Dream. Laugh. Live.

my life in words

Going Private.
dreamlaughlive

So, I have been thinking about it for a long long while.

Guess I will be taking the blog to a private space. I haven't been writing very much for various reasons. Being lazy and tired was one of the reasons. But there are also other times I want to write and it turns out to be too personal or it might be something that isn't very appropriate to say publicly. I think going private probably helps me want to write a bit more - afterall, I think I want to keep it more like my diary so that I can still read and reminisce about my life years down the road.

This little space has been an avenue for me to vent and pour my heart. It's been really nice 'meeting' friends here and it's been very heartwarming to receive kind words and gestures. So, thank you for hanging around and reading about my ordinary boring life. Friends on the list, do leave a comment if you would still want to read at the new space. I will drop you a private message with details :)

Bye now.

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Bye 2012.
dreamlaughlive

Wow am I the only one feeling that 2012 has just crept so quietly away? The weeks and months in 2012 just flew past. Last year this time I was preparing to step back into civilization after spending a year at home with my boy. I still remember how glad I was to be finally getting back to work and yet felt immense anxiety about being away from the boy.

All in all, 2012 was good to me.

I started 2011 in a shock as I was thrown into motherhood much earlier than expected. 2012 was the year I found myself back. I started the year full of mummy guilt, not to mention that I was battling toddler tantrums and sleep battles. Until I realised it's ok to cut myself some slack, it's ok to let others do a bit more for the boy, and it's ok if my son doesn't go to bed at 9pm everynight (yes, 10.30pm is ok). I enjoyed my work, found time to go out with my girlfriends, go for yoga, read and relax.

And one thing that makes me very happy in 2012 was that I found my marriage back too. The first year of parenthood was crazy, we made lots of adjustment. Love and romance just took the back seat. And then now, we started going out for date-nights, found time to have nice long conversations, we treasure our couple time together a lot more. So we fell in love again. The marriage surely became much stronger :)

Of course, one of the highlights for me in 2012 was turning 30. I had been looking forward to turning 30. Nothing really changed overnight, honestly. But it allowed me to pause and take stock of how much I have grown over the years. Definitely enjoy being the more confident, more comfortable, more composed and mature me!

I am not sure what 2013 will bring along. There's lots of stuff I want to do. I hope it will be a year I can strike a few things off my list. And there are some things i'd like to do more - read more, love more, dream more, laugh more.

Yes, i hope i will write a bit more in this space this year! 2012 was horrible, I hardly wrote. Thanks for those who still hang around here, thanks for reading and sharing moments of my life here. Have a great year ahead, everyone! :)

Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.”
― Mark Twain

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How I want to live.
dreamlaughlive

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

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Funny conversations with The Boy.
dreamlaughlive

Since I was writing about language, I thought I should document some of funny (at least to me) conversations with my boy. Ok, he's too young to really have a conversation, more like sprouting sentences.

===
Since my boy was young, I've had lots of hair pulling moments putting him to bed. He's one of those who HATEs to sleep. And recently, we've started to transition him to his own bed - we were co-sleeping for the last year or so. So there's this particularly difficult night, I was feeling quite desperate.

Me: Can you go to sleep please? Your will against mummy's will, who will win?

Boy: Bus? Wheel?
[obviously he doesn't understand my question. Will = wheel in his little head]

Me: .....

===

The boy usually sends me to work with my hubs (who work super flexi hours), and he hates saying goodbye. He doesn't cry when I get off the car, he usually ignores me. On good days, he will give me a cursory wave.

As I was getting off the car one day...

Me: Bye, 我要去做工了.

Boy: Bye. 記的買面包回來.

===

That's all for now. Till I remember some more.

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About Languages.
dreamlaughlive

I've been thinking about this for a long long while and haven't quite landed with an answer: do I bring my son up English-speaking or Chinese-speaking?

Being in Singapore, we are all more or less bilingual - we are required to learn English as first language and a mother-tongue as second language. The problem with these system is, well, most of us who come through are not exactly proficient in either. Especially for people like me who come from a Chinese-speaking family (my dad is Chinese educated!), we don't speak English at home and yet our Chinese is rather colloquial. Plus, these days English is my default language used at work, I think my thoughts in English these days and if I ever get into an argument, I would automatically switch to English. I also have become rather anal with English grammar and nuances when I write formal stuff. On the other hand, I take eons to read Chinese these days. I struggle to write in Chinese - very basic stuff only, please. So I can say my Chinese is only good spoken.

