“I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn’t have to choose. And I believe that’s always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately.” -Erica Jong
Mother’s Day weekend left me thinking about my life choice of putting my role as Mother first during my early working years. Not to suggest I regret making it a priority versus a career, which I don’t. As often happens when I am mulling over something I start to research online, looking for what others have expressed about it, and I came across an interesting series of articles in The Atlantic called The Ambition Interviews that tracked the careers of a group a women who graduated from Northwestern University in 1993. The authors wanted to find out how their sorority sisters career ambitions had played out in reality 20 years after graduating. They found that their cohorts divided into 3 groups after they started having children, the High Achievers, the Scale Backers, and the Opt Outers. The High Achievers maintained a consistent trajectory of career success continuing to work at their careers full-time, the Scale Backers chose to work less or take on less demanding jobs to have the flexibility of schedule they desired for their lives and families, the Opt Outers chose to leave the work force to be able to be full-time parents. In the articles they discuss all the factors that contributed to the women’s decisions. What struck me is the experiences of these women was similar to mine in many ways and I think many of my Nursing class of 1974. We were in the Nursing baccalaureate program at the University of California in San Francisco and were told we were to be the leaders in our profession. Out of the 37 members of my class that attended our 25th reunion, there was a group of High Achievers who stayed in Nursing careers at a high level, in the military or other areas, went on for graduate degrees, and some became doctors or lawyers. Many of us would fit into Scale Backers in that we chose jobs that were less demanding or more flexible so we could be available to our kids. When my son was born, I decided to opt out and be a full-time parent. This lasted for 8 years and included the addition of a second child, my daughter. Like women in the Ambition Interviews who opted out, I had thought I would continue working but when my son was born I decided I did not want to leave him, as some of the women in the series that had “a physical and emotional bond with their new children that they simply couldn’t reconcile with going back to work,” my Nursing job was not appealing enough for me to choose it over him. My husband was willing to support us. Some couples in The Ambition Interviews decided that the husband would be the stay at home parent or would be the one who Scaled Back and assumed the larger share of child care. I became a Scale Backer when I re-entered the workforce after 8 years but chose part-time at a hospital and then in Home Health. Like the Scale Backers in The Atlantic series, I found it difficult to balance work and motherhood. I worked a lot of weekends to cut down on child care. I felt very stressed rushing through work to get to the school in time to pick up my kids or get them to appointments. It was stressful to leave them when they were sick. It was stressful to find adequate after school childcare with long enough hours to cover my work hours. I missed out on being involved in my children’s schools because of work and I missed out on career advancement and even work friendships because I worked part-time. My ambition did not completely die out. It was isolating to be at home and I did get restless at times. I re-entered full-time work after my kids were older. I went back to work after cancer. I attempted a complete career change at 60. One of my fellow students in the Teacher Credential program questioned why I wanted to pursue a new career after Nursing. Another said I was an “Over Achiever.” It was more like an “Older Achiever.” Why shouldn’t we be allowed to go on learning and achieving no matter what age. Like the women in the series who chose to Scale Back or Opt Out of their careers, I found I was not able to step back into a career path in later years. Now I have come to have a whole new perspective on my relationship to work. I wonder if we can really combine all the aspects of our selves ideally. Even though I may have missed some opportunities, I know my work does not define me or my self-worth. I find career ambition does not play a part in my life any more. I am in a reflective period and some of my ambitions right now involve tutoring, getting rid of weeds, aphids, and volunteer trees, getting reacquainted with myself, writing, and learning to be a grandmother.
My Nursing School class
UCSF Nursing Graduation
Us 25 years later
I know the images are a little blurry, like when I look back into the past, and I think it protects privacy as well.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”-Albert Einstein
Don’t assume because someone is older they have nothing to teach you. And don’t assume because you are older you are incapable of learning new things.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of Owl by Gellinger on Pixabay.com
” You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured Image ‘ Beach, Pacific Coastline’ by Roger Mosley on Pixabay.com
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”-Pablo Neruda
I have noticed that some of my rose bushes in the front yard are under aphid attack. I was busy pruning when I noticed a lady bug on one of the leaves. It was a bright red one with black polka dots. I stood there admiring it for several minutes and I said hello and thank you. I was thinking if a neighbor heard me talking to the lady bug they would think I was a bit crazy. I took the ladybug as a sign of hope.
Lady bug on a leaf by Alvesgaspar
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.
“You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on… So it’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”
― Elon Musk
That would be the scary part, living in a dome with no air to breath outside. NASA has been funding studies on how humans would tolerate living on Mars by recreating a similar environment on Earth. Do you think we could really live on Mars?
