Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer

The Ten-Year Nap

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer was a book that a friend from one of my book clubs chose as our July read. I found it to be enlightening but depressing at times.

Sometimes I get tired of all the talk about working moms and moms who are home with their children. So when it came time to go to the book club meeting, I stayed home with my daughter instead! I wasn't completely finished with the book at that point, and I was stuck in a part where the women were all disgusted with their choices, regardless of what choices they had made. And at that point, I found the self-centeredness of many of the characters tiresome.

But as I continued to read the book, I thought to myself about how self-centered I am at times too. As a mother who works full-time outside of my home, I am sometimes jealous of those who have the (what seems to be from my side of the fence) luxury of staying home to play with their children. The book helped me to realize (as I have realized over and over) that no matter what choices we make, there are always ups and downs and even sideways.

I particularly enjoyed the interaction the women had with the men in their lives as it characterized accurately the struggle we all go through as men or women - both work and homelife can be tiresome at times. It is the quiet joys of both parenthood and work that make life worth that struggle.

In the end, it is the relationships we have with other people and being grateful for what we have (instead of always wishing for what we can't have) that make life so rich and satisfying.


Amanda said...

As a stay at home mom who used to be a working mother, I can agree that there are two sides to every story. I don't know which I like more. The problem with staying home with kids is that your job is never-ending. There is no "go home" time. that was really difficult when i first started, plus I really don't get along with young children. The older my kids get, the better staying at home is. I now get quiet time and time to myself and some nights out when Jason watches the kids. And I think I deserve those things, because for awhile I think I had one of the hardest jobs on the planet, staying home with three boys under the age of 5. Yeah. I think its good to see both sides. It really helped me to appreciate both. I know now, for instance, that it's much harder to keep your house clean if you stay at home. I can't explain why, but it is, and every stay-at-home mom I know says the same thing. Anyway, I can see why you'd get tired of the whining. But people just like to complain, haha!

Welcome to the group! I set up your book list and such.

Trixie said...

Oh don't get me wrong - I complain frequently myself. I agree wholeheartedly, there are two sides to every story. This book really helped me to understand that even better.
Thanks for including me!

Amanda said...

So how does the title fit in? I'm imagining someone who lives through staying at home or working, regretting their decision, feeling like they are just waking up after a long period of dullness, but of course I have no idea if that's really it, that's just what the image evokes.

Trixie said...

You've got the gist of it pretty accurately. Many of the main characters stay at home with their children, enviously watching the lives of other women who have careers outside the home. As they get to know these women more personally, they find out that "there are two sides to every story" as you say and many of those women don't have such perfect lives as it may appear. The story takes place when the children are a bit older, attending a private elementary school, and it is really about what those women do now that they have more time to themselves. Of course some of them wish that they had continued in the direction they were headed before children working or volunteering outside of the home, and some of them realize that financially they have to return to work. An interesting chapter is written about Nadia Comeneci and how her fellow countrymen wonder why she works so hard, practicing her gymnastics for hours and hours each day. She wants to make the point to them that it doesn't seem like work to her because gymnastics is what she loves doing. Ultimately the title makes the point that you should spend your time mindfully, whatever your choices, to avoid waking up ten years later with regret.