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Ruth Mason

Ruth Mason

Since the birth of her first child, writing about children has been Ruth's hobby, passion and profession. An award-winning journalist, she has published in Parents Magazine, Family Circle, Woman's Day and many other national and local publications. She has worked as a child-care worker, newspaper reporter, 60's activist and farmer. Ruth is married plus three, and is a certified parent educator and infant massage instructor. during the year 1999-2000 she was the director of the WholeFamily Parent Center.

Imagine a place where babies don't cry and children never fight. Jean Liedloff found such a place. She spent a total of two-and-a-half years living with the Yequana Indians in the Venezuelan jungles. She describes them as an isolated Stone Age tribe, yet, on every measure of well being that she could think of, Liedloff found the Yequana to be better off than Westerners. After babyhood, Yequana parents and other adults don't initiate contact or activity with their children but are readily available when the children need them.

When my first child was born 15 years ago, I phoned my editor at the Elizabeth Daily Journal where I had worked as a staff writer and said, "Rich. I just can't come back." He understood, expected it even. I began freelancing at home, working part time, fitting my schedule around my kids' needs. "If, as many women, you feel guilty and feel you have to overcompensate for the time you are not catering to your children, you should probably be working on that rather than how to fit everything into your daily schedule.

"Increasing numbers of women are discovering a great male secret - that work can be an escape from the pressures of home..." What's wrong with this picture? Our eight-year-old has been home with a mild case of chicken pox for the past couple of days. I stayed home from work the first day and today, my husband took off. I've been needing to put in some extra hours at work and Bob agreed that today I could stay late. As I walked to the bus stop this morning, I felt a small sense of elation.
Let's make one thing clear right from the start. ALL moms are working moms. This community, however, is devoted to mothers who work outside the home. We face many challenges that are different from those faced by stay-at-home moms or moms who work at home. Hopefully, we'll soon have communities for these groups too. We are at the crest of a great wave of social change. For the first time in history, a majority of mothers are working at jobs outside their homes. At the same time, most of us are still primarily responsible for what goes on in the home. No wonder we're overwhelmed and stressed out! Until flex-time, reasonable parental leave policies and a more equitable sharing of responsibilities at home become realities, we working moms will be spending too much energy juggling too many responsibilities.

I've held a lot of challenging jobs in my life including farmer, teacher, soldier, police reporter and waitress. But the difficulties of all those jobs combined don't hold a candle to the constant, daily challenge of being a parent. I wanted to have kids for as long as I can remember. I baby-sat and took care of young nieces and nephews from an early age. I loved my jobs as camp counselor and youth group leader. So I thought I knew what children were all about. And maybe I did. But being a mother threw me for a loop. Babyhood was a breeze. Somehow, I knew just what to do and I loved doing it.

My 16-Year-Old Is Nasty and Wants Nothing to Do with Me

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