Reflections and Questions of Just Another Woman

I got sick this week. My first real sickness of the season.  All three of my kids have been hit already once, my little one about multiple times (still building his daycare immune system).  I had managed to avoid it (my healthy eating?  My careful avoidance of their snotty tissues?), but now it cut me down. With 38.9 degree Celsius fever, I slept for 14 hours.  It was AMAZING.  When my husband saw me getting out of bed around 4 in the afternoon, he imagined I was good enough to go and went back to work until the wee hours of the night (he had picked up the kids that day at 2 and fed them and entertained them to that point).  I woke this morning with 37.7 degree temperature.  My husband says, “That doesn’t count!  You’re all better!  Back to life!”  I hesitated.  I did do my daily duty of taking the little one to daycare.  But I was not feeling full energy.  I needed to be at home, so I went back to the computer and the phone, but I did not feel up to the commute and canceled things.  And I had another child at home on suspension from school.

I did work today.  I also spent part of the day in therapeutic conversation with suspended child.  I think we progressed, but you can never tell exactly.

I took him to a friend’s birthday party and met a mom who came to help out holding her toddler on her arm who is falling asleep.  She pitied my illness until she heard about my 14 hours of sleep.  Almost with tears in her eyes, she said, “I can’t even imagine….I so need a day to myself, to even go see a movie, read a book.”  So, why not?  “I…just don’t have the courage.”  Did she really mean “courage”?  I tried to think of another word that surely must be more of what she meant, but I couldn’t.

I shared about the suspension.  We talked about the different ways to help our kids.  We agreed that parenting counseling was the best route to go.  We agreed that our spouses are very ambivalent about it and sometimes take part actively and sometimes resist.  I can’t say how many men I’ve heard about that resist going to counseling regarding their children.  Can someone explain that to me?

I bought a small closet over the internet.  It arrived today.  I put it together.  (My husband held up the last part as I screwed it in)  The younger two children took turns crying for Mom or Dad for a good half hour between getting into bed and actually falling asleep.

Then I read the op-ed by the woman who was sexually assaulted by Marc Gafni as a 13-year-old girl.  I have also read in the newspapers in Israel over the past month on an almost daily basis about sexual improprieties, alleged and proven, of elected officials.  I don’t know if I should be shocked at the depths of despicable behavior in my society or optimistic that justice is beginning to be served.

I think of my friends in the United States who had to pay to give birth and did not get one day of paid maternity leave (using sick days does not count!).  I feel blessed to live in an “enlightened” society that sees universal health care as a right that goes without saying.

I watched my first episode of Games of Thrones (I understand that can happen to people when they’re sick) and I didn’t know whether to describe it as an accurate portrayal of the Middle Ages or of a sick excuse to show excessive violence and sexual ludity on the screen.  I think both, equally sickening.

I think of my children, and I wonder if I am sending them the right messages in life.  If I am being the role model that I ought to be for them.  To what kind of life am I setting the foundations for them.

If I had a well-balanced hot meal prepared every day, would my daughter eventually eat everything that I prepare?

Would it be worth it to prepare said meal, and thus give up other things like time spent with them or down time to myself at night?  Or should I be paying someone to do it?

If we ate together every evening as a nuclear family at 6:30 on the dot, would this give them good manners and a sense of routine and responsibility?

Does therapy provide the answers, or is it involved, active parenting, or do things just straighten themselves anyway? (The answer is, of course, dependent upon who you ask)

And, in any case, wouldn’t the world be a lot calmer, safe, and more peaceful if all the state leaders were women?

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3 Responses to “Reflections and Questions of Just Another Woman”

  1. Robbie Smith Says:

    WOW! Stacey, please don’t beat yourself up so much. I love that your can communicate your feelings on the “net” – I hope you feel better soon – its certainly not great to be ill when your kids are home and running around. I hope your husband understands that Moms who work need time to themselves, to relax, to read, to get a massage, and be with other like-minded women sans kids. Kids also have a way to getting it all together, especially when they have parents to love them and accept them for who they are and encourage them in the areas they are interest in.
    Love to hear from you,
    Best,
    Your “cousin” in California
    Robbie

    • rabbistaceyblank Says:

      Hi Robbie,
      Thanks for your comment! Yes, it was a bit of a rant – a bit uncharacteristic of me. Did you read the follow up I wrote yesterday? I’m just trying to make sense of gender roles in my own life and in the world. To see if there is a connection between my everyday “negotiations” in terms of assigning roles between my husband and I in our “everyday” challenges and the larger issues of power, sex, and aggression in our society. Is the therapeutic approach a “woman” approach? Is it better? What is the correlation between sex and violence in society? Is it changing? Is it a good thing or a worrisome thing? Hope you are all well and happy to be in touch!
      Stacey

  2. benjaminsperberblog Says:

    Dear Rav, We had two kids with enough years between to have them both in school at some point of the day. We also had nannies and I worked at home when the “boy” was born (exercise studio in the back of the house). With traditional work comes separation of parent and child. The daughter started acting out pretty early and was in family therapy with us. We didn’t discover her incipient epilepsy until she was twelve. Her first full blown seizure was then and then nothing until she was with NYTY in Israel. Oy. A child has so much going on. You are a parent who pays attention and is willing to take “responsibility” for the child’s development. I have to tell you that even with the best therapists and doctors, you have to give yourself a break. They may not know and how can you expect yourself to make “big decisions” about the kid’s emotional development. The marriage will take some “hits” and you may feel “on your own” about counseling and working as a “team”. As a man, I see that a woman has to adjust to her physical attachment to the child. Men are intimidated by that intimacy and will pull away when it becomes something that makes them feel lost or on the outside. You are such a special person and I’m sure your husband acknowledges that. His work pulls him away from the home. That’s normal and it makes you feel without help. A nannie is a lot cheaper in the States than therapy. In Israel you have early education and care options. At least you aren’t driving two hours each way to work. I will say a mishebeirach prayer for your cold and for your consternation.

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