Saturday, January 16, 2010

A heartfelt thank you and some observations

Dear friends,

First and foremost, thank you for your kind, supportive, loving and gentle comments on my last post. Reading them meant so much to me. At this difficult time, I treasure your friendship and support more than ever, as there aren't many people in my immediate surroundings that understand the stressful nature of our situation.

Several people made suggestions of generating income from home. We have already explored several options, which did not work out, and there are venues which might prove profitable in the future – however, right now there is a pressing need for something to keep us afloat. It is temporary and I believe that there will be a way, soon, for me to come back home full-time.

Others remarked that now, I might see even more clearly the need for a wife and mother to be at home, and her struggles when she must go out and work. I'm no stranger to working full-time, but yes, I have only done that when I was single. It's true that with every day I spend at work, I am even more convinced that working and being a wife and a mother of young children places an undue burden on a woman. Not that I didn't know it before, but now I see it with a heart-wrenching clarity.

Someone asked me what it is that I actually do. I work in a local science center that caters to schools from the entire area. I prepare lab workshops and activities, and help the teachers and students. I also do some administrative work.

Since I see teachers and schoolchildren around me every day I work, the realizations that hit me are often sad and sometimes heartbreaking. Teaching is supposed to be a family-friendly job, and it is often chosen by religious women for whom family is the top priority. But for a mother of a growing family, even a part-time job is usually more than she should be dealing with. I see excellent wives and mothers, dedicated homemakers, who are stressed and fretful because they simply cannot do it all. Many of them talk about unwashed dishes, piled up laundry and sick children that are brushed aside. The prevalence of this is just so sad.

Then there are the schoolchildren, who are herded in large age-segregated groups, locked up in classrooms, and told to do something at the same time. Most often, this something is a thing that could have been performed in a much easier and more interesting way at home, with more time for the children to relax during the process and ask questions about whatever interests them. In an institutionalized setting, I see this most often isn't possible.

The children are wonderful, the teachers are excellent, the lessons are planned as well as they can be. But the system itself seems to be faulty. I do realize that not all children can, or should, be homeschooled, and in Israel, it's a very controversial option indeed. However, once again I can't help but notice that institutionalized schooling is often not the best option for young children. I have often wondered whether my own negative experience of my school years has been exacerbated over time. Now that I work with schoolchildren, I feel even more strongly that I would like my daughter to have, at least, a different option.

30 comments:

Jan Hatchett said...

Anna:
I understand and can empathize with your situation more than you know. I, too, work in a school to help offset burdensome expenses to my family. I have an autistic child and need specialized schooling for him (per psychiatrist) to help him learn to socialize better as God has blessed us with 2 children. Larger families have more options for socialization. I teach high school in the same school he is in. It is so hard when my heart longs to be home and homeschooling my boys.

This is the only way to provide the care my son needs (at this time) as the public schools here are terrible. I long for the day when I can bring them back home to complete their educations. Truly, it makes a mother see things more clearly when trying to "do it all."

Blessings to you, Anna, and always trust that this will not be forever.

Kelley Folsom said...

Hi Anna,

I just wanted to let you know that I am publishing a series of posts over the next few weeks on budgeting and financial planning on my blog. I just published the first one today on tips for reducing expenses if you are interested in taking a look at it. My blog is called abenaki motherhood and here is the link:
http://abenakimotherhood.blogspot.com
I'll try to publish as much of my tips and suggestions this week to try to be of as much help as I can. Take care.

Love,

Kelley, Lucy, and Jasmine

Rose said...

My dear Anna, I've been thinking about your post on Friday and trying for to think what I could say to you to help. What struck a chord most deeply with me was how sad you sounded. That is entirely understandable but I'm confidently looking forward to your gentle optimism returning. Thinking of you all.

Veronica Boulden said...

I agree with this post completely. I taught school full time before I had kids. That was the job I was referring to earlier. I only had nine students in my class (a small, private, religious school) and I still felt like I couldn't give them "enough." Most of the time, what kids really needed was a parent. It was heartbreaking. It convinced me that if we could afford it, one day, I would home school. :) So thankful for the Almighty's provision to do so right now. Thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,my thoughts & prayers are with you.I know how much this hurts.I have been in the same postion as you.You are doing what you need to do for your family now.I will pray that this will pass soon & you will be back with your daughter full-time and your husband gets an even better job.God bless you! Marylouise

Rae said...

As a long-time reader, I wanted to thank you for your example of devotion to being a full time mother- even when it includes being a part-time something else.

I left a part time job last spring, and in the time since, I have wondered and doubted myself so often. Every time I do this, I find your blog, reassuring me that my heart and my time are in the right place.

I will pray for your family, that circumstances will allow you to come home full time again.

Holly said...

Anna,
My heart really goes out to you. As a working wife (though only part time now), I know that I am stressed and can not imagine how heartbreaking it must be to leave your little one behind. I hope and pray that soon both of us can be at home full time!

Ganeida said...

