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job rant and response on moms raising boys

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2005 @ 9:55 am
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First of all I have to get out of this company. While there are some good things about this place, the bad are starting to outweigh the good. While they are generally flexible most of the time about my needing time off, if I know ahead of time, and have been relativley decent about some other things, they are starting to also become a bit to Orwellian for my taste. I cannot and will not work in a cube that is devoid of personal touches, where I cannot move things to the place where they work best for me, where I cannot put up things I find of use in my job, even if others don't. I find this sudden need to make all cubes identical (except of course supervisors' cubes as they still get to have all the personal chatchkas they want), and restricting us to one drawer each and now even though some of use have personal chairs and other special items that are set certain ways because of physical needs, we no longer get to keep these items but have to share them.

Why?? Because our industrious leader failed to plan for expansion. So we have more employees than space for them, and more cubes needed than room for them. So instead of letting full timers have thier own space to do as needed with, adn letting the part-timers share since many of them are only here a few hours aweek anyway. They have decided to take 1984 to heart and make everyone have everything identical. A small row of cubes have been set up for those who need special ergonomic adjustments such as keyboard trays etc.. but instead of keeping my wrist rest at my desk where I can find it, I have to pool it with the others, and my chair which I have set perfectly for my back and legs will no longer be my personal chair but will be shared, so each day I will have to waste time setting to the right hieght, tilt and so on. (Of course supervisors aren't lowered to this, they are better than us peons, or is the pee - ons).

I doubt it will work. Most cubes were never assigned, but human beings tend to be creatures of habit. Almost all full timer sit in the same cube daily by habit, items get put up and set up certain ways because they expect to find things in certain places and they put it there because it works best for them. We are also human beings with feelings and needs, if we are going to spend 40 + hours a week in a place homey touches (photos of loved ones, doo dads, chatckes, etc) make the place a little more bearable, and more personble. It also leads people to feel more comfortable and in a better mood, which in turn makes for much better customer service, than some bitter old hag in a plain walled cube who hates her job. While some people don't mind stark empty instituional places, I for one prefer to feel like I belong, like it is home since I do have to spend a large part of my life here.

Many full timers are not happy at all. I think they will find, that this Orewllian move to try and improve productivity is going to backfire. A happy employee is a productive employee, a disgruntled and unhappy employee however is more than just non productive they are an employers worst nightmare if they are not careful. And if they aren't careful many of thier best workers such as me will be more than happy to step up our efforts to find employment elsewhere, where we will be more appreciated, and not treated as a commodity to use up and toss out and replace like an office supply. Of course the people running the show all have nice large offices full of homey touches and personal items, so they are removed from us pee-ons and most likely haven't a foggy clue.

Okay now that I am done ranting about work, I want to respond to a long thoughtful post left by a reader in response to what I wrote about in my previous entry.

First... this is NOT a sexist comment
I didn't take it that way..
I think it's important to have a male figure in a teen boy's life because boys are "stretching their muscles" at that age. They will push the boundaries and sometimes a man (only because we tend to push back a little stronger) can help them find those boundaries a little quicker.
I agree that boys need positive male role models, just like girls growing up with single dads also need positive female role models to set a good example of how to be a woman. Pushing boundries and testing limits is a normal part of any teenager's life, be they male or female. While I definately set limits and am not afraid to stand up to my son, who while annoying at times, is also clearly a good kid, with a good heart who cares.

He does have several males in his life to set a good example. He has been lucky in that he has had mostly male teachers, a male P*doc (who is really cool), a male councilor who he really seems to like and who I really respect, and a male teacher for his BASE room. He also has father, unfortunately while his father still tries to be part of his life and does have some good qualities he also tends to be an example of how not to be a man (coping with emotions thru substance abuse, displaying anger thru yelling and occasional physical violence, disregaard for the law, inablity to hold a job etc...). I am trying to find good male role models for my son, and so far I think he has quite a few.

I am not dating or even interested in anyone, and have no plans to look for anyone. The last thing my son needs is yet somebody else to jump in the family mess. He also has my brother, though he doesn't get to spend much time with him, who sets a good example of treating people right, holding a job, fullfilling obligations, going on when the going is tough and so on. By standing up to my son, and by showing him how women like to be treated I am doing him a good favor by preparing him for the real world, and teaching him how womebn like to be treated and that we are equal in brains, ability and human rights. Believe me I am not one of those mothers whose son can walk all over her. When I say no to something it is the end of discussion, though I will on some occasions be willing to negotiate as that is a valuable skill everyone needs to learn. (There is also a Big Brother/Big Sister program here, but the list for boys is so long, Warren would be a big brother by the time his name came up, there just aren't enough men volunteering).

Teen boys will take advantage of mom if they can by certain methods of intimidation. Their size, physical strength, etc., can play a part in this. The girls at school and smaller boys help to propagate this growing image of themselves. They all think they have the world by the tail, but an uncle or adult male friend can help put this into perspective.
And as a former teenage girl, I can tell you girls will sometimes use their feminine ways to pull the same thing on dad, and sometimes if they are lucky other boys as well. But most are above such things or learn better ways. While Warren is one of the largest boys in his class and he sometimes talks a tough game, but underneath it he is still a very soft hearted kid.

