Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Issue Fatigue"/Even Uma Thurman can't make the problem go away

Here's me, I send my daughter off to school and take five to browse through the trashiest newspaper articles I can find. In my case this means the NYT intrigue on A5 about why the Queen won't attend Charles and Camilla's wedding, and the Philadelphia Inquirer's article about Uma Thurman in her new flick.

Writer Hugh Hart is a sight for a tired mom's eyes. Stuck in the middle of the article, on E4 is where Uma's a mom who can't do it all, and who feels the same damn struggles we all do. Even movie goddess Uma can't get the rules of the game to change. She hasn't been working much, and she's divorced Ethan, too.

"I've just needed to be home. Having children flips the game from being about you to being about what you can create in a home and what your responsibilities are. Actually, my ex-husband said to me the other day that I clearly wanted to be a full-time mother and still wanted to be an actress, and that I kept insisting I could do both, but I can't. [My note to Ethan: thanks for the support; perhaps that's why the marriage is over.] So I'm fighting to keep my foot in the business and still take care of my kids--it's the big conundrum of my life."

Ah. I couldn't handle being a mom and dealing with the stresses and demands of a full-time professorial job. Now I'm working here and there, cobbling it together like a million or so other moms in America, doing our best to work and mother in a system that DOES NOT SUPPORT US.

In last weekend's NYT Book Review, Judith Shulevitz wrote a review of the latest motherhood phenom and said that we have issue fatigue. That's what she called it. Issue Fatigue. She claims that in her circles, mothers don't talk about this to each other anymore. It's passe. Issue Fatigue. Of the entire review, that's the phrase that stuck.

Issue Fatigue. Yes, I too am tired of talking about this. Mostly, I'm tired of living it. I'm tired of the struggle. I'm tired of making dinner every night.And I'm tired of being tired. Furthermore, I'm fatigued by earning really low wages for my work because I can't see a way to decently work fulltime, parent well and stay sane. And what really fatigues me is hearing versions of my story repeated by nearly every mother I know and meet.

That's what fatigues me. And you know what? I'm fatigued my a media that continues to present this as only about affluent moms from tony suburbs. I'm fatigued by reading the same old, same old. That's why Uma's brief tell-all helps. We read constantly about our celeb moms, and finally, the celeb moms are beginning to speak out. Because celeb moms too, want to work. At least a little bit. They want to keep a foot in the door. Just like, well, the rest of us more ordinary folk.

Issue fatigue. Can't we at least call it Injustice Fatigue?

Have a great day everyone.

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