Anna: there were so many responses on your last post I refrained from adding to them but another who has walked in your shoes. So hard to work with others' children & unable to meet all their need for that interested adult in their life when there is a child at home that needs you. It was exhausting & so not worth the extra money & I was pleased to be able to quit. I hope you too will soon be home again full~time.

Anonymous said...

My thoghts are with U. I hope things get better

Anonymous said...

I truly empathize. And agree that teachers who also head large families are often stressed.
However....I still think public school is usually better than being educated at home. Especially when there's a large family. Most parents of many children just don't have the time or the quiet to sit and teach each child at an age appropriate level. There's noise from the babies, toddlers running about, housework to be done, dinner is burning....Truth is, large boisterous families are not conducive to concentrating. I imagine those who succeed either have naturally quiet, flexible kids (it's a matter of genetic temperament, usually), or just give their kids books to read in the other room and hope for the best. I think many paint an overly pretty picture.

Even in times of yore, when more people were homeschooled, whoever could afford it hired a 'governess' or tutor to do the job. The parents really just did the very basics, if anything (I'm talking about academics here, not housekeeping or farming or apprenticeship). It isn't easy to teach your own kids an academic curriculum full-time, ESPECIALLY if you have many of them.
Not to say I think public schools are so wonderful. Much room for improvement there. But most of the parents I know wouldn't do a better job.
Tammy

Mrs. White said...

I am so sorry you have had to take a temporary job outside the home. I understand how devastating this must be for you.

I pray things get better soon and you can get back home full-time!

Blessings
Mrs. White

Sarah Brodsky said...

I think homeschooling large families well is possible, although not for everyone. It's often practical to teach a couple kids together at a time, so parents needn't teach a separate grade level for each kid. The fact that schools segregate everyone by age doesn't mean that's the only way to learn. Older kids can help with housework. And I don't think one or two little kids are more distracting that twenty peers in a classroom, who can be more noisy and rambunctious as a toddler.

A nice thing about homeschooling is that flexibility is built in. Parents can work in lessons around chores or a baby's schedule.

Jasmine said...

Dearest Anna,

I agree with you regarding the school system. It is a difficult place for children, especially boys.

Stay strong my friend, and thank you for your heartfelt sharing. You have a sincere heart, and allowed us a glimpse into your world. I am grateful to have come across your blog.

Jasmine
Far Above Rubies

Anonymous said...

Keep going Anna! You will get there. Judy

KylaJean said...

I haven't been by in a while a to comment although I do keep up with you through my blog reader.

I just want to say that I am so happy to see you being a true partner to your husband. What a blessing to him and to your little one. I know its not ideal and you feel out of balance but sometimes our roads aren't easy.

Having experienced a job loss and having to take a job that required a long commute I understand your frustrations. Hang in there...He has a plan for you!

Kyla

Anonymous said...

Anna,

I also refrained from posting on your last entry because so many were saying what I was thinking. Just know that I understand the angst you must feel in your situation and that I've been praying for you.

- Sally

Nea said...

Before starting my current studies I worked three years as a full time teacher for children from 7 to 12 years. During those years I became convinced, that if we ever got children, they would be homeschooled.

Some of my friends couldn't understant how I as a teacher could think that way. But like you said, the reality is just sad. Even in the good schools with loving, caring and cabable teachers the schoolsystem itself makes it impossible to do anything else than what is done.

Things could be learned so much faster and easier at home, not to mention the possibility to learn in the way YOUR child learns best. ....I could go on and on with this subject, but I think this is enough for now :)

Anonymous said...

Just picking up on something in your post, that although I think I benefitted from school myself, I absolutely agree about the age-segregation, and wish that schools would do more to promote play and socialization between children of different ages, even if there are practical reasons that they are taught largely in age groups. I think this is particularly important not only for only children, or where there are large gaps between children, but for families closer in age, too. I still remember an older girl I liked a lot, but didn't know well, commenting to me once about being an older sister, as I was, but with the benefit of being a couple of years older and with more understanding. I felt so honoured that an older girl was talking to me as an equal about an experience we shared!

Nowhere else in life do we associate only with such an age-limited group of people as at school, and I think this limit on schoolchildren is a great pity.

Livejournal: Nineveh_uk

Neuropoet said...

Anna,
I've been away from the computer for a few days, and I'm distressed to find I missed the most recent posts containing such difficult news for you. I'm am proud of you for doing what is necessary - but I know it must be so hard for you to leave your little one and your home. It is a blessing that Shira is with her Daddy while you are away. I will be praying for your husband's job - my husband was recently laid-off (at Christmas time) and so far he hasn't found work either. Thankfully, he's working on his master's degree, and gets a stipend from the GI Bill which is paying our expenses. Since our boys are homeschooled they're learning a lot right now about economics...
I will be praying, Anna...
~Jenny

Joe and Elaine said...

Hi Anna,

Let me tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog! You are a very talented writer and person! And while we have very, very different views on many things, I appreciate your love for family and your earnestness in following God.

On that note, I also noticed how sad and depressed this post seemed to be and couldn't help but wonder if you've tried to enjoy this new part-time job? I read in many blogs of stay-at-home daughters and mothers about how they overcome the dislike of household chores or activities they don't enjoy. Isn't this, in a way, sort of similar?

