Archive | March 2009

Does Motherhood Make Your Brain Mush? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

I grow mutant babies. They need less sleep that I do. It’s well known that lack of sleep will damage your physical and mental health. I merrily skip off to the istock_000005676893xsmallsupermarket, leaving my car door wide open. I put my tea bags in the fridge and my milk in the cupboard. I occasionally wear my clothes inside out. Even my own family has said my children have freakishly large stomachs regarding the amount of food the injest and still stay skinny. Part of the problem is both boys never stop moving until they pass out.

 

My brain is just so much fuller now. Obviously the bit of my brain that was meant to be picking out co-ordinating clothes, is otherwise engaged remembering that today is backward’s dress day at my son’s school.

 

Sometimes I feel guilty. Can this crumpled wild-eyed person fill the shoes of the ‘old’ me? The ‘old’ me was sharp and slim with a challenging mind. It was her (smug little so-and-so) that ran my current business.

 

I’ve discovered various strategies to work through the fog and the tiredness. I’ve become very organized. I even email myself reminders from home to work. Secondly, I power nap if I can. If an after lunch snooze is good enough for Winston Churchill, my life can spare me for fifteen minutes. Thirdly, I have the benefit of experience and seniority on my side. I can use “Mmmm-hmmm” where before I’d do 10 sides of closely written analysis. I can mentor younger colleagues, and in turn leave some of the number crunching detail for them to work out.

 

Without wishing to betray the sisterhood, I have to admit that the three months either side of each birth, I have felt drugged by my hormones. My family and friends remind me of things around that time that I absolutely don’t remember. Each person has to find their own way – but my approach is to go easy on myself during this time. I’ve had faith that “I’ll be back”.

 

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

www.sandrabeck.com

 

Does Motherhood Make Your Brain Mush? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

I grow mutant babies. They need less sleep that I do. It’s well known that lack of sleep will damage your physical and mental health. I merrily skip off to the istock_000005676893xsmallsupermarket, leaving my car door wide open. I put my tea bags in the fridge and my milk in the cupboard. I occasionally wear my clothes inside out. Even my own family has said my children have freakishly large stomachs regarding the amount of food the injest and still stay skinny. Part of the problem is both boys never stop moving until they pass out.

My brain is just so much fuller now. Obviously the bit of my brain that was meant to be picking out co-ordinating clothes, is otherwise engaged remembering that today is backward’s dress day at my son’s school.

Sometimes I feel guilty. Can this crumpled wild-eyed person fill the shoes of the ‘old’ me? The ‘old’ me was sharp and slim with a challenging mind. It was her (smug little so-and-so) that ran my current business.

I’ve discovered various strategies to work through the fog and the tiredness. I’ve become very organized. I even email myself reminders from home to work. Secondly, I power nap if I can. If an after lunch snooze is good enough for Winston Churchill, my life can spare me for fifteen minutes. Thirdly, I have the benefit of experience and seniority on my side. I can use “Mmmm-hmmm” where before I’d do 10 sides of closely written analysis. I can mentor younger colleagues, and in turn leave some of the number crunching detail for them to work out.

Without wishing to betray the sisterhood, I have to admit that the three months either side of each birth, I have felt drugged by my hormones. My family and friends remind me of things around that time that I absolutely don’t remember. Each person has to find their own way – but my approach is to go easy on myself during this time. I’ve had faith that “I’ll be back”.

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

www.sandrabeck.com

 

Education and the Stay at Home/Work at Home Mother By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

“You’re a waste”. That’s was my friend’s mothers reaction to her decision to stay at home with her baby. “I don’t know why you even bothered with university”.

In my circle of friends, decisions about how to raise kids are inextricably woven schoolwith the politics of women’s liberation. I hesitate to generalize – but there is a very strong generational divide in attitudes.

There are the pioneers, who remember when women’s higher education wasn’t a given thing. However, most of these ladies didn’t work while raising their kids. Working practices and society’s attitudes hadn’t caught up. They’ve felt regretful about it ever since, projecting their attitude onto their daughters.