Call me narrow-minded, the kiasu parent in me feels that it's fundamental to get the foundation in English right. Its still THE language. If not, the child can't understand the lessons nor exam questions for even maths or science etc, how to do well right? I mean, have you seen the maths problems our kids in primary school deal with these days?!! Plus, so many kids struggle with Chinese anyway. So not being that good in Chinese is unlikely to put my child in as much of a disadvantage as compared to if he doesn't have a good grasp of English, no?? I recently attended a workshop for parents and the trainer advocated speaking good proper English to children when they are young, it helps them develop their language on the right footing. Its especially when the kids are young and learning is effortless, compared to having to correct their use of language when they are older, it's much harder. I am pretty convinced I say.

But, the thing is, so many friends have been telling me how hard it is to get their kids to learn Chinese. These friends who were brought up Chinese-speaking like me, chose to speak English only to their kids. These kids speak rather good English. But it feels kinda 'not natural' when their whole household speaks Chinese and then when the parents speak to the kids, it suddenly becomes Channel 5'. And at the end of the day, these friends send their kids to Chinese enrichment classes, to help the kids improve their Chinese. There lies my problem, my Chinese-speaking friends are sending their kids to Chinese classes because they have been bringing their kids up English speaking. Isn't it..... Ironic? Oxymoronic?? I can't quite grapple with this. I know there's no good or bad decision about this. It's a matter of choice and going either way has its consequences.

Of course, there's another group of parents who are purely English speaking and they wish their kids could do better with Chinese. And many people actually tell me that it's ok to speak let the child learn as much mandarin as he can cos there will be no lack of opportunity to learn and master English in school.

Well, I am a bit unsure which way to go. For one, my parents and parents-in-law are Chinese speaking and we speak a lot of Chinese at home. The boy speaks Chinese very well (according to my friends, rather impressive at his age). I try to speak English to him sometimes but he likes to respond in Chinese. For now, it seems like he's more comfortable in Chinese. I give him a good mix of Chinese and English stories at bedtime. I am taking a step at a time, but this is still at the back of my mind. So I am still thinking. Thinking.

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Turning 30.
dreamlaughlive

So I turned 30 yesterday.

F and I went out to celebrate sans the boy, had a great relaxing time out. But all in all, it felt less monumental than I thought turning 30 would. Well, I did think of doing a big celebration with friends with a BBQ of sorts but I was too lazy to organize. Plus, I was a bit two minds about whether to do a big bash or to spend quiet time with F. I went with the latter since I was seriously craving couple-time (partly cos I was lazy too).

Somehow, I have been looking forward to turning 30 for a while. Though my gfs mostly are afraid of 'turning old', I was pretty excited. Nowadays, I feel comfortable being myself. I understand my own quirks and know my limits. I am not afraid of awkwardness when I meet new friends. Generally, I kind of accepted who I am. I don't feel as lost as to where i am going in life.

Definitely I am in a better place than I was in my 20s. I am really blessed to have a loving hubby and a cute son. And yes, the girlfriends too. Somehow, I end up with close friendship with each girl instead of sticking with big group of friends. Now these girls are all just a whatsapp message away. One for shopping-bags-shoes-talk, one for hubby and mil complains, one for parenting and another for random rubbish complains. Enough to keep my phone and fingers busy.

Though I am not the established career woman I thought I would be, having these fabulous friends and my loving family makes my life complete. I don't think this 30 year old me need anything more. My birthday wish this year is just to be happy, safe and healthy. Simple wish but it means a lot to me :)


Birthday present from my close girlies - they read my mind, these girls.

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Love to a child.
dreamlaughlive

Came across this following article which is a really timely reminder to me :)

===

To a child, LOVE is spelled .....

In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for the source that had drawn him here.

It began with the fond recollection of the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently opened the long buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories. Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the past was more alive in his heart than his present aloneness.

Setting aside one of the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white head.

Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.

Entry after entry stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of those days were far different from his own. But how different?

Reminded that he had kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted stairway that led to the den.

Opening a glass cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal. Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name Jimmy had been nearly scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters, as though he could restore what had been worn away with time and use.

As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words:

Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a thing.

With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read:

Went fishing with my Dad. Best day of my life.

The story you just read is the introduction for a book by Marc Anderson and Lance Wubbles, To a Child LOVE is Spelled T-I-M-E.

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A little yada.
dreamlaughlive

So I have been almost non-existent in this space lately. Yes, I am still around. Well, I am alive and breathing. Not exactly kicking. In fact, most days I feel like I am struggling. I am constantly tired. There's a thousand and one things on my mind, but I just never get around doing most things. Most days I reach home at about 9pm, spend time with my boy, shower at 11pm and crash at 12 midnight. And 6 hours later, I am awake and raring to go for the day.

