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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Generation Gap

Hey all you bloggery-reader-folken! 


I was poked by Lyn Midnight yesterday (come to think of it, she did it again today) to get my ass in gear and write another blog. It's been... like... a week. Or something. *gasp*


People who follow my blog already know I'm random. I blog when the fancy hits me. I don't have a schedule I adhere to. (Mostly, so no flogging occurs). Plus, I don't want to be boring.

But a random thought did occur to me today.

Well, okay. Maybe not so much random as it's been bugging me for days and I finally want to discuss it. ;)

Not so random thought ----> GENERATION GAPS

My Mom and I weren't seeing eye to eye for the past month. No worries. Things have been straightened out. Words exchanged. Hugs given. It's all good now. (I hope!)

Here's the thing; I love her dearly and I could not live the life I do without her amazing help. She watches my kids three days a week so I have time to work on web banner ads (for my other life... I mean, job) and so I can write.


Care for some quiche?
She and I have a different perception of what it means to be a mom.

Sometimes, I think her view is something more akin to ---------> 

Which I know is ridiculous. I grew up with her. She's an artist with a myriad of paintings under her belt. She's accomplished in her own right. And to be honest, between you and me... she doesn't cook. ;)*

(Gods, she gonna kill me... LOL!)
What the hell do you wanna eat?

<---------------My idea of being a parent is more akin to...

I like my space. I like my kids to have independence. They have their own interests, as I have mine. Sometimes they collide and that's freakin' awesome. I'm not gonna hover. But I'm not gonna let them blow up the house, either.
(Thanks, MythBusters!)

While they are clearly a substantial aspect in my life, I don't define myself as only a mom. Of course, my kids are important. OF COURSE I would do anything within my grasp to help them.

But one thing I will NOT do, is give up my sense of self for them.

Carl Jung once stated:

“Nothing effects children any more than the unlived lives of their parents.”

And I couldn't agree more. Kids learn my imitation. They watch how the adults in their lives handle their lives. I want my kids to know they can BE ANYTHING, DO ANYTHING that they choose. Sometimes that means work. Sometimes, it means sacrifice. Sometimes, it even means setting aside the laptop and running through the sprinkler with them. It's all about balance.

How do you open the world up for them like that? Leading by example. 

Which is why I'm so diligent. Why I bust my ass on everything I do. Transformation happens in the day to day activities. It is NOT a future event. I'm acutely aware of that in every single moment. 

In our conversation, though, my Mom brought up the A word. No, not that one... "aspiring". She still thinks I'm aspiring to be an author. That I need to treat it as such. Right now, my push is and has been Pendomus. I won't lie. But I still workout. I still bring my son to T-ball. My daughter still gets to play at the park. We still eat. 

However, I'm no longer aspiring. I've written a damn book. 

I'm a firm believer that we shape our reality. We mold our possibilities. If I allowed myself to slip into the mindset of "aspiring author", I'm no longer in the role. I'm in the role of "aspiring". See the difference?

Which is why I've said it once and I'll say it again-----> I am an author. 

What do my kids want to be? As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limits. And I plan on being their example.

*ADDENDUM- My mother is, however, excellent at making lasagna. It's dripping with cheese to the point of lacking form. But it IS delicious. ;)


M.P. McDonald said...

I think you are setting a great example for your kids. After all, actions speak louder than words, and they can *see* your accomplishment and how hard you've worked for it. They may not say anything, but they know and it'll stick with them.

Amelia James said...

My SIL is a total momzilla. She has no life outside her kids. Drives me nuts. I love my daughter, but I love MY life too. My heart is big enough for both.

Carissa Elg said...

Exactly, Amelia! The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. I can love who I am, what I'm interested in AND them, too. ;) The way I show it may be a little different from my Mom, but in the end, we still love family.

@ MP ~ Thanks! I think they'll put up with me... ;) Neurosis and all.

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, Carissa. Very refreshing post - so truthful and honest. I really appreciated what you had to say.
With regard to posting, I'm now going with one a week, so I may spend more time visiting the blogs of others and, hopefully, getting more people to come by my own.
Right now my two boys (16 & 13) ignore what Ive been doing these past couple of years, mostly. I'm hoping that they will realize later just exactly what you were talking about: "living life and chasing dreams that are still possible". I think they will.
Take care,


Gina Blechman said...

Such a great post. My mother does the same thing. She'll be introducing me to a friend of hers or we'll be meeting with family we haven't seen in a while and they'll ask me about my life and my mother will but in and say "Gina WANTS to be a writer." or "Gina is trying to be an author." At which point I want to shake her and say "I don't want to be and am not trying to be a writer. I AM one, see?" But then I think about the agents who asked for second looks at my work but I still haven't heard back from, or my struggles with my latest manuscript, and I wonder "well, I could say that to her...but when she counters with 'but you're not published' what will I say?"


