Learn How To Manage Your Time

In her book, Stop Screaming at the Microwave, Mary LoVerde says the key to finding time for ourselves and others is to reach out and connect: with loved ones and colleagues and with ourselves. For years, society's model has been the opposite, causing many of us to break off into camps, rather than connecting with each other. Here -- in part one of a four part series -- LoVerde takes a humorous look at tired stereotypes, and suggests a new way of thinking about those who have made choices different from our own.
Mary LoVerde

A tongue-in-cheek look at the female camps
Just as Betty Crocker got updated to reflect modern society's view of women, we need a new role model for connection. The first step in that direction is to look carefully at our current models. My research suggests that we have dividend our world into two major camps, male and female. Each of these camps is subdivided into smaller camps. Let's take a look at the female division first.

"I have a uterus and a brain and they both work."
(Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder)

There are four major female camps.

Stop Screaming at the Microwave by Mary LoVerde1. The stay-at-home-mom camp
You know these women: they are those formerly bright, vivacious, creative women who developed brain mush from too much daytime television. They are experts on what is happening to Erica on All My Children, their kids develop the Hurried Child Syndrome, and critics tell us these poor women have no libido.

2. Full-time-working-mother coalition
You know these women, too. They are the harried, hassled ones, seen at the grocery store at midnight buying frozen pizzas and rice cakes. Their children like their day care mothers the best, and some evidence suggests their children will grow up to be mass murderers or, at the very least, shave their heads and pass out books at the airport for a donation. These pathetic women also have no libido.

3. Part-time-flex-time-job-sharing crowd
You can't miss these ladies. They are so used to doing two things at once that they paint their nails while they drive, review memos while they carpool, and mentally make out grocery lists while they make love. (Sometimes the grocery list takes longer.) You can't give them anything important to do at work because they're gone half the time. You can't really consider them very good parents because they're gone the other half too. They do, I understand, have a libido... but only two and a half days a week.

4. Career-Woman society
These single, married, or divorced childless females own dozen of Bill Blass dresses, white sofas, and glass-topped coffee tables. (You know, the kind with the pointed edges just waiting to poke some poor kid's eye out.) They have perfectly manicured nails. These women are never too tired for sex. Critics charge some are a little egotistical and tend to be workaholics. They have slightly swollen heads from continuously ramming it into the glass ceiling. Despite these criticisms, they are, let me remind you, never too tired for sex.

Mini Camps
There are many small subdivisions within each camp. The Empty Nesters, for example, are often lonely, needy, and prone to hot flashes. The Adult College Student slows down the class with inane questions that aren't even going to be on the test. And don't get me started commenting on the retirees who create long lines at noon when busy important people are trying to do their banking.

Do not pass go, go directly to jail
Can you imagine someone writing these critiques? In these politically correct times, do you know how much trouble you could get into? Do you know how many people you might offend, or how much time you could spend in jail? The fact remains: the camps exist. We created them out of a need to defend ourselves. Society told women they were to choose any role in life. There just wasn't any support for that choice. Uncertain about the validity of our selection and threatened by other women's preferences, we all dug in our heels and declared that our camp was the Right One and all those other camps, why, they were made up of unhappy people with ruined sex lives who were raising misguided, unhealthy children. It is time to disband the camps! They no longer serve any useful purpose. Perhaps at one time they helped us. They gave us strength and insight so we could carefully evaluate how each group managed. With little support for any of the camps, it was natural that we banded together with like minds.

Which camp is best?
I have wonderful news! I have carefully researched the latest studies and I can prove which camp is best for all women. At last we will know once and for all.

Stay-at-Home Moms Are The Best
According to Yanklovich, Clancy and Schulman, 28 percent of working women wanted to quit their jobs and put more energy into homemaking. Fifty-six percent of working women said that having enough money would get them to quit. In this survey, less than 50 percent of women thought mothers should also have a career. In addition, we are all aware of the enormous amount of literature supporting the mother-child bond, especially in those tender formative years. The data are in. Women want to go home and it's the best thing for their families. All women should join this camp.

Full-Time Career Moms Are The Best
According to Boston University and others, work is a positive for mothers and children alike. Both mothers and children, according to a University of California study, have higher self-esteem and fewer health problems. Working mothers are happier and less depressed than their stay-at-home sisters, and according to Harvard University, their children have a less sex-stereotyped view of the world and fewer behavior problems. Research very clearly shows that women want to go to work and it's the best thing for their families. All women should join this camp.

Flex-Time-Part-Time-Job-Sharing Moms Are the Best
According to the executive recruitment firm of Robert Half International, 78 percent of people prefer a flexible work schedule. Telecommuting has been growing by leaps and bounds. According to Link Resources, home-based workers actually accomplish 10 to 20 percent more than people in the office. Millions of women run home-based businesses. The corporate world, although slow to change, is finally addressing work and family issues. Johnson & Johnson, for only the third time in the history of their company, changed their creed to add the statement "we must be mindful of ways to help our employees meet their family obligations." J & J, a leader in family-friendly companies, which has a clear commitment to on-site day care, just began a program to help their employees find in-home day care as well. Studies show companies lose millions of dollars each year due to absenteeism caused by family-care problems. Flex-time produces fierce employee loyalty and financial savings for both employee and employer. Numbers don't lie. Women want alternative work schedules and it is the best thing for their families. All women should join this camp.

Career Women Are the Best
There is no research on career women. White sofas, great sex; who would research that? Just kidding. Actually, the research shows very clearly that the price to reach the top is a heavy one, that some women showing up in boardrooms, women-owned businesses skyrocketing to success, and millions of females loving their careers. Without a doubt the data clearly show this to be far superior to the others. All women should join this camp.

A rose is a rose
Here's my favorite piece of research: Lois Hoffman, Ph.D. , from the University of Michigan, surveyed fifty years of research and found out that whether mothers work or not, children don't differ. John Ellis, of East Tennessee State, conducted a study of mothers' employment on children's behavior and found out that, regardless of the mother's employment status, the children's moods and behavior didn't change. What does the mean? It means that if you have a two-year-old and they throw a fit at 6 P.M., it doesn't mean you are a stay-at-home mom and you are smothering the child; and it doesn't mean you are a full-time mom and you are neglecting the child; and it doesn't mean you are a flex-time mom and you are confusing the child. It means that at 6 P.M., two-year-olds throw fits!

And Last but Not Least
Cornell University tracked 313 women over three decades and concluded that the more roles a woman has by choice, the higher her self-esteem and the better her health.



Disband the Camps
So you see, research very clearly shows that the choice doesn't matter. What matters is that you like your choice. What matters is that you feel your choice helps you connect with yourself, your family, your friends, and your God. What matters is that you feel your life is in balance. And that choice can be just about anything.

P. S. There is one other camp to disband. The single-mother camp. Three days before Christmas a friend of mine, a divorced mother of three school-aged children, was fired from her job of twenty years. She was on probation for tardiness because her son's day care did not open until 6:30 A.M. and with traffic and other delays she sometimes clocked in at 7:10. Late one time too many, she was fired on the spot.

I am not implying we all show up late for work. But I wonder if this is an outdated Cleaver principle in action. In the mythical "good old days" chronic tardiness meant you were disorganized, lazy or uncommitted to your job. Now it might mean we need to review the rules and work together to find solutions to the real problem. Of course, this doesn't apply to just single parents. They may, however, lead the way in teaching us new ways of thinking as we attempt to unravel this camp.PregnancyAndBaby.com


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