Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Go Annabeth!

Closer to Home: All I can say is that Annabeth's makeup looked fine by me, and she's a prosecutor, not a detective, and she's returning from maternity leave. Twelve weeks ("a full 12 weeks," says a woman who was promoted to be Annabeth's boss in her absence....") That said, read below for some very positive comments.

First, thank you TV for showing us a real live mother pumping breastmilk. Well, we didn't see the pumping, but we saw those funky plastic suction cups on her desk, and all the wires out and about. A minor plot line has Annabeth asking for a small frig for her office. She receives it, with a big red bow on top, after she wins her case, but really, after one of her bosses accidentally picks up a small bottle marked "breast milk, do not touch" from the lunchroom refrigerator. Points for making breast pumping look respectable, something done with dignity, not in disarray. And for showing us this scene. Have we ever before seen a mom pumping?

Second, thank you for the kindly daycare worker, who when Annabeth returns to work, afraid that she's damaging her child through daycare, reassures her that the separation is harder for Annabeth than it is for her adorable child.

Third, thank you for portraying a decent dad and father, also at his job, also balancing work and family. He's a minor character, and yes, he does call her with his own emergency-can-you-pick-our-child-up-at-the-last-minute-even-though-you're-busy-at-work. But it's clear that he takes usual responsibility for picking up their child at daycare, and doing the evening shift. He doesn't complain when Annabeth gets a late night work-related call. He cuddles her and their child. And he takes an active role in sleep-training their child. Points, points, points for showing an involved dad, for not repeating the new idiom that parenting is women's work.

Yes, we've seen working moms on TV, but never with scenes that show them grappling with this level of detail, and never letting them express true ambivalence. Annnabeth gets to say near the beginning that she's not really ready to return to work, yet at the same time, she wants to be both a mommy and a prosecutor. We understand that Annabeth finds all this hard. That's not swept under the rug. Even the woman who at show's beginning is her nemesis and now boss, is, by hour's end telling Annabeth that nothing's harder than being a working mother.

So, a big thank you to TV for this one, for showing us one mother's life, with empathy and care.


Elizabeth said...

I'm pretty sure that Carol on ER (back in the day) pumped for the twins. I don't know if they ever showed the pump, but they showed her bottles in the fridge.

Anne-Marie said...

I think it's because tv writers are now our age and have grown up with working moms, seeing their wives gone back to work, or in the case of the women writers, having gone back to work themselves.

It's also the reason why Devo's "Whip It" is now on a Swifter commercial. HA!