Thursday, June 21, 2007

Who I am, Part II

As I thought about what to write for my short biography if I were to place in a writing contest, what seemed natural was to simply say, "full time mother of three young children who is attempting to be a writer." That defines who I am at the moment. What is unwritten and hardly implied in those words are the tasks involved in my definition of myself.

Let's look at those tasks:
  • Manager of finances, house repairs, yard maintenance, as well as occasional travel agent for my husband.
  • Teacher of reading and writing skills along with a smattering of social studies, psychology, science, and mathematics.
  • Upkeep of two personal blogs: one solely for family and friends to have updates about my children; the second one contains my thoughts on no particular subject.
  • Squeezing in time at the computer between my children's bedtime and my own after completing the first tasks.
I suppose I could add that I have a bachelor of science in Biology along with a master of science in pharmacology. Might you care that I have taught science to elementary school children in such diverse arenas as assemblies, after-school, in school and summer camps? Could it possibly matter that I was project manager for a small company that produced educational materials for pharmaceutical representatives? Writing a short biography challenged me to define Sarabeth. Yet, I am falling short of that definition because I haven't included that I volunteer to teach science at the girls' school for special events. Nor have I written that I am the president of a house corporation that controls a budget of $175,000/year on a property valued at over $750,000. Payment is necessary for that job. I do it because it is part of an oath I took years ago. That makes me sound noble. Am I noble? After all of this thinking about who I am, I still point you to my initial description: A full time mother of three children who is attempting to be a writer.

Part I, called Assumptions is here.


jmb said...

It's very good to take stock of who you are in total sometimes. At this time of your life it is easy think of yourself as only a wife and stay at home mother with your writing ambitions.

But all those other things you listed are part of who you are. Sure, some of them are lying dormant at the moment, well maybe not dormant but in the background for now. But they'll come to the fore sooner or later.

I stayed at home for a total of 7 years with my two children, then venturing out to part time work during school hours only and finally when the youngest was 12 to full time. I loved and cared for my children very well, but I found those stay at home years quite difficult.
I remember saying in frustration at one time to my husband, a university professor of chemistry, "I'm just a reflection of you." He answered, "More like I'm just a reflection of you." I think he meant personalitywise of course since I am more outgoing than he is but I meant it in a more fundamental way.

My daughter has chosen another route in that she gave birth two days after her last day of work and
returned when her daughter was 4 months of age. This was due of course to the paucity of maternity leave in the USA. I couldn't have done this myself but support her in what she has chosen to do. She is a very good mother and neither she or her four year old seem to have suffered.
When you list what it takes to run a family, it's like being the CEO of a small business, but with no employees and doing everything yourself. I have always felt that this should be part of a resume. I remember being interviewed by some young fellow in personnel whose sum total of working experience was ~5 years and he said but you haven't worked in x years, I don't remember exactly. I really wanted to say, "what do you think I do all day, drink coffee and talk on the phone?"
However, let me tell you that when you retire you get viewed the same way as you talked about in Part 1.

Sarabeth said...

Thanks for the comments, jmb.

I am rarely frustrated about who I am currently. It is when incidents happen like I described in the Assumptions post and when I am asked for a short biography. It is the short length that is limiting.

My favorite bio was written by Phill:

Sarabeth Gordon is writing her first novel. She is also the principle caretaker of her mad scientist husband, three elven children and a white dragon named Ursa (who thinks she's a dog). On days when she is not writing romantic scenes, fleshing out plot lines or blogging; she is the president of a house corporation for a local sorority. She is a very busy person.

Much like what your husband said to you years ago, Phill often tells me that he could not be who is he without me.

Oh, grand. I get to rant at someone when I retire. Wait? Can you retire from being a mom?

jmb said...

It's really hard to sum yourself up in a short piece, isn't it? You can't put in everything but what is the most important? To you or to the other party?
But I think it was great that you did look at who you are now and were then and are satisfied with what you see.

You are only part way along life's journey, who knows where the path may lead. I look at how my life changed when at 45 I went to work in hospital pharmacy. There I found my niche.

You are lucky that Phill appreciates you and what you do.

Oh, no. You are always a Mom, you never get to stop worrying about them. I'll be the 90 year old worrying about my 60 year olds.

I meant that when you retire it's as if you don't count. You are treated kindly, usually, but as if your brain retired too, well by younger people.