I hate to whine and complain. But nowadays I just keep feeling I am just not really living the way i want. At work, I feel like I am not really up to scratch. At home, I struggle with a crying toddler day in day out. As much as I love spending time with my son, I find myself losing my patience a lot. I just lost my cool at bedtime the last two nights cos my boy doesn't want to sleep (even at 10.30pm). Well, point is I really want to write a bit more, but most days all I have in my mind is "I am so darn tired." 心有余,力不足。And quite honestly, I don't think anyone would be interested in how tired I am or how crap I feel.

I think it's time for some change in my life. Soon. The year is coming to an end soon - Abt 3 months! Hopefully I get myself off to more concrete plans before the year ends :)

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Struggles.
dreamlaughlive

It's been such a struggle balancing my life these days. Or rather this work-life balance thing is just giving me lots of headache.

Officially I m on a four-day work week (I.e I get paid as working four days a week). But I have cancelled my off-days, made alternative arrangements so that I get my work done. I try very hard to make the arrangement work. The thing is, my workload is not exactly a four-day week load. I end up getting home at 9pm almost everynight. Well, I don't blame anyone, I know that it's very hard to say what's a four or five-day week load. And perhaps it's me being unproductive sometimes. Most days I just feel like I m rushing through the day, just so that I can be away from office on my designated off-day. Having tried this part-time work thingy for the last few months, I think I am seriously considering whether it's worth the trouble and the stress. The arrangement is due for a review very soon. I don't know what to do. Rationally, everyone I have spoken to (except for the hubby) says that it's a no-brainer and I should just go back working full-time. But isn't it nice to have a off- day every week? There's just somethings money can't buy, like time and bonding with my son, right? Sigh, I have been going through the arguments back and forth. Bottom-line is that the part-time work hours are just not quite working for me.

And just yesterday, I came across this article below. It spoke to me. It kinda confirmed my belief that there is no such thing as real balance. Something gotta give. Maybe this is a sign for me. I kinda know where the decision is going. Just that, there's just something bugging me.

Should I? Should I not?

--------


Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.


By ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER


EIGHTEEN MONTHS INTO my job as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, a foreign-policy dream job that traces its origins back to George Kennan, I found myself in New York, at the United Nations’ annual assemblage of every foreign minister and head of state in the world. On a Wednesday evening, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a glamorous reception at the American Museum of Natural History. I sipped champagne, greeted foreign dignitaries, and mingled. But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him. Over the summer, we had barely spoken to each other—or, more accurately, he had barely spoken to me. And the previous spring I had received several urgent phone calls—invariably on the day of an important meeting—that required me to take the first train from Washington, D.C., where I worked, back to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived. My husband, who has always done everything possible to support my career, took care of him and his 12-year-old brother during the week; outside of those midweek emergencies, I came home only on weekends.

As the evening wore on, I ran into a colleague who held a senior position in the White House. She has two sons exactly my sons’ ages, but she had chosen to move them from California to D.C. when she got her job, which meant her husband commuted back to California regularly. I told her how difficult I was finding it to be away from my son when he clearly needed me. Then I said, “When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can’t Have It All.’”

She was horrified. “You can’t write that,” she said. “You, of all people.” What she meant was that such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman—a role model—would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women. By the end of the evening, she had talked me out of it, but for the remainder of my stint in Washington, I was increasingly aware that the feminist beliefs on which I had built my entire career were shifting under my feet. I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could.


VIDEO: Anne-Marie Slaughter talks with Hanna Rosin about the struggles of working mothers.

A rude epiphany hit me soon after I got there. When people asked why I had left government, I explained that I’d come home not only because of Princeton’s rules (after two years of leave, you lose your tenure), but also because of my desire to be with my family and my conclusion that juggling high-level government work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible. I have not exactly left the ranks of full-time career women: I teach a full course load; write regular print and online columns on foreign policy; give 40 to 50 speeches a year; appear regularly on TV and radio; and am working on a new academic book. But I routinely got reactions from other women my age or older that ranged from disappointed (“It’s such a pity that you had to leave Washington”) to condescending (“I wouldn’t generalize from your experience. I’ve never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great”).


The first set of reactions, with the underlying assumption that my choice was somehow sad or unfortunate, was irksome enough. But it was the second set of reactions—those implying that my parenting and/or my commitment to my profession were somehow substandard—that triggered a blind fury. Suddenly, finally, the penny dropped. All my life, I’d been on the other side of this exchange. I’d been the woman smiling the faintly superior smile while another woman told me she had decided to take some time out or pursue a less competitive career track so that she could spend more time with her family. I’d been the woman congratulating herself on her unswerving commitment to the feminist cause, chatting smugly with her dwindling number of college or law-school friends who had reached and maintained their place on the highest rungs of their profession. I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).

