Thursday, June 25, 2009

Help! Role Confilict Ahead!


Who am I? Mother, Wife, Teacher, Writer, Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister, Friend, Student? In sociology we use the term STATUS to refer to the different types of social standing we inhabit. If we have many, as listed above, we call that a STATUS SET. Each status comes with a role, defined as the way we are supposed to (or expected to) ACT while preforming the duties of each status.

When two (or more) roles that are attached to two separate stati oppose one another, this is called ROLE CONFLICT.

I am experiencing a lot of role conflict these days. To keep up with all of the expectations that are necessary to fulfill the roles (competently) connected to each status, is killing me.

When I have to go to work and my baby states "Stay with me mommy.." I feel role conflict. When my husband asks me to close the computer in order to come watch tv with him (giving up one screen for another?) I feel role conflict. When my kids are sick and I have to give a mid-term... role conflict. When I am exhausted from a long, hard day and my husband wants to ;) ROLE CONFLICT.

And now, with revisions that are so important... waiting to be done, and the path to my own personal dreams seems to be opening wider, my husband and children are getting increasingly impatient with the sounds of the keyboard and the back of a lap top. They are quickly losing patience for this "hobby." Ack. Role conflict of the worst kind.

And we haven't even touched the fact that I can't seem to pick up the phone and call my gram. What? Shut UP right?

So I have to do what we all have to do. I have to choose. This is difficult for people who are, at their core, pleasers. I have to say things like "I need to do this because it is important to me." and "This is not a hobby, this is my career." There are a lot of "I's" there. Not "we's" and families function much better in the "we" universe.

I know you all have this problem in one way or another. Share. It feels better!

14 comments:

  1. I'm sorry for all the role conflict going on. One can always hope that when you become a bestseller, a few of those conflicts can be done away with, right?

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  2. Ugh! I have BIG conflict at home with writing. I'm expecting to come home one day to find my laptop gone and a ransom note in its place. I think only another writer can understand because I've used comparisons with my husband--remember when you were trying to advance with the... and you had to.... and you didn't ever get home until.... Ya, well, it's not working.

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  3. Yes, it is beyond difficult and my patient loving family has days when they are not so much patient. I find that they respond better when I have set writing times (I blog for an hour in the am..sometimes sneak some in around lunch... and work on novel stuff from 8:30-11pm at night). Then, their expectations are adjusted. I've done dinner, dishes, blah blah blah and they really have no excuse to not allow me that working time.

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  4. I'm a people pleaser and have experienced many times of role conflict...as you, raising children and married. I'm older now, but then I let a lot of ME be put on the back burner until this time of my life. I guess those are the alternatives - NOW or LATER. Looking back, I wish I would have been stronger THEN to say NOW! My children were my life when I was younger, but I would have liked them to KNOW the ME NOW, THEN. You're more than a mother role model now...your children will benefit if you hang on to what you are NOW...with room to grow into LATER. Peace.

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  5. Always big role conflict, but luckily for me, my husband also has a "hobby" that turns him into a hermit for hours at a time, which comes in REALLY handy after the kids have gone to bed. We both go into our corners and do our little projects and come up for air once in awhile to talk to each other. It's awesome. But then there's other times when the house is a gigantic mess and I have to give up writing for awhile to clean my pigsty. Sigh.

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  6. Girl, i LIVE role conflict. I need there to be more than 24 hours in a day OR somehow find a way to exist without sleep. Then, maybe i'd have time to be mother, wife, career woman- and oh yeah- how about FRIEND?? And maybe I could even be good at one of them. But since niether of my solutions seem plausible, I will live in a constant state of guilt which fits in well with my Catholic upbringing :)

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  7. P.S. I finally freakin' figured out how to post comments on your blog! I'm so proud of myself :)

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  8. ah...i think this is a permanent state for me with a 16-month old. want to write all the time but want to spend time with her...sigh. balancing it all takes all my energy! :)

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  9. LT: I hope so!
    Mandy: I hear you. We have similar issues.
    Tess: As always you gave me a V8 moment. Scheduled time? Perfect.
    Susan: Sweet susan! Thank you.
    BJ: Oh to get him a hobby. His hobby, unfortunately, is cleaning.
    Ariana: Brava! and welcome! and see... we are too similar. Bill told me today that I should really put my "hobby" aside. Perhaps I shouldn't have stomped out, crying, and screaming something about "Keeping all my f'n royalties?" ;)

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  10. Jeannie! Welcome. I don't miss sixteen months. Can we all say "GET YOUR OWN JUICE?" :)

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  11. Suzanne, It's so funny you'd post this today. I was exercising, doing laundry, putting away the dishes, and cleaning up after the cats this morning and all I could think of is "I want to write!!!!" Too funny. I'm lucky, in that my kids are older and I do have a lot of writing time. However, I still resent the housework!!! And, that's really nervy of me given I have cleaners come once a week to the REAL dirty stuff (like clean five bathrooms!). So what the hell am I complaining about???

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  12. I feel much better to hear that I have company in my role conflict. I work 8-16 hours a day, run a part-time photography studio, serve in my church, date my wife, work on my writing, and play occassionally. I take my laptop on the road with me & write when I can (Mostly, I just drive & think aobut writing, but I listen to lots of podcasts). I multi-task whenever possible, but still cannot get it all done. I push out time for friends & family, but I am always dissatisfied with my lack of connection with those I care the most about. I have resigned myself to the fact that I just cannot get it all done. I just work on the top of my to-do list and try not to worry about the stuff I never get done. I need to re-roof my house this summer, so I expect a few other dreams will evaporate. Don't worry, be happy - an old song says. What else can I do? Unhappiness just causes me to work slower!

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  13. Okay, I went through this. Three children, 2 Pharmacies and a nursing career. I wanted to write, they wanted me. I pointed out that when they wanted to do their thing, I left them alone to enjoy it. So I had 2 hours per day to myself.One hour either side of tv, with husband and after the kids were in bed, as I pointed out to him, he sleeps in front of it anyway ;0. It worked.

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  14. I've been feeling exactly this...and you said it so much better than I ever could. Thank you for sharing!

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