Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Women warriors

On sunday I did my first book event--before the book's even out. I brought along my copy of the bound galleys, and showed it all around, telling everyone that the currently gray cover will be glossy, bright white, and carried laong by a bossy red border! I was invited to speak to a group that hosts homeless families, and who had noticed the work/life balance issues faced by the poor moms and their kids. The group leader--an author herself--knows me and knows about my book. She heard that I write both about middle class and professional moms--and about poor moms too. I was glad to speak to a group that already makes these connections. They were a humane, impressive bunch.

After I spoke, the women in the group had their chance. It's chilling to hear women speak honestly about our experiences. One of the older women said that she thinks life is getting harder for women and for mothers. We're going backwards, she said. After the talk, another woman, in her young thirties, followed me out. She's the mother of a toddler, her family isn't rich, she works part time, but she loves being a mom, loves being with her son. It's the story I'm used to hearing. "We don't expect this," she told me. We don't expect that becoming a mother will so radically change how we work."

If times are bad, and they are, we need warriors.

One such warrior is Lisa Belkin, the New York TImes writer. This is the same writer who started a national discussion about work and motherhood with her October 2003 NYT Magazine article, Opt Out Revolution. Her column this sunday, Envisioning a Career Path with Pitstops was brilliant, smart, crystal clear: some women get a tiny bit of flextime during their days and weeks, but what mothers and father who want to parent need is flexibility over the life of their careers. Thank you, Lisa. We need to hear it. And we really need to hear that someone with a national platform like you do is willing to write these things, week after week.

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