Class, moo cards and SAHMommerings

the system of dividing society; caste.

a social stratum sharing basic economic, political, or cultural characteristics, and having the same social position: Artisans form a distinct class in some societies.

As an American I feel I can be anything. With enough hard work, grit, assertiveness and spunk I can do ANYTHING. That the only thing holding me back is me.  As an American living in England I think I see the limitiations of class.  I am more aware of class than I have ever been in my entire life. I struggle with it and hate myself for thinking about it. I wonder if it’s just something you think about once you have kids. Would I have been as aware of it if I were raising Squidge in the US? Wal feels that your accent gives away your class much more than if your parents were working or middle class. That the fact that I don’t have an accent that people can pigeonhole works to my benefit. I think that is missing the point. It’s Squidge that I worry about.  I want only the best for her. I want to provide her with every opportunity available yet I can’t help thinking that there are certain opportunities that will never be open to her here in England. Is this also true in the US, are there class limitation? Was it just not an issue for me because I chose to ignore it. Should I have paid more attention in my sociology class??  Help me out here, tell me I’m just being silly and that I’m not turning into Hyacinth Bucket!

I’ve had this bouncing around my head for a long time.  I’m struggling with getting it down out of my head so expect this post to be tweaked and edited.

Now back to the fluff you come here for.

Squidge minutes after an afternoon nap.

playing around with photoshop

I ordered some moo cards this afternoon.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my photos translate into postcards.  I’m thinking about selling some.  Is that egotistical of me?  Thinking that some of my photos are so good people would be willing to give me money for them?

Last weekend while chatting with a friend who is NOT a SAHM I was struck with these feelings of being completely useless.  She asked me what I have been up to and I couldn’t think of a damn thing.  Nothing.  Nada. Zip.  What have I been up to?  Hmm let me see I go grocery shopping a lot- cooking and baking is a big part of my life.  I play and color with Squidge.  I ignore Squidge for large chunks of time as I try to read blogs and Flickr.  I go to the park and do laundry.  I attend toddler groups where I feel alone and isolated sometimes.  I stand in co-ed changing rooms feeling fat while remembering that I didn’t shave my bikini area waiting for Squidges swim lessons to begin.  It’s what I do- week in and week out.  When confronted with the question I froze.

14 Comments

  1. charlotte
    May 24, 2008 /

    That last image is such a great photo!
    really it is excellent!

    can’t wait for the uk summer!!

  2. Maryann
    May 24, 2008 /

    Useless? You and Squidge are always doing something. Those moments and memories are irreplacable…. remember that! She is very lucky to have you as a “mum”!

  3. lieslf
    May 24, 2008 /

    Ride ’em, Cowboy! And see? If you were at work and Squidge were at daycare, you would be paying money so someone else would have the opportunity to share those moments with Squidge!

    I know what you mean, though being a SAHM doesn’t seem to have a lot of value to a lot of professionals, and it is frustrating being looked down on for staying home with our kids.

    I’ve wondered that about classism. It is more openly discussed in England, but I think it exists here in the US. I’ve often heard people assume that a person with a strong New Jersey/New York accent as being stupid and/or uneducated. Or that lovely phrase “trailer trash?” That’s pretty classist.

    By the way – TAG!

  4. jenty
    May 24, 2008 /

    Well, I for one, think that you have done something… you’ve learnt about photography! It’s very easy to forget your own accomplishments when you’re bringing up kids!
    Ohhh, and you’ve been improving your writing skills! And you’ve been networking across the world 😉 How’s that for a nice quick little list 🙂
    And OMW, that pic of Squidge, and the last pic is just magnificent!

  5. maria
    May 24, 2008 /

    That Last pic of squidge is fab!! I haven’t felt that way since before I came here!! I’d title it freedom or something. it truly rocks! LOL.. Clas defntely exists here and my MIL always points it out down to people’s names.. I don’t think it is as obvious or as relevent as it is here in England.. being a child of immigrant parents ya.. we could be and should be whaetver we wanted.. drive and passion needed.. I tin how you spea is about wher eyou go to school and payig attention to what or how you say things.. like SAT is not the only tense say that verb.. and innit isn’t a word.. don’t overuse ‘you know what I mean’ ..little thigs like that.. 😉 and that whole thnig about a SAHM .. I HEAR you!! GURL and how.. I freeze to think. do you ‘really’ want to know?

  6. maria
    May 24, 2008 /

    sorry ..for typos.. hit send too soon..:-(

  7. May 25, 2008 /

    you are certainly doing something…something wonderful. 🙂

    and oh my…..that last photo. PRICELESS! pure joy! so wonderful Lindy!

