March 18, 2008

PW in Costa Rica

Purple WomenTM travel. They don't have to wait for spring break or summer vacation. They can go to Costa Rica during the peak season (now ending). If you go "high-end", you are almost assured a kid-free experience. We tend to avoid places that advertise themselves as "family-friendly", not that I mind a little interaction with the younger set now and again.

Thanks to LauraS for putting up the posts while my husband and I were commemorating out 10th anniversary of marriage in this tropical locale. I highly recommend Costa Rica, as many of our friends did for us. Whether your high is zip-lining, sport fishing or birding or just sunning yourself by the pool and sampling the local cuisine, you will appreciate the jungle remoteness with all the amenities. One night a baby boa constrictor landed on a tree branch in full view of our dinner table, close enough that we got pictures!

Costa Rica has one of the most stable economies in all of South America. They have a thriving middle class, and the government subsidizes their tourism industry by offering mandatory standardized training in preparation for this field. English is compulsory at the high school level, so it is really up to individual if they really want to learn. We were vacationing right alongside Costa Ricans. They are wealthy enough to enjoy their own tourist offerings.

When I thought it was all over, (life is just one big adventure, eh?) and we were just killing time at the San Jose Airport, I saw this pin exchange display offered by a bank along with their money exchange service. I traded a Purple Women
TM button for a Costa Rica one. What fun!

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March 17, 2008

Can We Have It All?

This week I caught an episode of TLC’s reality show The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom.

A mother of two pretends she is on a mom’s spa trip when, in fact, she is living her fantasy as a chef in one of L.A.’s top restaurants. While her husband is taking care the of the kids, she is testing her skills in the presence of the top food critics in Los Angeles—reclaiming her dream to be a top chef. At the end of her secret week, she is given the choice between taking the opportunity to be a full-time chef at Chocolat, one of L.A.’s premier dining spots, or to go home and resume her life as a full-time mom.

What does she choose?

Despite her husband’s verbal and whole-hearted support of whatever choice she makes, and with consideration of the financial implications of living solely on a chef’s salary, she tearfully chooses to remain a stay-at-home mom.

The 70’s feminist part of me shakes her head and wonders, have we regressed to Ozzie and Harriet days?

The childless by choice part of me understands.

I, too, chose between a career and children. It was a relatively easy choice for me, because I had difficulty imagining myself as a mom. But what if you had two young ones at home and part of your identity, and being, hinged on being the Mom you always wanted to be, and the other part hinged on accomplishing the goals you set for yourself prior to becoming a mom?

What would you do?

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March 07, 2008

A Paternal Instinct?

During my research for the Childless by Choice Project, I interviewed partnered and married childless and childfree men and I asked them, "Do you think there is such a thing as a paternal instinct?"

The responses were varied, but to paraphrase the majority of the men I interviewed, the response was: "If there is, I haven’t got it."

Beyond the anecdotel comes evidence from a major study conducted in the U.K. reported by The Daily Telegraph in Australia this past December, in an article titled For Dads, Happiness is No Kids.

Following is the full article:

The patter of tiny feet has long been thought of as the key to happiness. But according to a study, having children makes men less satisfied with their life, while women only enjoy motherhood once their offspring are packed off to school.

Between the ages of three and five, children made mothers less satisfied with life, while being the father of a child under five "significantly reduces"' life satisfaction.

Women with children aged five to 15 were happier than those who did not have children. Even children of school age brought no increase or decrease in happiness for men.

The study, carried out by the Institute for Social & Economic Research in Colchester, England, surveyed nearly 4000 couples between 1996 and 2003.

A caveat: I have not seen the original study. However, this rings true to me, based on my interviews.

What do you think?

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