Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

What I Learned on the Internet Today

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Women, you’re Not a Failure if You’re Not in a Relationship

(terrific post by Stephanie Klein)

"It’s amazing how we think of ourselves as failures because something doesn’t work out.  Yes, we see it as a learning experience.  We see it as "for the best," but really, deep down, we worry that we’re failing at this.  At being with another person.  At making it work.  Instead of realizing, maybe it just wasn’t the right person.  No, screw maybe.  You’re not a failure when a relationship ends.  The same way you’re not a success when one begins.  Too many women are beginning to measure their worth on the merits of their relationship.  "But I was the only woman in that room without a ring on my finger, and it just…"  NO.  Stop that.  I’ve been her, too.  I’ve been in and out of "us," the kind of "us" with a ring.  It didn’t make me more of anything.  And it didn’t make me less once I was alone.  You’re failing yourself when you measure you that way.  Instead, value yourself on the strength of your female friendships, on the wise old women you can turn to for guidance.  On your ability to make people laugh, or think, or know that you’ll always be there for them.  Even when they feel like the failure."

Men, you are a Failure if You Show Any Fear

Self-Confidence — How to Develope the Self-Confidence You Need to Succeed in as Few as 31 Short Days!

"We should not apologize to ourselves. A sense of the dignity of life, and the sovereignty of the soul, should keep us strong and positive. We should be too big for the little habit of excuse-making. Self-depreciation never won a single battle of life. It has, on the contrary, killed ambition, weakened the will, and incapacitated thousands of men for noble work. Apology is weakness on parade. Avoid it. Observe some man who comes toward you, walking with short, jerky steps, his dress careless, the corners of his mouth turned down, keeping well to one side of the walk. As he passes, he gives you a hasty, frightened glance, which tells you unmistakably of despair, discouragement, and failure. The man’s whole life probably has been negative in its character and outlook. The daily, and perhaps hourly, streams of false suggestions poured into his mind have at last overwhelmed him and his life closes in an eclipse.

Many a man tormented by fear and timidity does not realize what a flood of negative thoughts daily affects him. He hedges himself in with suggestions of limitation, incapacity, and unworthiness. He constantly thinks not of how he will succeed, but of how he will surely fail. When Washington Irving was asked to preside at a public dinner to Charles Dickens, upon his visit to America, he hesitated and said he would surely fail. It was pointed out to him that he was really the man properly to direct that high function, and at last was prevailed upon to accept. But to many friends he repeated his fear that he would fail. The night came, and before a brilliant gathering Irving arose to speak. He made an excellent beginning, but suddenly stopped and brought his remarks to a close. As he sat down, he whispered to a friend on his left, "There, I told you I would fail, and I did!""

Women, you Can Be Successful as a Stay-at-Home Mom:

Our Life:  Feeling Successful as a SAHM

"It’s taken a long time but I’ve finally realized that my achievements are extraordinary every single day. It is this recognition that I have given myself that doesn’t just make me able to mop another floor, wipe another nose, scrub another toilet, prepare a meal and not really expect a whole lot in return and be able to do it without grumbling and complaining, but to actually do these things with joy. I can wash the same clothes every other day, shop for the same groceries, run kids to the same practices and lessons each week, and know that I’m successful, because I know if I wasn’t doing those things that may at times seem unappreciated, that my family members lives would not be as pleasant or enjoyable as they are. In the same way that a nurse, or a doctor takes care of yet another patient (Hopefully because it makes them feel good) or a marketing person comes up with yet another witty ad, or a lawyer closes yet another real estate deal and feels successful for it when they have been acknowledged momentarily with a monetary or sometimes even maybe more satisyingly with a personal compliment or thank you, I can feel successful when I have found a knew way to deal with my children’s arguments or created a new meal that "almost" everyone liked, or knitted a new baby blanket for the newest baby coming, or delivered a meal to a neighbour or freind in need, or spent some time doing one of my favorite things, writing because it brings me joy. If we go about these things with a positive happy attitude, not expecting anything more then the realization that we are raising a happy, loving family then that can be a reward in itself and we will truly enjoy it."

Men, you are  Committing Career Suicide as a Stay-at-Home Dad:

from the Wall Street Journal

"When Steven Greenfield, a 40-year-old software-development administrator in San Jose, Calif., started looking for work early last year, he found he had some explaining to do. Managers kept quizzing him about his decision to stay home the prior four years to raise his three young daughters.

One interviewer asked him if he was gay or "just weird, since ‘stay-at-home dad’ isn’t something a man is willing to admit to," he was told. A second interviewer accused him of failing to keep current with technology because "raising kids was too time-consuming," although the interviewer never bothered to ask Mr. Greenfield about any of his specific technological abilities.

A third, informed of Mr. Greenfield’s stay-at-home status, simply seemed at a loss for words. The interview wandered off track, and ended quickly."