<3 Gina Blechman

KendallGrey said...

I can't stand "super moms." Sorry, but seriously, get a life. Hahaha!

You are dead right about needing to maintain your sense of identity *outside* of being a mom. The mom part is just one dimension of the big picture. You are an amalgamation of roles and each contributes to the whole. No one role should drive the entire train.

Regarding the "aspiring author" thing - I guess it's a matter of terminology. Personally, I think of an author as someone who's published and earns money from her writing. Therefore, I consider myself a "writer" for the time being. Again, it's all in how you define it, so make your own rules! :-)

Carissa Elg said...

Just to prove my point:

[aw-ther] Show IPA
a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist.

In comparison--> Would any of you say that a woman who is pregnant is not a mother? That she cannot claim that title until the baby is born? In many ways, her actions, while the child is in the womb, are even more paramount. If she smokes, drinks alcohol, works out, drinks water, etc... all those things will DIRECTLY affect the health and development of the child.

The same goes for authors, IMHO. The second you put your ideas down-- the moment you begin that journey, you are an author.

Now, just like the pregnant woman, there can be "poor" authors... You know the ones. They stop at the first page and never do anything. In essence, "aborting the child."

Others- like James, Gina, Kendall and myself... if you have a novel (or novels), even if they are not published, you are still an author.

If we want to be accepted as such, we first need to accept our role. Accept ourselves first and others will follow suit.

Anonymous said...

Great post!

I think I'm in the same camp as Kendall (even with the definition you provided). Because I write, I see myself as a writer. I'll consider the author title once I have a novel published.

I think it really is a terminology thing and the way each of us perceives it. I've had short stories published in the past but even in those, I feel like I 'wrote' them, not 'authored' them. I always equate authors to actual books.

cherie said...

Finally, I can comment! (had problems yesterday with my browser freezing up)

I love the honesty in this post, woman! You tell it like it is. We can be moms, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, etc. but we should never lose our sense of SELF. All too often we do lose sight of it because we feel there are expectations to be one label. Also GUILT is a major factor in how we see ourselves. That and the opinions of our peers. Even if we don't think others are judging us, WE WOMEN are constantly judging OURSELVES.

It's good to be reminded that just as we are responsible for our children's welfare, we are also responsible for our individualism. We are entitled to grow, learn, and pursue our dreams. We must have a sense of who we are; otherwise, we can't expect to fill our other roles if we don't even know who is the person inside our core.

It is easy to say these things, but a lot harder to act upon it. I know because I've done it too--putting ME aside so I can serve others. But I always go back to feeding my own soul because I get burnt out. It's ok to be a little selfish. To tell your kids NOT NOW. To have a moment to yourself.

They, your children and family, will survive. They will not be emotionally scarred if you take an hour for you.

TL Jeffcoat said...

I can't comment on what it is to be a mom, but I am a father of 2. I absolutely agree that you should pursue your dreams and let the kids see you do it.
As far as author goes, I agree with you Carissa. Once you write that last line you have become an author, not just a writer anymore. Short story or novel.
As far as being published, I think that's when I'll call myself a novelist. Since that's what I'll be publishing.

KendallGrey said...

Carissa, I respect your opinion, but I never considered myself a mother until I actually gave birth to my first kid. Up to that point, I felt like a host for a baby leech. Hahahaha! I refused Mother's Day cards because I didn't think of myself as a mother yet. Maybe I'm twisted and weird, but that's how I felt. It wasn't that I didn't love my little dude while he was still in utero -- I just felt I hadn't "earned" the title until I'd paid my dues, so to speak. :-)

To extend the analogy, I think any woman can be a mother, but being a "mom" is something entirely different, just as (in my opinion) being an author is very different from being a writer.

Again, it's all a matter of perspective. To me, becoming an author is an achievement BEYOND the simple writing of a book. Because really, anyone can write a book. Whether it's good enough to be published is what separates writers from authors, in my opinion. Same as having a great "mom" is different from having a "mother." There's heart in being a mom, but only biology in being a mother. A mom stands apart from all the mothers because of the extra special care she gives beyond what's required. I think you can be a mother but not a mom, just as you can be a writer but not an author.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this topic. No worries! I enjoy debating. :-)

Carissa Elg said...

LOL @ Kendall! I agree-- debating is FUN! It is all a matter of perspective... and, dare I say it... A generation gap? HA! I'm sure you're not a generation away, but you get the point. I think it's a matter of generational perspective here, too.

I considered myself a mother/mom the moment I was pregnant and acted accordingly. My actions could make or break how my children function (brain development, hormonally, physically) while I was pregnant. My actions ALONE mattered. So, I took that role just as seriously as I take writing.

Of course, there are good moms. Just as there are bad moms. No amount of arguing semantics will change that. ;)

I also think you can be an author and a writer simultaneously. Why not? I've authored a book - as yet to be published. But my craft is writing.