He has never been in a fight unless it was started by someone else and he was forced to defend himself. He has never been in a fight in school, or actually hit anyone, most of his fighting has been just wrestling type fighting, which I believe to be normal for boys (I grew up the only daughter with a brother, several male cousins close by, numerous uncles, and most of my friends when I was a child were boys, not to mention several years with his father and his friends hanging around, I am well acquainted with the male mind.)

Warren is also a very popular and well liked kid, who many kids seem to look up to. In his previous classroom he was the example setter and the leader the other kids looked up to a role he took seriously, and often helped keep the other kids in line by nature of example and letting them know that things like being gross at the lunch table were not appreciated and did not impress him. He loves being looked up to, and posseses qualities of a natural leader, he also enjoys helping other kids and learns more by teaching others than by more tradional methods.

I realize I haven't mentioned a lot of this in my diary before so most readers would have no way of knowing this. He currently looks at his father and realizes this is the wrong path. He has stated many times that he doesn't wish to follow this path as he can see what it has done to him and me, and also to others. He has no desire to try drugs or anything else (hopefully this will stick when he is 16 and kids are shoving it in his face), and I am not overly worried as he tends to be a strong kid who doesn't care to impress others and doesn't try to make people like him, they just naturally do. A quality I want to preserve forever. He has a strong sense of who he is and what he will and will not do.

Growling at mom, or being disprepectful is a way of pushing their boundaries. If they are allowed to continue they will believe that bullying women is an acceptable way of getting their own way. Previously "good boys" are not immune to this.
This can happen, sometimes even when the kid has good parent (or parents), and sometimes kids with bad parenting turn out wonderful. However as a rule if kids are taught and shown that certain behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated they tend to learn not to use those behaviors, especially if the people around them set an example of the appropriate way to obtian goals and desires and also the way to cope with not getting what one wants as well. When my son does try on his bullying act, he quickly find out that it doesn't work on me. I stood up to my 6foot plus younger brother as well as my over 6ft ex and I will not back down from a 12 year old with a 16 year old attitude.

When he see's that certain behaviors will not be tolerated or accepted most will quickly learn to not use those behaviors. That isn't to say he doens't need men in his life to show him how to act like a man, or to better relate from a man's point of view and who know what it is like to be a boy, on that I totally agree.

But I feel that a woman can raise a boy and not have him turn out to be anything other than a happy successful man. It is not easy, and certainly not a picnic in the park but it can and has been successfully done. Granted it is not a job done totally alone, doctors, teachers, councilors, uncles, neighbors, friends, fathers if they are a part of the child's life or not (either by example or by lack of it) all play an important role in how a child turns out as well as the mother who will always be main example to the child of how to be a person. Most of the time when boys start getting away with using growling and intimidation it is because the mother either doesn't speak guy, or she is afraid or has too much guilt and doesnt' realize that her son needs her to stand up to him and make it clear in no uncertain terms that he needs to knock it off, while still respecting him as a person and not making him feel like there is something wrong with him because he is trying a new behavior that he may have seen elsewhere or which may seem to come naturally.

In my opinion to raise a boy means one has to be tough and loving at the same time, which can be hard. IT is a balance between being tough with out being dictatorial and aloof, yet loving with out smothering and over protecting the child. It also means talking to others and understanding that males do not always react the same way I as a female would expect someone to react to a certain situation, and respecting that as a male he is wired to think differently and react differently to things than I might, and faces a different set of expectations in school and the world at large. It would not be fair or right for me to expect him to act like a female, nor would it be right for me to try and over protect and pamper him, he is a rough and tumble kid, and I being a former one myself have no trouble with respecting that. (I'm the type of female who considers being called girly to be an insult, yet I am totally straight and hetero) It is not easy, it can be a bumpy ride, but I think it is well worth the price of admission, and all the obstacles and unexpected stops along the way, because the ride is great and the prize at the end makes it all worth it.

Any other single parents (former or current) or anyone else have anything to add? Please comment, I would love to get your input on this, it is a subject I find quite interesting and obviously one I have a lot at stake in.

Then there is also the subject of single parents raising children of the same sex and providing them with positive role models of the opposite sex.

All appropriate and respectful comments will be welcome.


Prequels ~ Sequels

Daily Dumbass: Apparently somebody mistook 1984 as a how to book, instead of a warning
Thankful For: Thoughtful readers - force me to think a bit
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In every neighborhood there is at least one house that all the neighbors gossip about. This is a diary from the woman who lives in that house. I am a single mother in her mid thirties. I live in North Dakota with my son, Warren.

I tend to be a bit of a slob, and am the opposite of a girly-girl. I am geek girl, who loves Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Buffy, Angel, action movies, science fiction, action adventure, Dr. Who, and so on and so on.

I love to write and while I don't post much fiction online anymore I would love to be a writer someday. I am also overweight, bipolar and suffer from allergy induced asthma.