26 Comments

  1. wow, I just had a conversation with my best guy friend about this this past weekend. Only it was in terms of him and how he puts too much of his self-worth into a relationship and being a ‘we’ or an ‘us’. How he rushes from his past into his future when he hasn’t dealt with his past yet therefore he is just bring it with him into his future. Therefore, simply making the same mistakes over and over again.
    I don’t understand why people think they are worth more or their value sudden goes up when they are a ‘we’ an ‘us’. People need to value themselves as an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ first and foremost before trying to find and make an, ‘us’.

    mmm, I feel a post coming up.

  2. I’m trying to figure out how to be a “Stay At Home Mom” without a child.

  3. I have been seeing a lot more of this on the blogs that I read. I can’t believe that this much stress it put into not being in a relationship.

    Sometimes you just over-think something.

  4. I don’t see a contradiction in the first two examples (if that’s what you were trying to present). Both talk about self-confidence as a state arising from your own inner resources; for men or for women.

  5. My God, I hope that interviewer of the stay-at-home dad was fired or sued. What an ass. I know several stay-at-home dads and I know they all feel that stigma.

  6. That interviewer is not just an ass. Those questions are possibly illegal.

  7. Thanks for posting those blurbs.

  8. Stay at home dads are great. Forget the interviewers.

  9. While I agree that it’s professional suicide to be a stay-at-home dad (it’s implied in that you are “staying at home” instead of “going to work”, so how can it not be), the way that’s worded makes it sound so damn negative.

    The purpose of being a stay-at-home dad is to be around your kids, not go to work. So what the heck does it matter?

    My wife and I have discussed it, and the one of us that is earning less money will be the stay at home when we have kids. And, let me tell y’all something, I will announce it loudly and proudly that I am a stay-at-home dad should I be the winner of that deal.

    But I will likely still try some freelance stuff while I’m there. Just to keep my design skills “up to snuff.”

  10. i am totally sending the link that stephanie klein post to my friend. she needs to hear it.

  11. I’m not sure being a stay at home mom is actually career enhancing. I’ve been told not to mention anything about my family, period, during a job interview, if you do, they can ask and will make judgements.

  12. thanks for pulling all of these together and posting them in one spot. I found something to take away with me in each one…

  13. Great post.

    I am flabbergasted by the interviewers of the “Stay at Home Dad” -that is nuts and illegal. Weenieheads!!

  14. Could I be a “stay at home” if I was babysitting myself? That would be sweet.

  15. Wow – the first post was amazing – the last just unbelievably limited and stupid – how could anyone look down at a man who takes time from his career to care for his children?! good lord..where did we go wrong in this country? i think those men should get a medal! And I am a SAHM and I struggle with it every day – I love my son – don’t get me wrong – but it is not all Carol Brady and perfect linens..

  16. They should all read the book “I’m OK- You’re OK.”

  17. My husband is a stay at home husband. He works out of his home office and takes care of our 3 children. Okay, they are cats… But he works very hard. I’m the one who commutes to the city every day. Eh, it’s not to rough on either of us. Thank god we don’t have any children yet…

  18. Neil,

    I LOVE you and your blog, but I am GROSSLY disappointed that not only did you quote Stephanie “I’m so fucked up” Klein, but you LINKED to her.

    What is the world coming to when people read her posts for insight to anything??

    She is so incredibly damaged, that I can’t even imagine how she sustains friendships, let alone a relationship.

  19. Gina,

    I also linked to the crazy guy who wrote this: Self-Confidence — “How to Develop the Self-Confidence You Need to Succeed in as Few as 31 Short Days!”, and you’re not complaining about him.

  20. At least there’s no double standard!

    Note to self: Don’t let wife read this article; she may take it as validation of something….

  21. the Sahm lady?…living in lala land…there is no more unrewarding job than being a sahm. People poop and throw up on you, mess up the house all day long, you’re in and out of the car driving someone to somewhere. Rarely are you thanked or appreciated. Damnit, I gotta get me a real job.

  22. i think the age of a woman has alot to do with how she feels about herself, i was raised to believe that i had to get married and have kids, however, i (actually my husband and myself) have been raising our children to have enough confidence in themselves that each of them should pursue their dream. my oldest daughter has been in relationships, she chooses to share her life with someone, but she doesn’t need someone to make her life. things are much different now, i’m glad for her.

  23. I think you have to take into consideration what field the stay-at-home dad is in. Software development is a rapidly changing field, and a man or woman who took that much time off would easily fall out of touch, so the interviewers have a right to be worry. I have heard that women have problems, too, coming back to scientific research, so it’s a problem for both sexes.

  24. Nelumbo — Perhaps. But I don’t think the interviewer would consider the woman “weird” or “gay.”

  25. Ugh to Stephanie.

    SAHD are amazing. As are SAHMs.

  26. Stay at home dads are cool.

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