  8. byrney
    May 25, 2008 /

    SAHM is the best job in the world!! And it is a job!! I’ve just been given my ticket out of the workforce and into SAHM-force and I can’t wait. A lot of people keep asking me if I am getting a new job and I keep replying I’ve already got one a Mum!
    I agree your name gives away your class…remember “Chardonnay” that we met in the park???? And nothing at all wrong with wanting a different future than that for Squidge, means you’re doing your “job” well (see its definately a job!! 🙂 )

  9. Troy
    May 25, 2008 /

    Great post.

    1) Yes, people will pay for your photos. I would, and I’m allowed to speak for the silent masses.

    2) SAHM-dom is a far tougher job than any I can think of. I say be proud that you’re doing it, and be even prouder of the fact that you’re doing it well.

    3) I agree with your philosophy on a person’s potential. I believe individuals are held back more by their own perceived limitations than by any class or caste thrust upon them. Squidge will be fine. 🙂

  10. Loni
    May 26, 2008 /

    I’ve thought a lot about the class thing too. I was really shocked by it at first after having a few open conversations with Brits. There is a much bigger deal about the way one speaks here. I’ve noticed a few of my friends correcting their children in the way they say things to help them develop a certain accent. I would have never even thought about doing that. I think it is more noticeable here because there are so many accents and the British seem to have an extremely fine-tuned ear for them. I have thought about the American accent a lot too because I am now noticing more variations than I did before.

    I do think that there are class variations in the U.S., but they are not as noticeable because we just don’t pick up on much of the variations (with a few exceptions). It seems like the really extreme accents come from poorer people and although I am not saying that poor people are lazy, many of the extreme accents are very lazy. I think that that may be where the class discrimination comes in. That is probably the case here too. The lazy accents are looked down on the most.

    Will it affect squidge? I’ve got no clue. It probably depends on which accent she develops. Sorry, I’m not much help, but think about this for a sec. You’ve got to know how much Americans LOVE the British accent, so if for some reason is does eventually pose a problem, she can always move to the States and her accent will then work highly in her favor.

  11. Tia Lilliana
    May 26, 2008 /

    I dont get this class thing here in the U S CLASS IS HOW you act not hou you speak or how much money you have

  12. May 27, 2008 /

    You are always super busy and doing something neat! Even if just taking photos of Squidge!

  13. RachelCJ
    May 27, 2008 /

    I don’t necessarily agree with you about the class/accent thing, what I do think is that if you stick with your education and you have some inspiration in life, you can do anything (within reason, I mean, one can’t fly nor can one be a singer without the relevant talent etc) As an American raising a child whom I already think sounds like a Manc at the age of 2, I think that these days accents don’t mean as much as you are making out. For instance, one of the CEO’s of my company sounds like a cockney-er Jamie Oliver and he constantly mispronounces thing. There are lots of successful people that I know in my life with regional accents and that doesn’t hold people back, nor does class itself. I could read you a list of successful people I know who have come from many many different social backgrounds. (and again, we all have different definitions of Success) Its up the individual to find their way in life, with the support of their parents. So its up to us as these parents to encourage our children to get involved in these things, maybe its sports, or music, or business or maybe its even just getting them to understand the affect that their actions will have in the long run.

    Perhaps I am speaking out of turn here, and its not meant to sound the way it is going to sound, but perhaps your being out of the workplace at the moment is forming your opinion of this.

    Your daughter will have the same opportunities presented to her in the UK as she would have in the states, and just like in the states, provided she works hard for them and has the chutzpah to reach for the stars (to paraphrase S Club 7) she can be anything she wants, and do anythign she wants. Accents Scmaccents.

    I am rambling now, but I hope my point gets across…
    Rachel

  14. May 27, 2008 /

    here’s my humble opinion –

    On working vs. non-working, either way you feel guilty. If you’re a SAH, you feel like you should be working and doing something ‘meaningful’ (no matter how much you tell yourself that being at home with a small child is meaningful). If you work, then you feel like you should be at home way more than you’re able to. The perfect situation, I think is to find something part-time, or something that you can do while you’re at home that give you fulfillment. Easier said than done.

    On the class thing. The brits that I have encountered either through traveling or that are living in the U.S. definitely acknowledge that class is much bigger issue there than in the U.S. From what I’ve heard it has more to do with it being difficult to work hard and transcend class lines. In the U.S., I think it exists, but it’s easier to move about and not get pidgeon-holed as being from a certain class. Who knows maybe I have that all wrong…