Reactions to Working

As a parent you learn lots from your kids, and I had one of those moments a few days ago. My teenage daughter is in her second year of working. We were are on our way to an event and she noted that she was not looking forward to seeing some people. Why? Apparently the fact that she is working, is an issue to some of her friends and other parents. The reactions vary from not understanding why she would bother to work, why she chooses to work, how could her parents allow her to work, and curiosity and support for her work. Unfortunately, the last response is less common.

I was surprised. We chatted about the ways that she responds to these comments and I dropped her off at the event. I drove away thinking about how I started working the day that I turned 16 and how I have not stopped. Is it really odd that she’s working? Nope. I was chatting with our family doctor and his daughter is the same age and is also working. And, I have chatted with other parents who have kids in high school and their kids are working, too. When I have chatted with other parents we talk about how our kids are learning life skills–dealing with people, coaching younger kids, organizing workouts, and getting familiar with work and life balance.

When I was walking around campus the yesterday I was thinking about this conversation with my daughter and I also thought about the countless office hours that I have had with students who have an empty or virtually empty resume. Yes, I am relating this moment that I had with my daughter to my work as a mentor and college instructor. I think it is important that young people are giving ample opportunity to work and develop their resumes. Work opportunities provides a chance to mature, learn time management, and make money. I also think that working offers you a chance for maturity and resiliency.


It’s OK to Talk About Mental Health

Airdrie Miller @airdrie_miller Public School Teacher
It’s OK to Talk About Mental Health #Breatheyyj

Miller is sharing her experience with panic attacks in university. At first she kept quiet about her experience, but later sought help from the university mental health services. She has a 1998 baby, too. Awwww. “Nowadays we’re not putting pictures in albums–we’re putting them online.” She stopped her therapy and later had another baby. Then, postpartum depression hit. This is so common for many women.

She realized that she suffering from depression and resumed therapy. She got better and then resumed work after nine months. Oh, I love the Wonder Woman slide. She was doing it all…you know where this is going to go. Love her slide of the WHO’s definition of Mental Health. It’s telling and we need to stop and assess. Are we healthy? Are we pushing ourselves to attempt to be perfect?

Miller notes that mental illness does not discriminate! Twenty percent of Canadians will suffer from mental health issues in their life. This number is important to think about, as we all know many who are living with mental illness. Miller shares that she began to have serious thoughts about self-harm. She then quit her job and became what she calls a Desperate Housewife, but still suffering from depression.

She was very brave and ultimately was placed in the psych ward. This turn of events changed her life. Her experience with the outpatient therapy was positive. She went back to work part-time and tried to keep balance in her life. Then, her dear husband contracts colon cancer. Sigh. Derek Miller. After four years he succumbed to cancer. I’m so glad I heard her share her truths. She ends noting: It’s OK to not talk about it. Do what is right for you–so true.

Being a Feminist Mother: Part I

When I was a new mama, I kept a journal that I named the “Bad Mama Chronicles” (BMC). I wrote entries when I was exhausted and somehow felt that I had failed my daughter that day. I am sure that I could have continued the BMC and the entries would have changed during the course of my daughter getting older and then the arrival of her little sister. Parents know how hard it is to parent, to mother, in my case.

Being a feminist mother has meant different things to me at different times in my girls’ development. So, for time and space, I will refer to what I think today. Being a feminist mother means that I encourage my girls and discourage the influences of pop culture and advertisements in their lives, so that they do not think that they are not smart enough, perfect, thin enough, need the next toy, food, or gimmick to fulfill them. This is a full-time job! I also need to bite my tongue and listen. It was easy in the beginning to be in charge of buying their clothes and dressing them, when they were little girls. Now, both of them have their own distinct tastes and thankfully both of them are sporty, although the youngest like the occasional frilly item.

However, now they both have wider social circles and there are more people influencing their lives. Funny anecdote: a teacher was reviewing the eldest daughters quiz answer and one of her answers to why we should respect a particular woman scientist. She explained that this scientists refused to stay with her philandering husband. The teacher had marked this answer as wrong! Yet, this personal trait also spoke to this scientist’s personal strength of character. I smiled and listened to the teacher and just listened to him. I don’t want to make waves for my daughter and could understand part of his argument; however, I think that her answer was correct–just not what he was expecting.

The best thing that I can do as a parent is set a positive example for the girls. The adage is that actions speak louder than words and it is so true. Some days I think about how I have had a really great day with the girls and other days–not so much. Parenting is a marathon.

This Summer was a great one. My eldest had that epiphany when she realized in a deeper way what it means to be Latina. We were surrounded by my family and when we were alone–we had some conversations about race and I could see her mind working. Later we took a trip to Olvera St. (first puebla in Southern California) and this trip was different from the previous ones. She took in the history. All those years of Spanish CDs and a trip to a Latino historical site made all the difference. Again, actions can speak louder than words.

There are more posts to come about being a feminist mother. This is just the beginning.