Monday, April 13, 2009

The Motherscribe Interview Series: the 18th interview...

My 18th interview is with HG who lives in Canada. She is 34 years old, married, with two children. She is a stay-at-home mom and has a blog called The Happy Geek.

What does the word feminist mean to you? Has the meaning changed over time? I’m not sure if the meaning has changed or it’s perception has changed now that many goals have been reached. To me the ideal feminists were along the likes of Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy and the rest of the Famous Five. They were looking for equality and improving the society in which they were living.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? I see myself as one who believes in equality for the sexes.

Would others consider you a feminist? I don’t think so, at least not in today’s terms.

What are some images that come to mind when you think of the women’s movement? Suffrage, the right to personhood, temperance, women finally being given the vote.

What was the greatest gift of the women’s movement? In Canada I would say it was the declaration of Personhood. All other advances seemed to stem from this.

What was the greatest failure of the women’s movement? The perception that many have of angry women with little sense of humour who seem to take things entirely too seriously.

How do you feel about the sexualizing of young women in our society? It horrifies me. There are many days that I am grateful I am not growing up now and that I am raising sons.

Did your mother work outside the home? Yes, but not until we were in grade school.

How did that affect you growing up? I grew up thinking this was the ideal way to do things. My mom got a chance to continue her career but still was home for us in our formative years.

What impression did that leave with you about women working outside the home? I felt that women could do both but it was ideal for women to be home when their children were small.

Was your mother a homemaker? Yes.

Did your father respect your mother? Yes.

Did your mother respect your father? Yes.

Who were your earliest female role models other than your mother? My two grandmothers.

What did you dream of being when you were a child? A teacher.

What do you yearn for? I have toddlers. I yearn for quiet.

Was getting married/partnered a conscious goal or focus early on in your adulthood? I was married at 21. Looking back I am not even sure I had hit adulthood yet.

Have you ever dieted? Yes.

Are you happy and/or comfortable with your weight? No. I weigh the most I ever have but am lacking the motivation to stop eating and start exercising.

Would you describe yourself as someone with “body issues?” If so, when do you remember this starting? What do you attribute it to? No, I don’t have body issues I’m just fat.

What do you wish your mother had told you about marriage, life, anything…that you didn’t hear from her? Nothing really.

What role did your father play in your childhood? Very active.

What was your relationship like with your father? We are extremely similar so it was often antagonistic. It’s matured and grown now that I am an adult. The antagonism is gone and replaced with a mutual respect.

How do you feel about aging? It’s just part of living. Both of my parents work with the aged so I grew up around the aging and really don’t fear it at all.

How do you feel about plastic surgery? For others, great if they feel they need it. For me, I’m pretty happy with my double chin and tiny boobs.

Did your mother or another caretaker talk to you about sex and what to expect? She covered the biology of it. The rest I learned from Harlequin romances.

How was your first sexual experience? Awesome.

Is marriage liberating or inhibiting sexually? I was a virgin when I was married so it was liberating to finally get it on.

What makes you feel sexy? An appreciative partner.

Do you have the energy/desire for sex at the end of the day? Not always as much as I would like.

What turns you on? Words of affirmation, help around the house. Who says romance is dead once you get married?

What would make your sex life better? More sleep.

Why did you decide to be a stay-at-home mom? It has always been something I’d wanted to do.

Do you consider it a job? Do you feel that you are valued? It’s definitely a job. One of the hardest I have ever done. I do not always feel valued.

Do you feel supported by your partner? Not always.

Do you feel supported by other women? Generally.

Do you see evidence of “The Mommy Wars” in your everyday life? Not really, but most of my crowd is the SAHM set.

What do you love about being a SAHM? I love having this much time with my kids. I love being able to teach them and help them grow. I love being the primary influence in their little lives.

Is there a dark side of being a SAHM? The loneliness and tedium can be overwhelming at times.

What was your career before you had children? I was a teacher.

Has it been hard to let go of that identity? Or you still identify with that role? I really hated my job so I’m delighted to not have to do it any more.

If you had a choice to return to work, would you? I plan to go back to work when my kids are in school, I just don’t know what I want to do when I grow up yet.

Do you believe a happy, fulfilled mom is a better mom whether her choice is to work outside the home or to stay at home with her children? Absolutely.

Can women do it all? Yes, but not always all at once.

How old are your children? Three and Four.

What do you want to do differently with your children than what you received from your parents? I hope to be less antagonistic when they are teens. I also hope to teach them more skills, even when it is time consuming rather than just doing it myself.

What would you like to carry on that your parents established with you? Treating every child as an individual and having a great deal of fun as a family.

How has having children changed the relationship with your partner? I can’t say that it has changed us all that much. We have to be more purposeful in setting time aside, but that’s about it.

Do you have dates with your partner? Yes.

Do you have personal “ME” time scheduled every week/every day? I don’t really schedule it, when I need it I try to take it. That being said, I do like to wake up before my kids to spend time in prayer and then maybe even shower alone.

How do you combat stress? I eat. I can’t say I recommend this.

Do you get out regularly with girlfriends? I see my friends, but it is usually at play dates, which I refuse to count as quality girlfriend time. But for now, it will have to do.

Has it been challenging to retain a separate sense of self from your role as mother & wife? All feminists may want to skip my answer to this question. At this point in my life I see myself as a wife and mother primarily. Being that is who I am right now and I don’t want or need any separate identity from that. I like time to myself, but I don’t feel I need an identity that is separate from my family.

Do you help create personal space for your partner? Absolutely. His job is quite demanding and I try as hard as I can to give him the space to veg that he needs. I find this challenging sometimes, but when I give him his space then things seem to flow better in our house.

Does your partner share in household tasks? Bwhahahaha. His definition of helping and mine is probably our greatest source of friction. Out of respect for my man I will leave it at that.

How did you think your life would be when you got married? How do you feel now? I was 21. And rather stupid. I pictured nookie all the time, lots of romance and long walks on the beach. I pictured my husband staying at his career forever and 3-4 kids and a dog.

Now, well, we’ve moved 7 times, he’s been in school 5.5 years out of 12, he’s switched careers 3 times and I discovered I truly hate my career choice. I cannot fathom having more than two kids and I DO NOT want a pet.

Things are good, but they are not what I expected. In any way.

Are you happy and/or fulfilled with your life? Why? I’m quite happy. It’s a very good season in my life. Crazy but good.

Thank you, HG.

The Motherscribe Interviews are closed to comments. For more about HG, please find her on The Happy Geek.

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