Accordingly, their daughters have children later and go back to work earlier. They aim to make the least concessions to maternity that they can. They are shocked and dismayed at how hard it can be – and how unequal the sacrifices are in their partnership.

The sufferings of the daughters breed the reactionary born-again 50s housewives. They buy floral print aprons without a hint of irony. They abandon their jobs – replacing corporate superwoman with an even more ambitious and perfectionist hausfrau incarnation. They earnestly re-manualize their lives – from baking their own bread to washable nappies.

There are real people in my life who are described by these sketches. The reason why the caricatures seem crude and almost grotesque is that there is a guilt driver behind the decisions. The concerns and preferences of the human beings involved get swallowed up in a play for an unseen audience, who are felt to be judging the decisions made, judging if the woman deserves her advantages.

My view? Education is freedom – and women will never be free without education. In any case, the strongest indicating factor in the level of educational attainment of the children is the educational achievement of the mother.

 

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

http://www.sandrabeck.com.

 

The Case for Renting AUSTRALIA

By Shannon Penrod

The other night I dreamt I was having lunch with Oprah and some of her friends and family. For me this isn’t all that unusual, two nights ago I dreamt that I borrowed Ellen DeGeneres’ nanny, and as far as I know she and Portia have no children, so go figure!  What was interesting in the dream with Oprah is that I was passionately telling her and everyone that would listen that they needed to rent and watch the movie Australia starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.film-poster

Since the dream, renting the movie keeps coming up in conversation with friends and family as well as total strangers in the check out line.  Apparently I am a lot more passionate on the subject than anyone, including me, even knew.  (Look, when you dream about telling Oprah something, you’re pretty invested in it)

So, here’s the deal, I think EVERYONE needs to rent this movie and make the time to watch it.  I know, the critics panned it.  That’s one of the reasons why you need to see it and make up your own mind.  They were wrong.  This isn’t just a good movie, it’s a great movie.  It is the kind of movie that you see and never forget.  I don’t want to overstate anything, but it’s the kind of movie that has the power to change your life.

And before I wax really poetic about it you need to know that I am neither a Nicole Kidman nor a Baz Luhrmann fan.  She’s okay, but she’s really thin and she gets on my nerves and while I love Luhrmann’s visual sense of things, I usually feel like it takes precedence over the telling of the story.  This is not the case in Australia!  First and foremost this is some great story telling, with amazing visuals that serve the story while taking your breath away.  Kidman is fabulous, yes, I said it, and I meant it.  And honestly I could look at Hugh Jackman all day!

I had an expectation when I sat down in the movie theatre. I had heard the word epic – I assumed it was in reference to visuals, I was wrong.  This film is EPIC, in the tradition of old style film making.  The story is huge, the setting is huge, and the stakes are huge.  Nothing is packaged in a nice little 90 minute template.  The film takes you on a journey that is surprising in its scope.  I had an expectation that I was going to see a film that was largely a love story between a man and a woman.  That was delivered beautifully.  What I didn’t expect were the deeper themes of what it truly means to be a mother, what it means to live by your ideals in a world that cannot support them, what it means to humble yourself to trust in something greater than yourself by letting your children go.

I don’t want to spoil anything but what I can tell you is that I left the theatre someone different than I walked in.  In my opinion that is what a great film can and should do.  There were at least two moments in the movie that I have not been able to stop thinking about.  Moments that have spurred me to have more personal courage, to get off my comfortable polyester clad ass and stand up for what I believe; moments that have inspired me to be a better person. And it was a ripping good yarn!

Don’t listen to the critics, they’re a cynical bunch of movie dorks who have been in dark rooms with stale popcorn for too long.  Australia is worth seeing. It is important to let Hollywood and the world wide film making industry know that these kinds of movies have their place.  If you listen to the critics you will not only miss out on a great film you will send a message that will ensure these types of films are never made again.  Rent it and watch it with fresh eyes.  You won’t be disappointed!

