Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Praise of Mothers -especially Immigrant mothers!!

Once a year on Mother's Day families gather round good old mom to tell her what a wonderful person she is.

Out come the cards with the sweet verses written by a professional. Out come the flowers, or the sweater, or the garden tools or ....or ....

Doesn't this all seem to be a little phoney  since we ( mothers that is) seem to be the butt of  criticism the rest of the time.

Either we are overly protective, or selfish slobs who don't care enough for our children. Of course, we don't have a life do we? Our life is supposed to be our children isn't it?

In the world we live in today, mothers DO have a life. In fact, their life is so busy juggling  work, kids, housework and exhaustion that one of our favourite activities is lying in  bed, or the bathtub with a good book.   

Admiration for Immigrant Mothers  

As a teacher of adult ESL immigrants from around the world for the past 17 years, I have nothing but awe and wonder for these women who slave away at minimum wage jobs, go home to feed their children, and then come to school for another two and half hours in order to learn the English that will get them into the courses that will lead to better jobs.

Do they do this once a week? No, they do it from Monday to Thursday, and if that isn't enough, they are loaded down with enough homework for the weekend that they have little time to enjoy such things as Mother's Day. 

Are these women determined? You have no idea. Are they motivated? Absolutely!  Are they tired? Sadly yes.... Do they have a lot of time to do homework when there is still housework to finish at home and kids to get up in the morning. And yet we teachers are telling them they must do their homework or they won't improve.

Whenever I think of my women students who care so much and are trying so hard to provide the best for their children, or as they say so frequently " to give them a better future,"  I want to run out into the streets and shout."You should be cheering for these people".

As mothers they are unbeatable 

 As mothers, they are unbeatable. And sadly, their grammar will probably never be perfect. They will always have problems distinguishing a past tense verb from a present tense one, or "come in Canada" from :come to Canada". So does this really matter in the greater scheme of things?  For some, it really does because it will make a difference between a life of drudgery and one that can offer some financial reward and satisfaction of having made the right decision in coming to Canada. 

There must be a way to make these people's lives easier. We have seduced them into coming to Canada because we want their children for the future. And we'll get them. So how about a little praise for the immigrant women as they are now. 

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail carried a delightful series of articlres on mothers in general. One that received a lot of comments focused on the fact that is was easier to be a mother in the 1970's than it is now/

Have a read if you are interested. 

Why the 1970s were the best time to be a mom

The 1970's was an easier decade, on  the mothering front at least. According to U.S. time-use data, moms were present more, but spent less time interacting one-on-one with their kids. They also, by most accounts, worried less.

 A 2005British survey asked moms with young children and mothers who had raised kids the 1970s to compare their experiences: Moderns mom reported feeling more stressed and more cranky, and were far more likely to say a lack of sleep was wrecking their sex lives – with percentage gaps wide enoughto account for rose-coloured reminiscing on grandma’s part.
And  those moms of old certainly weren’t fretting over food labels. In a Canadian survey in 1978, 30 per cent of mothers couldn’t name any food that their family should avoid.

Compare that to the 80 % of moms who now monitor their children’s sodium intake or compare labels before buying food for their toddler, as a 2010 Ipsos Read  poll  reported.
“I remember my mom sitting around drinking martinis with her friends and we would run free,” recalls Jen Maier, a Toronto mother of two and founder of Urban Moms.ca. “I ate a lot of hot dogs.” Including frozen ones. “I think I’d barf if my child did that now.”
But moms today don’t spend less time caring for their kids over all. One U.S. survey suggests that employed mothers in 2000 spent the same time with their kids as a stay-at-home mom in 1975. But the newer moms managed to squeeze it in by cutting back on leisure time and housework.

Today, women don’t boast that their “floors are so clean you can eat off of it,” Dr. O’Reilly observes. Society now values home-grown prodigies over ironed sheets, so it’s piano concerts and scholarships that earn bragging rights.

But before mothers today feel too misty-eyed, consider what their counterparts in the 1970s didn’t have to make life easier.

There was no popping a lasagna in the microwave (less than 5 per cent of Canadians homes had one) or running the dishwasher (22 per cent).

And just over half of Canadian moms could toss clothes in a dryer at home. And even if the feminist movement was transforming life for women, in 1975, only 57 per cent of Canadians thought a husband should share in the housework.

“It blows my mind,” Ms. Lynn says of the fathers at her daycare who get their children up in the morning, make them lunch and drop them off. Back in the seventies, she says, “if there was the odd guy doing that, I never met him.”
But balancing the pros and cons, weighing the convenience of a microwave compared with moms who could still laugh together over their “bratty” kids, which decade does she prefer? “A mom in the seventies,” she laughs, “with more money.”

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