Festival, and the feature in the Living section of the paper on Sunday was on the play.

If you’ve forgotten, the eponymous shrew is Katharina (Kate in this updated version), who is rather mean and abusive toward men, especially suitors. In the end, though, she is “tamed” and accepts one Petruchio as her husband (who gave as good as he got).

Katharina’s final soliloquy seems to show a drastic change in character (selection below for Shakespeare lovers) that explains why she would agree to marry (finally). The speech goes on about how hard husbands work for their wives and all husbands want is a little obedience and a kind look, and that’s not really asking that much, etc.

These lines are often ridiculed as an outdated view of marriage, clearly a product of their time that has no place in ours. And, of course, to an extent I agree that this oversimplified view of women’s subservience and subjugation isn’t a proper definition of marriage.

But what I found interesting was the actress’s (Melinda Parrett) take on the lines (emphasis added, source):

[I]n the contest of this production, Parrett finds Kate’s words moving and affirming.

“It’s not about losing yourself,” she said. “It’s about finding out who you are in relation to someone else. What I hear is that life is too short—love requires give and take, and we should simply relax and offer support to each other. I get choked up over it. It’s what I hope to feel someday.”

Although marriage and motherhood are usually related 😉 , when I read that quotation I wasn’t thinking about my husband. I was thinking about becoming a mother. For my husband and me, despite a short courtship, the transition to marriage was . . . well, what transition? Do you mean moving in together?

But for me, the transition to motherhood was very hard, and, of necessity, very sudden. I struggled for months (and sometimes still struggle) to define myself as a person and not only as a mother. I often feared that anything that was once unique about me, anything that I enjoyed or valued as an individual, would be obliterated by the full-time obligation entailed in having a child.

“It’s not about losing yourself. It’s about finding out who you are in relation to someone else.” Certainly this applies to marriage, but in an even deeper way, it’s applied to me as a mother. In some ways, I do (or did) feel that I had to lose myself—but only to find a new self, someone who was not “just” a mother, not “only” a mother, not “solely” a mother.

Someone who was a mother and proud to be a mother—but was still me.

Did you find it difficult to “find out who you are in relation to someone else” when you married or became a mother?
Continue reading The Taming of the Mom

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