It is argued that life on Earth may be destroyed by an asteroid impact and we need to find other planets to live on to ensure that man will survive. It would be a good idea to work on ways to prevent asteroids from hitting Earth. Maybe that should be the priority. There is the argument that this is about science and some say there is a wealth of resources on other planets, moons, and asteroids. The science part interests me most.
On a lighter note, will we have Mars Bars on Mars? This is making me hungry. Not sure about Deep Fried Mars Bars, though. I like frozen candy bars better.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image taken by Mars MRO Orbiter, NASA, of ‘Yardangs‘ or sand dune formations created by wind.
“To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.” -Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Martian Dust Devil Action Gale Crater, Sol 1597
Isn’t that a great Gif from NASA? There is wind on Mars. It is wonderful that we have the technology to capture images from another planet.
Speaking of technology, my new App has been working pretty well up until now. I take a photo of the plant/bush/tree that I want to identify and the App sends me several images of different plants/bushes/trees to see if there is a match. If I do not see a match, I can ask The Horticulturist. I then submit 3 photos of the mystery plant and The Horticulturist will get back to me within 24 hours with an answer. This was all going swimmingly until the App couldn’t identify one of my bush/trees.
I need to trim some of the branches off the bottom of this tree. I do remember being told in the past it is a Manzanita. I have been researching, and it matches better with a Toyon or Christmas Berry or California Holly. This would make it a native of California, drought tolerant, and good for bees and birds. It gets red berries in winter. The birds and squirrels like to eat the berries. It is quite comical to see the squirrels hanging upside down off the branches munching on the berries. After researching
a lot some more, I think I have found it, Eureka! It is not a Manzanita, it is not a Toyon or Christmas Berry, it is a Firethorn or Pyracantha. The App probably had a hard time identifying it because it has not flowered yet, although it has some little buds, and no berries yet. I was so focused on the leaves and buds that I did not notice it does have some thorns on the branches. Some of thorns are hidden behind the leaves and they are very sharp. It was hard to capture a clear image of the thorns but I included a few below. I noticed that it is getting a couple of pretty white flowers up on a higher branch, and there is this cotton-y stuff scattered around some of the branches. It is not a native of California but it is hardy and drought tolerant.
Sharp thorn near leaf, center of branch
Sharp thorn about halfway on center branch
Branches have a pretty color
Cotton-y stuff on branch is sign of woolly apple aphids
I found out about the cotton-y stuff on a few branches, and it is good it is few and far between because it is a sign of the woolly apple aphid. The aphids usually do not become a major problem thanks to natural predators like some wasps, lady bugs, syrphid flies or hover flies, earwigs, and lace wings. I saw some flying wasp-y looking insects around the tree this morning and hope they are after the aphids. And I have noticed lots of earwigs in our yard. I have to keep watch for aphid mummies, which is what happens when the wasps attack the aphids. Between those spiky thorns and the aphid mummies this is getting a little scary. But I am liking earwigs more.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. It is a nice way to meet up with other bloggers. Click on the link to check out her site.
“They know, they just know where to grow, how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants, they just know, and therefore, I’ve concluded weeds must have brains.”
~ Dianne Benson, Dirt, 1994.
There are many trees, bushes, and plants in our backyard whose true identity is a mystery to me. They were already here when we bought this house or have sprung up as volunteers. Up until now I have not paid them much attention. I have used the internet to successfully identify some of my succulents, cacti, and clover-like ground cover, ( aka Wood Sorrel). I mentioned my search to my daughter and she told me I could get an App for my phone, take photos of the plant/tree, and get it identified. I was a bit frustrated in my first attempts using the App. But yesterday I asked the opinion of The Horticulturist, a feature of the App, and got the answer. I was really off on the wrong track in my identification of some of the bushes. I thought they were Chokecherry. I got off on a tangent with the Chokecherry. It has a long history in North America and strong ties to Native Americans who harvested the cherries. Turns out they are not Chokecherry and they are two separate species. One is Heavenly Bamboo and the other Brazilian Pepper. We have a large Brazilian Pepper at the front of our house as do other neighbors. I have always liked the Pepper Tree in front. I knew it was a Pepper Tree but the one in the backyard looks more like a thicket or bush. It probably volunteered in our backyard with the help of birds who eat the peppers and then spread the seeds to other locations. The Heavenly Bamboo was probably spread by the birds as well because there are two smaller bushes of it in other locations in our yard. Now we have to figure out what to do with the Pepper trees because it can be invasive and I don’t want a backyard full of them. At least the Heavenly Bamboo is not invasive. 🙂
Note the reddish stems and leaves
A few peppers on Brazilian Pepper
Heavenly Bamboo berries hiding behind leaves and branches
Other Heavenly Bamboo in yard
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.