Thursday, May 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 10 – Boy Antics, the NY Times, Once in a Lifetime, and He Stands!

It’s been awhile since I’ve come a-quick-takin’.  Busy, busy, busy!  But here I am!  Happy to be here!


One of the things I worry about a lot as a mom is whether I am doing enough to instill faith in my children.  How do you raise faithful Catholic children?  And, how oh how, do you survive the teenage years? 

I found these articles here and here to have some good thoughts.

The first article comes from a mom of eight, and she expands on the three rules she followed to raise her kids in the faith: (i) Moral formation is the top priority, (ii) What I teach must make sense, and (iii) Nothing is off limits for discussion.  Some good stuff here.

The second article focuses on the top 10 mistakes that Christian parents make with their teenagers.  Also, some good stuff here. 

Sorry to be so link-driven, but these things stress me out, BIG TIME, and I just feel like I have no practical experience draw from (my teenage and college years were not exactly brimming with Catholic fervor).  For those of you who felt like you came through the teenage and college years with your faith in tact, how did you do it?  What did your parents do to help or hinder your faith development?  I know I have some time before my kids get to these ages, but I still worry a lot and want to be as prepared as possible.

LAWYER take:

Okay, this is depressing (sorry), but I think it speaks to a pretty serious problem in the legal profession that needs more attention.  The legal profession ranks fourth in suicide rateLawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyersLawyers also struggle with substance abuse at nearly twice the rate of general population


Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that, but, generally speaking, it strikes me that lawyers are not very good at work/life balance.  That’s a problem.  Equally problematic is letting money and profit drive your life into the toilet.  Admittedly, the law is a tough profession.  It is the most jealous of mistresses.  But finding balance is the only way to make it work.  I wish there was a secret recipe for it because I’m still struggling quite a bit with it.  But I do know this ---family, children, time away and time off --- they are essential.  Because the alternative— these stories—well, they are just devastating.

Okay, wow . . .  1 and 2 were some REALLY HEAVY takes!  Now, on a much lighter note . . .

MAMA take:

Yesterday, the baby let go of the dishwasher that he was using to stand and BALANCED ON HIS OWN for, like, 10 WHOLE SECONDS!!!  Unfortunately, I did not catch it on camera, but you can bet I’ll be stalking him with the camera for the next few days until I do!!!

Gosh, he is growing up SOOOO fast!  It’s such a bittersweet thing for me.  He is going to be walking before I blink.  Where does the time go?

Soooooo . . . did anyone else read this editorial in the New York Times

Honestly, I really should know better by now.  I very rarely agree with most newspaper editorials, especially the ones that appear in the New York Times.  But a friend posted it on Facebook and, since it was about expanding education for women, it seemed promising.

And it wasn’t too bad . . . until I made it to the ninth paragraph.  “Youth bulge” . . . say whaaa?  Then, there is this beauty:

One study found that for every 1 percentage point increase in the share of the population aged 15 to 24, the risk of civil war increases by 4 percent.  That means that curbing birthrates tends to lead to stability, and that’s where educating girls comes in. You educate a boy, and he’ll have fewer children, but it’s a small effect. You educate a girl, and, on average, she will have a significantly smaller family. One robust Nigeria study managed to tease out correlation from causation and found that for each additional year of primary school, a girl has 0.26 fewer children. So if we want to reduce the youth bulge a decade from now, educate girls today.

Is it just me or is the “population control” message just EVERYWHERE nowadays?  Gosh, I mean, I know we live in a contraceptive world, but seriously???

More diplomatically (and without appealing to religion, which is hard for me to do, but sometimes logical arguments that lead to the right conclusion religiously are just more effective), I have this to say:

As a professional woman with a post-grad degree, I am all for educating women.  It provides them with the tools to take care of themselves and their families and engage more fully in the world.  So important.  But I have a real problem with the notion that we should be educating girls in order to prevent a "youth bulge."  The capacity to have children is a fundamental part of what it means to be a woman.  If the goal is to educate women so they do not have children (or as many children as they might want), then you are effectively asking a woman to sacrifice her child-bearing on the altar of education.  Many women want to have children; it is, after all, a basis biological instinct.  But educated women are often forced to choose between having children and advancing their careers (or, worse, paying off their student debt).  To ignore that elephant in the room is folly.  Moreover, by utilizing education of women as a means of fostering what can only be termed "population control", you are asking the larger society in which women lives to cut off its nose in order to spite its face.  Less children means less economic activity and stimulation overall, less demand for food, clothes, supplies, etc.  Less children means less taxpayers in the future.  Less taxpayers means higher taxes.  This is true worldwide.  Here in the U.S., we are facing an almost certain loss of social security and other elder benefits in the future.  While some of that is certainly due to poor tax policies and short-sighted politicians, we would not be facing any of those problems if we had more taxpayers funding these programs.  Instead of focusing on this bizarre notion of a "youth bulge" with odd statistical data that may have many explanations, how about we focus on the real problems inherent in creating an "elder bulge"?  Let other countries learn from our example.  Women should be educated, but not as a means of encouraging them to have less children.

So, didya notice that I posted not once, but TWICE yesterday?!?!?  Miracles DO happen!  But I’m virtually certain it was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, and I’ll shortly revert back to my once-every-three weeks M.O.

So, what motivated me to post twice yesterday?  That would the lovely Mrs. Jennifer Fulwiler and her fabulous book Something Other Than God.  

Oh, and her FABULOUS contests too!  All of which got a whole post to itself.  OH MY!!!

