9/1/11 - 10/1/11 | NESHEAHOLIC

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clueless Dads

One thing I never see is men challenging their portrayal as fathers in the media. This portrayal would be the stereotypical lost father with a young baby.

In the recent episode of Doctor Who the mother went away for rest and the father was left alone with their baby. In the usual fashion the father was shown as clueless. Not only was he clueless, but The Doctor, who is 900+ years old, and has traveled through space and time was also at a loss except for the fact that he could understand "baby," since he understands all languages.

Why don't men challenge the notion that they are clueless when it comes to babies?

Are they actually clueless so there is no need to challenge this? Are women somehow biologically predisposed to know better how to care for a baby than men? Or is it that because of the media's portrayal of taking care of baby being a "woman thing" men take the easy way out in not seeking knowledge or pretending they aren't capable? Is this portrayal completely false, but men don't feel the need to challenge it?

I have to believe that men are just as capable of taking care of a baby as a woman. A first time parent is a first time parent regardless of gender. With the exception of maybe doing a toddlers hair, which a woman has a leg up on from doing her own hair for years, is the playing field not equal?

Furthermore, does the clueless depiction of a father in tern suggest the notion that a first time mother should be all knowing? And what does that do to the to psyche of the first time mother who finds herself behaving more like the stereotypical depiction of the clueless dad? Does she then feel less than as a clueless mother?

I would love some opinions on this, especially from fathers.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Why God?"and faith

When things go wrong it can be easy to proclaim "Why, God, why?" The biggest thing about faith is that you have to know that while you may not know the answer to that question, the answer somehow affects the greater good somehow.

I had two family members lately that were let go from their jobs. The initial question of "why?" of course is there, but in the end, I believe both of these people needed to move on in their careers and life, and they had to be forcibly let go, to take their next steps.

No one wants bad things to happen, and we always want someone to blame when bad thing do happen. For persons with faith the key to believing is not wavering, even when you don't know WHY things happen. It's not easy to do, but it is a constant exercise to make faith stronger.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Remembrance

On two occasions today I was remembered by people and it really made my day.

The first was at the hospital. On the elevator on the way up to visit my grandmother I came across the nurse who was with her on the night back in April when they thought she was going to die. The nurse remembered me and me and my grandpa, and my grandmother, she called her her "miracle lady" and even went up to visit her. She was definitely one of the best nurses my grandmother has had through this whole ordeal and being in multiple facilities. It has been 5 months since my grandmother originally left the hospital and was treated by her, and I'm sure she's seen plenty of patients since then,yet, this woman not only remembered my grandmother and her situation, but the family too. It just made me so happy to know that she cared enough to remember us.

The second was in the grocery store. I ran into the principle of the school I went to from pre-k to 3rd grade and later had a summer job at. She remembered who I was, and that I performed, told me she was proud of me and asked how my grandma was by name. How many students has she had in all these years and she remembered so many specifics about me? Once again, to know that she cared enough to remember so much about me all these years after all her students made me so happy.

People move through life so fast, so often just going through the motions with people, not taking time to listen to them, or care. It was amazing to me that despite how much time has passed or other patients or students, these two women remembered.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Banning Children - fair or discrimination?

There has been an uptick recently in businesses banning children from their establishments: Malaysia Airlines banned babies from their first class cabins, McDain's Restaurant in Monroeville PA banned children under 6 from their restaurant, and other hotels, movie theaters, etc. are following suit. The question is, is banning children a fair practice on the part of the business owners, or is it discriminatory to families with children?

There are two sides of debate. On one side, you have families who feel like they shouldn't not be able to go to nice places or places at all just because they have children. On the other side, there are businesses who try to keep up a certain atmosphere in their space, and crying or unruly children hamper the experience they try to provide to their customers.

From my personal experience working in performance arts venues, I think it is inappropriate to bring a baby to a live performance. Now, some parents know their children well enough to know if they can sleep or rest quietly through a performance, and if that is the case, then it is fine. But, if you are in a theater with a crying baby, the crying disrupts the experience of the audience and is distracting to the actors. Even with this said, I've never banned anyone from coming into the theater with a child. That has never been the policy of anywhere I've worked.

