September 2009

The Curse of Too Many Blessings

Sep 26, 2009 2:37 PM
Jane Thompson

It seems to me that it is really hard to be a working mom. Of course we are lucky to have jobs, and of course we are lucky to have kids, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to manage the whole damn mess. I have just finished writing a book on this, Resilient Woman: Weaving Together Work, Family and Self in the Twenty-First Century. While I keep working on getting the book out, I thought I would start this blog.

I don’t know about you, but I usually feel better when I know why something is happening to me and how it's going to affect me in the future. I woke up yesterday with a funny tingling in the fingertips of one hand. If I recall that I slept with that hand in an odd position, I will probably conclude it will go away in a few hours, and not think about it again. If I think it might be the precursor to a possibly fatal nerve disorder that will just get worse and worse until it kills me, I feel a little different.

I think women are in the same kind of bind when they have children and go back to work. You love your kids and you may even love your job, but there are lots of things about having them both that make you feel just awful. It’s terrible when your child cries when you drop her at daycare. It’s hideous when you discover a less brilliant colleague was promoted while you were on leave. It’s very uncomfortable the first time your boss asks you to stay late to work on an important assignment, but you have to leave to pick up the baby. And when your child gets sick on the day of a big presentation? Don’t get me started.

The book explores all the different forces in history and society that have brought us to this point, where we are finally able to have careers and have children, but also looks at all those things that mean it is still really hard to manage both. And of course, it makes a few suggestions to help you make your way through these tricky times. This blog will talk about all of those things, but will also look at things in the news and popular culture that have something to do with the state of working mothers today.

By the way, when I say working moms, I mean that in the broadest possible sense. Of course all moms work, very hard, including those mothers who are at home full-time. But I am really interested in the way women manage to move between the work someone pays them to do, apart from their children, and the work that no one pays them to do, caring for their children. Some women move back and forth between those two worlds every day. Some women work for pay part-time. Some women move out of paid work for months or even for a few years, to look after their kids. But most women worked before their children arrived in their lives, and most will work again later on. And including both of those worlds in our lives and moving back and forth between them is both a blessing and a curse. I think it’s a challenge worth meeting, and finding better ways to help women manage that challenge fascinates me more than anything else on Earth.

Jane Thompson



  Nov 15, 2009 19:12PM

Congratulations Jane - the website is fabulous and your first blog rocks!

  Nov 15, 2009 21:45PM
Dr. Meg Fox

You are talking about issues every woman has considered, and talking with clarity, humour, and that most uncommon thing, common sense.  I look forward to holding your book in my hands, and giving many copies aways, starting with one for my daughter, a talented and dedicated teacher who is expecting her first child at the end of April.  Thank you for giving us your voice.

  Nov 15, 2009 22:24PM
Barbara Drake-Land

Thoughtful, articulate and inspiring.........and a forum that is much needed (where was this when I was in the depths of my struggles as a working mom and wondering when the next freight train would hit me). Jane - .I'll be sending your site to many women and will look forward to your book.

Thank you and congratulations. 


  Nov 15, 2009 23:09PM
Ruth Crammond

So great that your site is up.  I will be checking in regularly.  I plan to check out some of the resources you have listed.  I am thinking about this very struggle tonight as I have a child sick at home and cannot get into work tomorrow!  Thanks for this.

  Nov 16, 2009 10:23AM

Felicidades, you write so well. Look forward to a signed copy of the book & the advice it offers. Think most times I am going ass backwards! 

  Nov 16, 2009 15:35PM
Willa Black

Congratulations Jane! I have no doubt your thoughtful views on this and day to day experience will help us struggling full time Mums everywhere!!! Not for the faint of heart, that's for sure!! Well done and very best, W

  Nov 16, 2009 17:10PM
Patricia Elia

Brava.....  You keep going girl and sharing your wisdom and chocolate. How did I know it would be purple.  Life is a blessing with its abundances, children included, no one said it would be easy thought..juggling the universe is just one other thing to master... Authentically Yours,...Patricia

  Nov 16, 2009 17:50PM
Dr. Seth Halvorson

This is a valuable resource.  I will be sure to send it along to my sister, as she considers work and family issues.

  Nov 19, 2009 13:05PM

Very interesting!

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