Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Julie London and C-Span

What could the two of these possibly have in common? As I sit writing this post, I am listening to Julie London, (Oh, gawd, do I love torch singers), up next is Billie Holiday: The Lady in Autumn (the best of the Verve years) and to finish off Judy Garland: The Definitive Collection. Okay so you are wondering where the heck is she going with this? And what on earth does it have to do with C-Span?
As many of you may have heard me comment sweet Ronnie is a C-Span junkie. There is good information no doubt and excellent coverage of politics but on the weekends we have Book TV. Now don't think less of me but I can only take in so much intelligence at one time. After a few hours, it all begins to sound like blah, blah, blah.
However, this weekend Ronnie got my head out of preparing for filming to watch the author of The Feminine obvious pun of The Feminine Mystique. To the point, the author is taking us to task for not taking better care of ourselves financially. Young girls are still being fed the Prince Charming story and then when he walks in years later and says I want a divorce......yikes, they are left with nothing. Worse yet they can't get back into the job market even if they have advanced degrees, like lawyer, doctor, scientist because they haven't practiced their craft even part time while caring for hubby and kids.
This has apparently caused the author to be practically mugged in the streets by what was referred to as the "mommy wars." Briefly, if you are a stay at home mom you are somehow a better mom than a working mom. Working moms aren't there for their children and are selfish for wanting an identity other than Suzy's mom or Joe's wife.
However, all the author is really saying is follow the money. Know what your financial assets are and possibly, just possibly do something that will allow you to support yourself in case Dad get ill, walks out or worse dies leaving you in the dark.
Stay with me....I'm getting to the crust of the biscuit. As I listen to these women singing these great songs, I realize some of them came out well....Julie London....some of them ended badly....Billie Holiday and Judy Garland. The only difference I can see is who was in charge of their careers. Bobby Troup produced, wrote for and managed Julie's career...always with her best interest....departing the world before she, he left her very well off but not just because of his management but his respect for her immeasurable talent. Billie and Judy got in with a bad lot early on...mostly men and ended badly.
This got me thinking how quiltmaking has empowered women to take charge of our own careers. My business in solely in my name; Ronnie's assets are in both our dummy me? Of course, Texas is a community property state so we would end up in some byzantine financial settlement.....but none the less, Texas favors women by and large.
Now since his retirement, there is a major focus on my business......but then there has been for 15 years. Our lives ran around Mom's schedule not Dad's. Our sons were brought with the role model of an egalitarian marriage. Where what mom did was just as important as what dad did.
Please don't misunderstand this diatribe. If you want to be a stay at home mom, god bless you, it isn't an easy job......but protect yourself. Keep your finger in the pie from home like our fearless leader, Diane. Work three days a week while the kidlets are in school. But know that he who has the gold rules so keep the playing field even.
Don't avoid going to the broker when your husband visits....know all the bank accounts, investments, real estate and get your name on all of it.
Don't be like my mom who couldn't even balance her own check book, which fell to me to teach her when my dad died at 63.
And hey, dad's validate your daughters to this kind of thinking instead of some man will always come along to rescue you. Having been married more than once, supporting children and myself, I own a true debt of respect to my father who made me work in his office every summer. Back before computers, I had to do all the payroll, bookkeeping, deal with suppliers and prepare bids.
I was 14 years old.....thanks dad...I am still better with other people's money than my own but I know how should the moment strike me.
If you have made it this far, congratulations on your fortitude. The moral of the story is whatever your choice is take care of yourself.....and if you happen to have something you love, which for me is quiltmaking (since I can't sing like Julie London), explore all the options for creating your own business. I highly recommend Alyson Stansfield as a business coach....she offers a variety of classes from self-promotion to organization.
Quiltmaking is still a female dominated field.....let's try to stay on top of that and build enterprises that serve our community.
Off soap box and back to preparing for filming.


Karoda said...

girl, this post makes me wanna drink gin straight and warm, suck on pig feet bones and spit! And I don't eat pig feet or drink anymore (or very little) way of saying I'm down with this post and still suffering from the indiscretions of my youth.

Teri said...

You are totally right about 'keeping your finger in the pie" My mother was a working mother. When she got home, she was too tired to have any fun with my brother and I. I remember my babysitter fondly. But on the other side, my father got ill with heart disease in his early 30's and was eventually unable to work, and he died at age 40 If it wasn't for my mother having a skill and a good job, I don't know what would have happened to us. She kept a roof over our heads.
I worked until my son was 11 months. Then I stayed home with my kids until they were in their early teens. My mother had died by then, and I kept remembering how she kept the family going. I went back to work part time, and I still work now, because you never know when something will happen, and I am not going to be caught unprepared. I think parents should plan their jobs so they can be with their children, but they should always have something to fall back on just in case.

atet said...

You are preaching to the choir here. I love my daughter. I'm a better mother because I do (if I can find a new job soon) work outside of the home. If I were home all day, I would make everyone around me nuts. Including me. I have to know that I can take care of myself. And yep, I'm probably the only one in the family who does know where all the money is :0).