In movie theaters, or regular restaurants, I don't feel like a crying child is as much of a big deal. However, at an upscale restaurant, where people are paying not only for food but for ambiance, I think it's unfair to everyone involved for that to be broken. My references are pretty much concerning babies up to toddlers about age 3. At age 4 or 5 I think most children know how to be well behaved in public.

Thoughts?

I'd love comments from people on either side of the consumer/parent spectrum, or comments from business owners about their policies.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

"Doing it all" - Careerhood PLUS Motherhood

I've been coming across some interesting discussions on the concept of motherhood and "doing it all" as a result of the new Sarah Jessica Parker movie "I don't know how she does it" and Beyonce's pregnancy announcement. I've noticed a number of women who are mothers comment that there really is no such thing as "doing it all" and that as a mother/wife and a career woman, one side or the other will suffer. This is very interesting to me as I begin to seriously think about when I would like to have children. A comment from xobolaji  really stuck out to me:

Women and pregnant women are being sold a bill of goods and those of us who try desperately to live up to the image of a balanced “supermom” fail miserably because you cannot have it all, nor can you do it all. quite simply, most of us lack the resources.

Also, it is virtually impossible to adequately split your time between motherhood and careerhood for the simple reason that one inevitably takes precedence over the other. more often than not, moms tend to "opt out"--it's usually the case that they are driven-out-- of the more high paying positions because it requires that they put the business first. you cannot have a high-paying salary and assume that the CEO is going to be sympathetic to your childcare needs even though most companies are now trying to make it possible for women to sustain their careers. I haven’t even touched on the psychological implications of marketing this unachievable dream to women in general. Recent studies show that women on both sides are depressed because they can’t keep up with the demands of motherhood let alone, careerhood PLUS motherhood.

I think women who are not moms need to set realistic goals/expectations. Even us moms have problems managing. "Doing it all" is a media marketing narrative that isn't supposed to fit real life and so many of us get duped into believing the hype. Moms are starting to share this info more liberally than before. Previously it was a "secret society." Now we're more apt to share.
I wanted another mom given opinion on the topic so I asked my boss. To me, I feel like she does a great job at work and with family, as shown through how awesomely smart and cultured her two children are. Here is her feedback on the topic:

You've asked me about balance between motherhood and career and in my experience as a mother of two, IT DOESN'T EXIST!  The moment I let go the ideals of fairness, balance and "achieving it all," was an absolutely freeing epiphany.  I've learned the time needed for me to be the type of mother I aspire to be, has forced me to make choices and I've chosen motherhood/family above all else. My children will be young and need my undivided attention for a very short time and before I know it, they will have grown into needing my hands-on attention a little less.   I've chosen to work in a family friendly environment and possibly make less money, but I'm able to be "present" physically and emotionally on a daily basis, be it for being active in our school community or having the luxury of sitting down together every night at dinner.  I trust that as my children continue to thrive and grow, I will be able to claim more of my own space to explore and achieve my own aspirations.

I've always been one to point out when the media is feeding us unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyle, but I've never thought about the role the media plays in giving women the illusion that they can "do it all" and how unattainable that really can be. I sometimes struggle with juggling my full-time job, a few side jobs, acting,  being a wife and taking care of our dog, I'm sure having a child will make my plate fuller than ever. I appreciate that women can be open and honest about the fact that "balance" is an illusion. Having realistic expectation on what one can really do in the 24 hours they have for each day is so important.

I would LOVE more people's opinions on the topic. Comments please :-)
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Online interactions and the illusion of rapport

I accidentally offended a blogger by asking what they did for a living. It made me think about online interactions and the illusion of rapport.

If you read a blog frequently, watch associated videos, follow on facebook/twitter, leave comments, get comments back, etc. it can give you an illusion of some type or rapport, depending on the blogger, even an illusion of friendship. I think it's natural to develop that effect after investing time into someone's blog for a period of time. For a blogger, I think this is a good thing in most cases. If a person feels connected to you and your blog you are likely doing a good job at reaching your audience.

I guess the caution or pause is this, as a blog reader you should be sensitive to your approach with a blogger as they might not feel as familiar with you as you do with them. As a blogger you should be understanding in that as a person consumes you through a blog, facebook, YouTube, etc they may begin to feel more connected to you than you are with them and ask or do something that you feel has crosses the line.