Try to be optimistic. Think of the blessing you are being to the teachers (who you mentioned are overworked) and the students who don't get to reap the benefits of a home education (while I myself am a teacher, I fully agree that nothing compares to an individualized, home education).

God has helped you find the resources to get your family through a troubled time. Many people in other countries can't find jobs at all right now. Maybe God gave you this opportunity for a reason. . . even if it is to reaffirm your desire to be home.

I am not trying to attack you in any way. . . I myself have felt overworked, exhausted, and 'out of place' at times in my job as a special education teacher, but I also feel very strongly convicted that I am helping to show compassion and love to the students I work with. This far outweighs the negative feelings I sometimes have.

So, stay strong and know that you serve a God who always knows what is best and will guide you to what is best for your family and home!

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I agree with your observations most heartily.

Analytical Adam said...

For years now I just see women as using men for agenda's (with full Rabbi support. In the last 12 years never have Rabbi's even been nice to me only mean and nasty and then I find they love helping women but not Jewish men when they have concerns. Just be mean and nasty and find anything to blame you). If they end up being overwhelmed they should at least admit they are PARTLY TO BLAME for not looking for the right qualities in man. The famous story in the bible with Samuel in which Samuel told the Jews if you elect a king he may abuse his power and if he does and you cry out I will not hear you because you can decide you don't want a king and let me G-d rule over you.

If the women can't admit that they themselves made SOME MISTAKES and want to claim they are the victim when they spit on decent Jewish men I have to say this is classic feminism where women are never held accountable for any of their decisions. I am sick of this false compassion and not admiting some fault in their decision making and trying to change that or trying to get the man involved which many of these women don't want any man to do anything because of their own egotism and hatred of men which extends to their sons as well.
I would feel some compassion if they would admit that they have hurt good men by some of their decisions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I know you are so busy right now. I have a question; maybe you can answer it when you have time, if you would like to, but please don't feel that you must. It has to do with courtship.

A few days ago I entered my name at an internet dating site that promises to find like-minded people with similar goals, aspirations, morals, values, etc. It seemed at the time like a logical thing to do, but now it feels very wrong somehow and I'm not quite sure why.

I was matched with a few gentleman. A couple of them initiated communication, and one of them wrote, "You seem interesting. Why don't you finish your profile?"

For some reason, this made me very upset, and now I can't quite figure out why. I think it was the fact that I was being "looked over" or "sized up" as if I was one of many ladies that this gentleman might be interested in. After all, he had probably received a handful of matches himself, and was now reviewing the candidates.

I don't know, it just felt very humiliating. I know I am probably taking it too hard, but I was wondering if you had any insights or thoughts.

Thank you, Anna. And any more descriptions of courtship would be very much appreciated. Thanks! Take good care! And don't worry if you don't have time.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon,

Oh, I do understand your experience. While I was registered at dating websites, I have had to go through my share of weirdos and/or unpleasant people. That's the flip side of internet dating. You have to filter and filter until you find someone good and trustworthy, and in the process, you often realize you must develop a thicker skin.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon,

Oh, I do understand your experience. While I was registered at dating websites, I have had to go through my share of weirdos and/or unpleasant people. That's the flip side of internet dating. You have to filter and filter until you find someone good and trustworthy, and in the process, you often realize you must develop a thicker skin.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who finds AnalyticAdam's responses utterly incomprehensible and off-topic? He seems brimming with hatred and an inferiority complex. He spews a lot of hostility regarding women and Judaism, with no sanity to be seen.
I'm surprised you don't reject this nonsense.

Sarah Brodsky said...

I agree with Anonymous re: Analytic Adam. His comments spout negativity toward Judaism without relation to the topics discussed on the blog. I've begun skipping over his comments whenever I read.

While I argued against comment censorship when that topic came up previously, I do think there are exceptions and religious hatred would be a good example of one.

Pendragon said...

Best wishes and good luck to you, Anna. I am sure everyone, regardless of personal values, can empathize with the difficulty of going through economic hard times.

I admire you for working hard to keep your family afloat, for the value you bring to the science education of young children, and for working towards your eventual goal of returning to full-time homemaking work.

Anonymous said...

Honestly Anna, your posts are a revelation to me. Somehow you put all the things I think about into words and write them down. I sometimes believe that I am too sensitive and slow for this world but when I read your posts I am so thankful to see that there are other people who do not whish to conform to these heartless times, where people are treated like soulless robots who just need to perform. The term "human resource" says it all.

Thank you for your blog, it really lifts me up when i feel slightly depressed about things!

Karen said...

Oh Anna...it's so strange to find you in the same boat as I am! I also am working part-time, but at a hotel. I only work on the weekends, so it isn't too bad, but yes my life is very crammed full and it is tiring! I don't know if I would ever get back into education again. I am sure I would feel the same as you, and I would find it depressing for me. Try to look on the bright side, and I hope this is only temporary for both of us!! ~ Karen