Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Motherscribe Interview Series: the 11th interview...

My 11th interview is with Anne who lives in Illinois. She is 40 years old, married with 3 children, and works outside the home. She has a blog called More Mindless Rambling.

What does the word feminist mean to you? Has the meaning changed over time?
To me, a feminist is someone who believes in, and actively works to forward the cause of, equal footings for women and men. I think the meaning of the word hasn’t changed, but the cause itself takes on a new shape with each milestone that is reached.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? I do consider myself a feminist.

Would others consider you a feminist? I think they would, particularly once they get to know me.

If you are a feminist, do you feel comfortable owning that title in your everyday life? The older I get, the more comfortable I am with owning everything in my life and feminism is no different. I tend to speak my mind even when that’s not wise, or my mind is full of opinions that aren’t particularly popular.

What are some images that come to mind when you think of the women’s movement? Flaming bras and women fighting for the right to vote.

What was the greatest gift of the women’s movement? The right to vote.

What was the greatest failure of the women’s movement? I don’t know that I would use the word failure, but active feminists often overlook a woman’s right to choose a more traditional role and seem to devalue it. I think we fought for the right to choose, not the right to conform to a different ideal.

Did your mother work outside the home? Yes.

How did that affect you growing up? It kept me fed and put a roof over my head.

What impression did that leave with you about women working outside the home? I never found it unusual, I guess I believed it was expected that women would work outside of the home. I didn’t have that many friends whose mother’s stayed home and I never really considered the choice until I was an adult.

Who were your earliest female role models other than your mother? I had a teacher that I absolutely adored, and I still keep in touch with her today.

What did you dream of being when you were a child? I dreamed of becoming a writer.

Was getting married/partnered a conscious goal or focus early on in your adulthood? No. I actually planned to stay single and completely unattached.

Is there an event(s) that affected you in childhood/adolescence that impacted your identity in a positive or negative way? Absolutely… and in a very negative way. Word has it that I may be able to turn it into a positive thing, so I’m working with that idea but it remains to be seen.

Have you ever dieted? Yes, but not until I was about 35.

Are you happy and/or comfortable with your weight? I’m okay. I wouldn’t mind losing 10 lbs, but if I don’t ever do that, I won’t worry about it too much.

Would you describe yourself as someone with “body issues?” No, not really.

How do you feel about the sexualizing of young women in our society? I hate it. Our society sexualizes children well before they have the capacity to understand and it creates unrealistic expectations/views of relationships.

What do you wish your mother had told you about marriage, life, anything…that you didn’t hear from her? I think I would have liked her to be honest with me about any of those things. She didn’t offer information freely, and she resisted answering any direct questions.

What role did your father play in your childhood? None. I did not know my father.

How do you feel about aging? I’m not terribly affected by it. The older I get, the more confident a person I become, so a few lines and some gray in my hair aren’t that big of a deal to me. I get a color touch-up, throw on a little moisturizer, and try not to squint.

How do you feel about plastic surgery? If it’s purely cosmetic, it’s not for me but I think people should do what they really want to do. That being said, there are a lot of people who have plastic surgery for reasons I do not understand at all. I think you have to look within and really determine if you’re doing it for you because it makes you happy.

Did your mother or another caretaker talk to you about sex and what to expect? No.

How was your first sexual experience? Traumatic.

Is marriage liberating or inhibiting sexually? It’s liberating!

What makes you feel sexy? Feeling good about myself – and wearing pretty underwear.

Do you have the energy/desire for sex at the end of the day? Usually, but why wait until the end?

What turns you on? Spontaneity – stolen moments that only we share.

What would make your sex life better? My husband and I have different sleep schedules. He prefers to go to bed early, I go to bed late. He gets up early, and I prefer to never get up. Hence, stolen moments at strange times of day are critical, but more time spent together horizontally couldn’t hurt.

What do you do for a living? I am the Senior Vice-President and Cashier of a community bank.

What do you love about being a working mom? I love working and I love being a mom. I would love to be a mom who works a little less, but I believe I will always be the kind of person who needs to have a career. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and a place to create relationships with people that are not centered around my kids.

What are the challenges of being a working mom? I feel like a circus act sometimes; particularly the one with the guy trying to keep 20 plates spinning on poles. And there’s the guilt. Of course, there is the guilt. I do not make it to EVERY sporting event and I am not running the PTA. Sometimes I think I should be doing that.

If you had a choice to be at home with your children, would you? I would be home more, but not full-time.

Was the decision an economic one (e.g., your family requires two incomes)? It didn’t start out that way, but it would be a factor now if I wanted to quit working.

Do you see evidence of “The Mommy Wars” in your everyday life? Yes, but not that often.

Do you beat yourself up for not spending enough time with your kids? Sure, sometimes. However, I think questioning it is a sign that I am conscious of maintaining a balance and I think I do a pretty decent job of it most of the time.

Do you feel supported by your partner? Yes I do.

Do you feel supported by other women? Absolutely.

Do you feel valued in your workplace? Most of the time.

Do you feel valued at home? Yes.

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? I believe that with all of my heart.

Can women do it all? I think some of us believe we must, which just means that we need to give ourselves a break and learn to ask for help.

How old are your children? 16, 15, and 9

What do you want to do differently with your children than what you received from your parents? I want to be honest with my kids in an age-appropriate way and I want to listen to them. I want to give them a sense of security and a decent amount of self-esteem. Most of all, I want them to know they are loved and that they can come to me with anything.

What would you like to carry on that your parents established with you? I actually feel guilty that I can’t think of an answer to this question, and a little sad because there isn’t anything.

How has having children changed the relationship with your partner? It has solidified it. We have these people that we’re both responsible for and we work together as partners in raising them. Before the kids, I think we were both a little selfish and we didn’t really work together on things.

Do you have dates with your partner? Yes. We try to go out without any kids at least once each month.

Do you have personal “ME” time scheduled every week/every day? No, not really.

How do you combat stress? I have a tendency to let stress kick my butt.

Do you get out regularly with girlfriends? Not regularly, no.

Has it been challenging to retain a separate sense of self from your role as mother & wife? It has been challenging at times. If I were asked to define myself, mother and wife would be my first 2 answers in either order, and then I would inevitably stop and think for awhile to come up with more words.

What do you do to facilitate that? I’m not consciously doing anything to facilitate that.

Do you help create personal space for your partner? I guess I’d better ask him, because I don’t think so.

Does your partner share in household tasks? He does most of the cooking, all of the grocery shopping, and a lot of the outside stuff, too.

How did you think your life would be when you got married? How do you feel now? I didn’t think marriage would require so much effort. I love being married and I am married to my best friend, but it is work to function as a team rather than as two individuals.

Are you happy and/or fulfilled with your life? Why? I am very happy with my life. I have a wonderful family, my marriage is stronger than ever, and I’m where I want to be in my career. I can’t complain (much). Over the years, there have been a number of times when I stopped to ask myself if I was where I was supposed to be, and if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I tweaked things along the way according to those answers. Strangely enough, the questions usually come up when I know deep down that I need a good tweaking.

What do you yearn for? Peace. Not with the world, but with myself. Some days are better than others.

Thank you, Anne.

Comments are closed for The Motherscribe Interviews. For more about Anne, please find her on More Mindless Rambling.

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