Last spring, I flew to Oxford to give a public lecture. At the request of a young Rhodes Scholar I know, I’d agreed to talk to the Rhodes community about “work-family balance.” I ended up speaking to a group of about 40 men and women in their mid-20s. What poured out of me was a set of very frank reflections on how unexpectedly hard it was to do the kind of job I wanted to do as a high government official and be the kind of parent I wanted to be, at a demanding time for my children (even though my husband, an academic, was willing to take on the lion’s share of parenting for the two years I was in Washington). I concluded by saying that my time in office had convinced me that further government service would be very unlikely while my sons were still at home. The audience was rapt, and asked many thoughtful questions. One of the first was from a young woman who began by thanking me for “not giving just one more fatuous ‘You can have it all’ talk.” Just about all of the women in that room planned to combine careers and family in some way. But almost all assumed and accepted that they would have to make compromises that the men in their lives were far less likely to have to make.

The striking gap between the responses I heard from those young women (and others like them) and the responses I heard from my peers and associates prompted me to write this article. Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.

I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts that need to be widely acknowledged—and quickly changed.

BEFORE MY SERVICE in government, I’d spent my career in academia: as a law professor and then as the dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Both were demanding jobs, but I had the ability to set my own schedule most of the time. I could be with my kids when I needed to be, and still get the work done. I had to travel frequently, but I found I could make up for that with an extended period at home or a family vacation.

I knew that I was lucky in my career choice, but I had no idea how lucky until I spent two years in Washington within a rigid bureaucracy, even with bosses as understanding as Hillary Clinton and her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. My workweek started at 4:20 on Monday morning, when I got up to get the 5:30 train from Trenton to Washington. It ended late on Friday, with the train home. In between, the days were crammed with meetings, and when the meetings stopped, the writing work began—a never-ending stream of memos, reports, and comments on other people’s drafts. For two years, I never left the office early enough to go to any stores other than those open 24 hours, which meant that everything from dry cleaning to hair appointments to Christmas shopping had to be done on weekends, amid children’s sporting events, music lessons, family meals, and conference calls. I was entitled to four hours of vacation per pay period, which came to one day of vacation a month. And I had it better than many of my peers in D.C.; Secretary Clinton deliberately came in around 8 a.m. and left around 7 p.m., to allow her close staff to have morning and evening time with their families (although of course she worked earlier and later, from home).

In short, the minute I found myself in a job that is typical for the vast majority of working women (and men), working long hours on someone else’s schedule, I could no longer be both the parent and the professional I wanted to be—at least not with a child experiencing a rocky adolescence. I realized what should have perhaps been obvious: having it all, at least for me, depended almost entirely on what type of job I had. The flip side is the harder truth: having it all was not possible in many types of jobs, including high government office—at least not for very long.

I am hardly alone in this realization. Michèle Flournoy stepped down after three years as undersecretary of defense for policy, the third-highest job in the department, to spend more time at home with her three children, two of whom are teenagers. Karen Hughes left her position as the counselor to President George W. Bush after a year and a half in Washington to go home to Texas for the sake of her family. Mary Matalin, who spent two years as an assistant to Bush and the counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney before stepping down to spend more time with her daughters, wrote: “Having control over your schedule is the only way that women who want to have a career and a family can make it work.”

Yet the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States. One phrase says it all about current attitudes toward work and family, particularly among elites. In Washington, “leaving to spend time with your family” is a euphemism for being fired. This understanding is so ingrained that when Flournoy announced her resignation last December, TheNew York Times covered her decision as follows:

Ms. Flournoy’s announcement surprised friends and a number of Pentagon officials, but all said they took her reason for resignation at face value and not as a standard Washington excuse for an official who has in reality been forced out. “I can absolutely and unequivocally state that her decision to step down has nothing to do with anything other than her commitment to her family,” said Doug Wilson, a top Pentagon spokesman. “She has loved this job and people here love her.
Think about what this “standard Washington excuse” implies: it is so unthinkable that an official would actually step down to spend time with his or her family that this must be a cover for something else. How could anyone voluntarily leave the circles of power for the responsibilities of parenthood? Depending on one’s vantage point, it is either ironic or maddening that this view abides in the nation’s capital, despite the ritual commitments to “family values” that are part of every political campaign. Regardless, this sentiment makes true work-life balance exceptionally difficult. But it cannot change unless top women speak out.