Don't I just make your brain hurt? I'm such as pain in the ass. LOL!

@Cherie~ Thanks for your comment, woman! We all revert back and forth in the multitude of rolls we carry. Sometimes, I'm crazy graphic designer me. Sometimes, I'm uber Mom. Sometimes, I like just being... me. Nothing but my natural curiosity and smartassiness. ;) And it's okay to switch back and forth.

@Tim ~ Hey, guys have the same problem! I'm glad you didn't let the term "mom" scare you away! Yay for having one more person on board with me!

Above all- I think you need to do what calls to you. What resonates with you. If that's calling yourself a writer until you've published, so be it. BUT- I challenge you this: Why do you hold onto that believe? Really look at it. Is it serving you, or holding you back? Neutral?

I love you guys!

Chris said...

This is actually a very common debate that is had within many artistic circles. But it still one worth having regardless of trade or context.

I find myself within this position twice over. I am a musician and a writer. I write music, I have played in bands before and have even played shows to a moderately sized crowd. No I do not earn money from my music, no I do not have an album available in stores for people to purchase. Does that make me NOT a musician? No it doesn't and the same goes for writing.

I have a pretty solid idea for a novel but I haven't started writing it yet. Ok, with that in mind I can agree with the "I'm a writer not an author" position. However, I write book reviews for a popular genre website (to clarify, it is not my website so the argument of "just cause you blog reviews, etc. doesn't mean you're an author"). I was hired by the administrator of the site to write reviews. I don't get paid but I get free books, same thing essentially since I would be spending my own money on these books anyway.

Since in that light I am 'published', is that what would make me an author or just the simple fact that I write. This concept is global in the art world and the same pretexts should apply. An artist is an artist whether they have 'made it' or not. Heck, not 'making it' is the mark or a 'true' artist right?

Carissa Elg said...

Awesome comment, Chris! I think you are spot on! The same rules apply to all artistic genres. It's like there is a built in prejudice that if you haven't been acknowledged by something outside yourself, you can't claim a title.

Where does that really stem from? Why do we feel this mentality is needed or appropriate?

In many ways, "not making it" IS the mark of true art. It inspires beyond the confines of the moment. Often, it isn't even understood until much later. (Thus the artist is usually dead before recognized for their genius.)

Additionally, they did what they felt they should- despite that. ;)

T.S. Welti said...

I'm going to agree with Carissa and TL. This is the reason I only have one Twitter list for writers entitled "Authors". If you continent to see yourself and your fellow authors as "aspiring" you are doing yourself and others a disservice. I would rather give someone a lift than step on their hands as they're climbing. That's my two cents.

As for parenting, I'm definitely no super mom, but I do it all in my own and I have since the day my daughter was born. I think I've done a pretty good job too considering my daughter is in three honors classes, plays two instruments, and is learning three languages now. Sorry, I had to brag a little about my awesome kid. :)

T.S. Welti said...

Damn Autocorrect! That's supposed to say "continue" not "continent". :-/

Carissa Elg said...

Heck, yes Tania! Brag away! Your daughter sounds amazing!

LOL at the autocorrect. It gets me all the damn time, too. HA!

Thanks for your comment. I really think there needs to be a switch in perceptions (it's happening already anyway). There's no reason we can't lift each other up, lift ourselves up for our efforts and take stock of our accomplishments.

Lyn Midnight said...

See? I TOLD you so.

Anyway, lol, I see two string-debates going on and I'm interested in both. But first of all: THAT'S THE BEST GODDAM POST I'VE READ THIS MONTH! Teehee.

I'm thinking about mums this summer more than usual because I'm staying home with MY mum. (She doesn't cook either.) However, HER mum is impossible. However, I suppose every mum sets an example for their kids (I loved the Jung ref) and usually, we end up setting the same examples as our own mothers, so it's a wicked circle (mostly).

I loved what you had to say about the example you give your kids. Very inspirational. I have promised myself to do the same with mine one day. ^_^

As for the aspiring writer thing, it seems to be a hotspot with everyone. I've always said I'm a damn writer because that's what I do: I write. I've sometimes added aspiring when I've seen others do it (bad idea). As for author... hmm, to me an author is a published writer. I mean, everyone has different ideas about that, right? So that's mine.

I guess that's my comment for now. I'm a bit tired of a long day so I REALLY appreciated this breath of fresh air (esp. when it's so hot I feel like I can toast an egg on my leg). :D

Anita Grace Howard said...

Haha! Love me some Pink. And no wonder you're so artistically gifted w/a mom who's a painter. WOW!

I love this line: “Nothing effects children any more than the unlived lives of their parents.”

What a great quote! You gotta walk the walk, baby. Not just talk it. Right?

Great post! Kudos on ol' Lyn for poking you. Hee