Do I Need My Ears Checked? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

Your co-workers

 

windsockThey say: “Oh my! Three children – you must have your hands full”

I hear: Have you never heard of family planning?

 

They say: “We appreciate you have family commitments”

I hear; “YOUR family. Not MY family. Don’t make them MY problem”

 

They say: “I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell”

I hear: “Aye carumba – sit down woman. I don’t want you to deliver your baby right here”

 

They say: “And how is little Max?”

I hear: “Give that child some vitamins, for Pete’s sake. That’s the third virus this month”.

 

They say: “Please come to our party

I hear: “… and it’d be great if you could slip your son a sedative beforehand. Our parrot still hasn’t recovered from last time”

 

Your friends

 

They say: “How do you manage?”

I hear: “I’d love to hear that you’ve fishies in your sink. It’ll make me feel better about myself”.

 

They say: “You seem to have a good work-life balance”

I hear:  “Of course, you’re just lucky your office is a soft touch. It’d never work in MY job”

 

They say: “It’s no trouble to pick up Johhny from school”

I hear: “Do I look like a creche?”

 

They say: “We’ve had endless trouble with headlice”

I hear: “… and I can’t help but noticed your son ITCHING”

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

 

Do I need My Ears Checked? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

Your co-workers

 

windsockThey say: “Oh my! Three children – you must have your hands full”

I hear: Have you never heard of family planning?

 

They say: “We appreciate you have family commitments”

I hear; “YOUR family. Not MY family. Don’t make them MY problem”

 

They say: “I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell”

I hear: “Aye carumba – sit down woman. I don’t want you to deliver your baby right here”

 

They say: “And how is little Max?”

I hear: “Give that child some vitamins, for Pete’s sake. That’s the third virus this month”.

 

They say: “Please come to our party

I hear: “… and it’d be great if you could slip your son a sedative beforehand. Our parrot still hasn’t recovered from last time”

 

Your friends

 

They say: “How do you manage?”

I hear: “I’d love to hear that you’ve fishies in your sink. It’ll make me feel better about myself”.

 

They say: “You seem to have a good work-life balance”

I hear:  “Of course, you’re just lucky your office is a soft touch. It’d never work in MY job”

 

They say: “It’s no trouble to pick up Johhny from school”

I hear: “Do I look like a creche?”

 

They say: “We’ve had endless trouble with headlice”

I hear: “… and I can’t help but noticed your son ITCHING”

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

 

 

 

Education and the Stay at Home/Work at Home Mother by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

“You’re a waste”. That’s was my friend’s mothers reaction to her decision to stay at home with her baby. “I don’t know why you even bothered with university”.

 

In my circle of friends, decisions about how to raise kids are inextricably woven with the politics of women’s liberation. I hesitate to generalize – but there is a very schoolstrong generational divide in attitudes.

 

There are the pioneers, who remember when women’s higher education wasn’t a given thing. However, most of these ladies didn’t work while raising their kids. Working practices and society’s attitudes hadn’t caught up. They’ve felt regretful about it ever since, projecting their attitude onto their daughters.

 

Accordingly, their daughters have children later and go back to work earlier. They aim to make the least concessions to maternity that they can. They are shocked and dismayed at how hard it can be – and how unequal the sacrifices are in their partnership.

 

The sufferings of the daughters breed the reactionary born-again 50s housewives. They buy floral print aprons without a hint of irony. They abandon their jobs – replacing corporate superwoman with an even more ambitious and perfectionist hausfrau incarnation. They earnestly re-manualize their lives – from baking their own bread to washable nappies.

 

There are real people in my life who are described by these sketches. The reason why the caricatures seem crude and almost grotesque is that there is a guilt driver behind the decisions. The concerns and preferences of the human beings involved get swallowed up in a play for an unseen audience, who are felt to be judging the decisions made, judging if the woman deserves her advantages.

 

My view? Education is freedom – and women will never be free without education. In any case, the strongest indicating factor in the level of educational attainment of the children is the educational achievement of the mother.

 

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

http://www.sandrabeck.com.