For making it all the way to the seventh take, you deserve a reward.  Here you go:

That moment when you look up from watching your baby's swim lesson to discover that both of his older brothers have pulled their pants down and are peeing in the swim instructor's bushes. Yes. THAT moment.

(Yes, that really happened.)

Enjoy your weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. It makes me crazy when people start talking abou overpopulation. It's just nonsense. Societies start to fall apart when their populations reproduce at a rate lower than replacement rate... and the US has fallen below replacement rate!

    Anyway, I clicked over from the linkup to see that rarity, a Catholic mom blog from another professional mom who works outside the home! I only work part-time right now, but often feel a bit out-of-place amid the lovely homeschooling stay-at-home moms populating the Catholic blogosphere!

    1. I so totally agree. Overpopulation is the biggest myth around. People who talk about it give the impression that we are running out of space or resources on Earth or something, and I'm all like, "Helloooo, have you ever driven or flown across the country (ours or pretty much anyone's) or even just 30-40 miles outside of any major city??? Empty space GALORE!" I just don't get it. Plus, check out our history. Our economy was never stronger than when the baby boom was going on. More people = more demand for goods/services = more jobs = more money = stronger economy and fiscally stronger government. This isn't rocket science. To be facing a crossroads where many major world powers are now falling below the replacement rate (including, as you mention, the US) is going to pose a significant problem for our interdependent international economy. It makes me so sad. Gosh, people, don't be so afraid of babies!!!

      Whew, okay, that was a rant. Stepping down off my soapbox . . . now.

      Anyway, welcome to the blog! I'm so glad you found it. I actually started it for the same reason you mention --- it didn't seem like there were very many Catholic working/professional mom blogs out there! It's funny that you mention working part-time because that is something that I am strongly considering lately. Would be interested in your story and how you found your part-time gig. Pleasure to (virtually) meet you!

    2. Well, I'm not a lawyer-- I'm actually a pediatrician. Part-time jobs in medicine (especially in peds, which tends to be a female-dominated and [unsurprisingly] family-oriented specialty) aren't that rare nowadays. Sorry I don't really have any tips for you on that point.

      I love it, though. I get to spend a lot of time with my kids and doing homemakey-type things, but I also get to keep up with my profession and spend a few days a week with grown-ups, using my brain in a... not better, but perhaps more intellectually stimulating way. (Also MUCH easier to schedule doctor's appointments and such now that I have weekday slots free!) Right now I'm working one full day and two half-days a week. Since I'm less than a year out of residency when I was working 70- to 80-hour weeks, it's a big difference and a welcome change!

    3. Emily, that is just awesome. I hope the legal profession starts to take note. That schedule is really pretty perfect; ideally, it is what I would like too --- just enough time in my profession each week to keep up with it and keep the legal part of my brain occupied without sacrificing family and home. Kudos to you for finding that good balance, which is so elusive!

  2. I have to add my two cents on the lawyer take. I could not agree more with this!! Being able to step away, have time with family, not answering emails and phone calls non-stop is crucial to staying balanced (and happy) in the legal profession.

    So many lawyers lose sight of that. When I went on my honeymoon, the partners of my firm told me that I had to be accessible by phone and internet at all times...on my HONEYMOON! Sheesh. And, I was in New Zealand half a world away! I have never taken more than 2 days off in a row and they couldn't give me that time. I also work in education law and estate is highly unlikely that any emergency would arise that I would be absolutely needed. I will step off my soapbox now lol, but the bottom line for me was that sometimes you just have to say no and know your own limits. I promised to check my email every few days and deal with any crises that came up, but I was not going to take phone calls on my honeymoon or get a special cell phone plan just so I could use my phone internationally. We only get 2 weeks of vacation per year and 2 sick days so I have to enjoy my down time when I can!

    On a happier note, your 7th take made me laugh so hard!! Have a nice weekend! :)

    1. Amen, Lisa, amen!!! It is mind-boggling to me that any employer would feel entitled to interrupt any vacation, BUT ESPECIALLY a honeymoon (absent the most serious of emergencies)!!! I mean, seriously, when did lawyers cease to be people, separate and apart from the practice of law? It's so sad. I'm so glad you told them you wouldn't take calls!!! When I have taken vacations, I end up checking email (difficult to avoid that one), but I have a similar rule about the phone. The whole point of a vacation is to get away from work, regroup, and relax. I can't do that if I'm tethered to a phone. Glad you enjoyed #7!!! :)

  3. Hi - I just found your blog a few months ago, and I have been thinking about you a lot as I have read your posts about your current efforts in discernment. I am a lawyer too, and I worked at a big firm for 6 years, and then I left and took a government job. As I read your struggles with working vs. sell-everything-and-homeschool, I had to share that I think there's a middle ground you should be exploring. Which is not to say you shouldn't stop working and completely change your life, because maybe you should (who am I to say?). But there ARE lawyer jobs that as a general rule do not require you to have email on your phone (mine), or work after 5 p.m. (mine), or work on the weekends regularly (mine), or make excuses when you leave at 3 to go to an event at your kids school (mine). My job is certainly not everyone's definition of "success" in the law, and it's not perfect (not always super stimulating/intellectually challenging). I also don't get paid as much as I used to, although per hour I bet I make more. I think exploring things like government work, or contract work, or part time work, are very worthwhile. I wish you the very very best of luck!

    1. Kati, thank you so much for your perspective and advice. The more I discern, the more I think that may be where I'm headed long-term. For me, I'm less interested in society's definition of "success" and more interested in finding a balance that works for my family. If you don't mind my asking, what kind of government job did you take? When it comes to government work, I'm kind of at a loss for where to start. TIA!