Only recently have I begun to appreciate the extent to which many young professional women feel under assault by women my age and older. After I gave a recent speech in New York, several women in their late 60s or early 70s came up to tell me how glad and proud they were to see me speaking as a foreign-policy expert. A couple of them went on, however, to contrast my career with the path being traveled by “younger women today.” One expressed dismay that many younger women “are just not willing to get out there and do it.” Said another, unaware of the circumstances of my recent job change: “They think they have to choose between having a career and having a family.”

A similar assumption underlies Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s widely publicized 2011 commencement speech at Barnard, and her earlier TED talk, in which she lamented the dismally small number of women at the top and advised young women not to “leave before you leave.” When a woman starts thinking about having children, Sandberg said, “she doesn’t raise her hand anymore … She starts leaning back.” Although couched in terms of encouragement, Sandberg’s exhortation contains more than a note of reproach. We who have made it to the top, or are striving to get there, are essentially saying to the women in the generation behind us: “What’s the matter with you?”

They have an answer that we don’t want to hear. After the speech I gave in New York, I went to dinner with a group of 30-somethings. I sat across from two vibrant women, one of whom worked at the UN and the other at a big New York law firm. As nearly always happens in these situations, they soon began asking me about work-life balance. When I told them I was writing this article, the lawyer said, “I look for role models and can’t find any.” She said the women in her firm who had become partners and taken on management positions had made tremendous sacrifices, “many of which they don’t even seem to realize … They take two years off when their kids are young but then work like crazy to get back on track professionally, which means that they see their kids when they are toddlers but not teenagers, or really barely at all.” Her friend nodded, mentioning the top professional women she knew, all of whom essentially relied on round-the-clock nannies. Both were very clear that they did not want that life, but could not figure out how to combine professional success and satisfaction with a real commitment to family.

I realize that I am blessed to have been born in the late 1950s instead of the early 1930s, as my mother was, or the beginning of the 20th century, as my grandmothers were. My mother built a successful and rewarding career as a professional artist largely in the years after my brothers and I left home—and after being told in her 20s that she could not go to medical school, as her father had done and her brother would go on to do, because, of course, she was going to get married. I owe my own freedoms and opportunities to the pioneering generation of women ahead of me—the women now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who faced overt sexism of a kind I see only when watching Mad Men, and who knew that the only way to make it as a woman was to act exactly like a man. To admit to, much less act on, maternal longings would have been fatal to their careers.

But precisely thanks to their progress, a different kind of conversation is now possible. It is time for women in leadership positions to recognize that although we are still blazing trails and breaking ceilings, many of us are also reinforcing a falsehood: that “having it all” is, more than anything, a function of personal determination. As Kerry Rubin and Lia Macko, the authors of Midlife Crisis at 30, their cri de coeur for Gen-X and Gen-Y women, put it:

What we discovered in our research is that while the empowerment part of the equation has been loudly celebrated, there has been very little honest discussion among women of our age about the real barriers and flaws that still exist in the system despite the opportunities we inherited.
I am well aware that the majority of American women face problems far greater than any discussed in this article. I am writing for my demographic—highly educated, well-off women who are privileged enough to have choices in the first place. We may not have choices about whether to do paid work, as dual incomes have become indispensable. But we have choices about the type and tempo of the work we do. We are the women who could be leading, and who should be equally represented in the leadership ranks.

Millions of other working women face much more difficult life circumstances. Some are single mothers; many struggle to find any job; others support husbands who cannot find jobs. Many cope with a work life in which good day care is either unavailable or very expensive; school schedules do not match work schedules; and schools themselves are failing to educate their children. Many of these women are worrying not about having it all, but rather about holding on to what they do have. And although women as a group have made substantial gains in wages, educational attainment, and prestige over the past three decades, the economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson have shown that women are less happy today than their predecessors were in 1972, both in absolute terms and relative to men.

The best hope for improving the lot of all women, and for closing what Wolfers and Stevenson call a “new gender gap”—measured by well-being rather than wages—is to close the leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.

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Me-time.
dreamlaughlive

I stole an hour (or a lil bit more) out to town to lunch. By myself.

I have been craving for this grilled fish bento at the basement of Takashimaya for weeks. This unassuming lil Jap eatery, which the girlfriend brought me to a few weeks ago, serves the best grilled fish, IMHO.

So I took a cab out to town to get my cravings satisfied. I didn't bother asking anyone cos I just wanted some peaceful time with me and myself.

Belly-filled. I feel that I m ready for the busy afternoon ahead. And, I m surely one happy woman!

Oh plus I had a bout of shopping. No crowds :)


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