For me personally, I am greatly appreciative of all those who interact with me here on my blog or on Twitter. I've even got some pretty cool "e friends" over the years. <3 I feel that because I voluntarily but myself out here on the internet through my blog/twitter/tumblr, etc. I have to accept that people will develop opinions (right or wrong) about me, and will approach me with an air of familiarity that may or may not be there on my part.

What has been your experience, if any, with online interactions and mismatched rapport?
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Dilemma of the Single Black Woman

I was asked on my formspring: It seems that the plight of the single black woman has become the cause of the week in many circles. What is your solution to this dilemma?

Well, it does indeed seem that as of late, everyone from Steve Harvey to CNN wants to chime in on the “plight” that is single Black women and what Black women are doing wrong that is causing them to not be in long term relationships.

I don’t think it is a dilemma. I think the real dilemma is that people are studying this “topic” at all. Where are the articles on single white women? Single Asian women?... You don’t see them. It seems to me as if Black women are being singled out (pun intended) as the only race of women with problems getting into relationship. As a married Black woman, with friends of different races, I can tell you that not all Black women have a problem finding mates, and women of all colors and races have problems finding mates.

I wonder why so many people choose to focus on the topic. And none of the “advice” being given by the people speaking on the issue is very helpful at all. It usually hovers somewhere around Black women being too strong or forceful with men.
What do I think Black women should do to not be single?

First, it must be acknowledged that all Black women (or women in general) do not WANT to be in a relationship and that should be taken into consideration. But, if you are a single Black woman or a single purple woman, or a single green woman, who wants a relationship and is having trouble I suggest:

1. Putting yourself out there to meet new people. You are likely to not meet someone for the potential of a relationship if you only ever travel between your house and work.

2. Don’t listen to most advice. Be YOURSELF when with a guy of interest because YOU are who the person will inevitably be in a relationship with and if you are following magazine rules to get a guy, you’ll either have to keep being a puppet of that magazine to keep him, or lose his interest when he finds you to be someone completely different than the person you were putting on to be.

3. Allow flexibility in your expectations/standards. I’m not saying don’t have any, but don’t let something stupid like promising yourself never to date a guy who wears argyle socks keep you from the man that you could have a meaningful relationship with.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

History of Labor Day, and Out-of-work Force

Someone asked me on my formspring What does Labor Day mean to you?

I honestly don't think I'd ever thought more of Labor Day than a sign of the end of the summer, and a three day weekend, so I looked it up on Wikipedia to actually see why Labor Day started.

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September beginning 1894 that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.

So then I'm thinking, what made Congress give a federal holiday to the work force? This question led me to information on the Pullman Strike. The Pullman Strike was a nationwide conflict between labor unions and railroads after the Pullman Palace Car Company cut employee wages leading workers to strike, walk off the job, obstruct railroad tracks and threaten and attack strikebreakers. Obviously, the railroad industry was HUGE at this time, and this kind of national disruption of service warranted federal action. US Marshals and Army troops were brought into the situation, leading to deaths and injuries of strikers, and huge amounts of property damage on the part of the ex rail workers. After all of this "drama" ensued President Grover Cleveland and Congress made appeasement of organized labor a top priority. The legislation for the holiday was pushed through Congress six days after the strike ended. Six days...if only legislation could be passed that fast nowadays...

Reading through all of this made me think of the current labor force. We're a long way away from the time when most jobs were trades, and there were a small number of industries a person could get in. The types of work have expanded, but it seems the problems of old still haunt us. Just recently we had the Verizon strike over pensions and health care. And strikes in the sporting industries are also common. Why is that?

Why, is because the workers, the people completely dependent on working for the business of someone else, are always the expense to cut back on when times get tough, and that is unfortunate, but it seems to be the way of business for a very long time. But I suppose looking at it from the other end you have to question, what are businesses suppose to cut, if not people, without making the quality of their product suffer? In some cases, cutting jobs or health care or benefits are the only option left for a business owner, and in others, people are hacked while the top bosses still fly in private jets and walk on oriental rugs.

THIS thought of course made me think of what could help the problem of the unemployed, and that would be... more jobs. I would argue that a huge part of the "not enough jobs" issue is that so many companies in America outsource jobs to other countries for cheaper labor, which does nothing to help the out-of-work force in the US,the people who find Labor Day to be another reminder of their struggle.

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