Thursday, July 06, 2006

Family-and-work rights

Andy, the spiritual leader and coach of Wild Things Girls Softball, teaches the mothers some throwing, catching and batting skills so we can play against our daughters in the annual Mother's Day mother-daughter softball game, the game that comes right before he gathers everyone under the shady maple and reminds us that mother's day is political. Because softball, all sports, our psyches and the history of gender can combine in such torturous ways, he shows us how to throw and catch, and then unleashes the most important tip of all:

We must never say we are sorry. When the ball drops because the other person can't catch--when we are most ready to say "I'm sorry" as the other person gives chase--we must stop ourselves. Break the habit. Convey our apologies for things we really do wrong, or when empathy is needed badly. But apologizing because someone else drops a softball: no way.

Thus, I will not break this round of blogging silence with yet another apology, but with a let's-hit-the-ground-running here's-what's-going-on update. Accompanied perhaps by a promise to stop by and post more often.

The baby has passed the six-month mark. She's wonderful. Enough said: she's quickly passing into the family privacy zone. You know how I feel, like her sister and dad, she didn't choose to have a writer for a mom, or her life splayed out for all to see. And me: I am starting a new book, details many, many months from now when I'm ready. It won't be on motherhood or family life, but don't worry, I'm still here at the Playground, giving the world a sane voice on the Mommy wars and some ideas for how we're going to make the world a better place for women, mothers and families, without sacrificing one or the other.

A current story I'm following: the new district attorney of Nassau County, NY. A woman, Kathleen Rice, runs and wins on a pro-choice, feminist, anti-corruption platform. Less than a year into the job, she announces the end of all part-time work for lawyers in the DA's office. I see this as a classic conflict between the new feminism and the old. Reproductive rights aren't extended into family-and-work rights, the right to have a job and some kids and some flexibility to make it all work out. We gotta be seeing how feminism includes both these things. Gotta be seeing that. I grew up in Nassau County, so I'm feeling particularly grumpy about this one. As is my mother.

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