Thursday, October 15, 2009

thinking women

recently i was part of an evening workshop where about 20 participants were asked to identify 5 different groups that we identify with. we wrote them down and then went around the circle and read the 5 identifiers. i identified as a mom, woman, creative, jew and friend. the most common answer was parent. others included groups based on religion, gender, scholastic achievement, race, marital status, career.

in the second go around we were asked to explain a time when we were proud to be part of one of the groups. i told the story, and actually got very emotional, about zach growing into such a good and kind person and how much i enjoy watching him grow up. there were a few more proud parent stories and one extremely painful story about a premature birth and how proud this woman was of the challenges her baby overcame. then we heard a lot of anecdotes about academic success and professional success. the third time around the circle proved more challenging for some. we needed to recall a time when we weren't proud to be part of one of our groups. we heard stories about race and some parenting challenges. my "not proud" thoughts were not clear and then the group came to me. women.

i am not proud to be identified as a woman when i meet smart women who have stopped thinking. there seems to be a few reasons why this happens: got married and don't need to work or stayed home to take care of the kids. please don't think i'm passing judgement - i stayed home with zach for 5 years and loved every minute. i was definitely the mommy in the sand box and had the play date house. but i think i loved it as much as i did because i also had interests in my life that had nothing to do with zach or my then husband.

wwcd: have a little part of your life that's just yours. have that part also need you to think. it's not about having a job. you could join a reading group, have a standing scrabble game with friends, volunteer your time for a meaningful cause, take a class, start a business. you'll challenge yourself in ways your children don't and feel something that no one can give you, but you.


  1. This exercise is so interesting and has a lot to do with context. We did this in SEED for years...For me it was always deep, not just because we see ourselves in new ways, but because there is so much trust revealed as we speak to one another about what is so often trivialized or hidden. In order to function we put away or caricature our affinities and our shame...

    FYI: Your wwcd suggestion is just as important for working women.

  2. and sarah, your SEED facilitator DJ-S was the person running this too! and yes i agree -- it's just as important for working women.