Monday, February 27, 2006

Mother Talk Philly, March 3d

The moms gather again, this time to visit with Judith Stadtman Tucker, the visionary behind Mothers Movement Online. E-mail me for more information and the evite:

This Friday, Center City Philadelphia, 8ish pm.

Book Website Back Up

Don't ask, but someone in Venezuela now owns my domain name,, which had formerly been the site for Truth Behind the Mommy Wars. With globalization, anyone anywhere can steal my website, in hopes, I suppose, of selling it back to me at a profit. Or to other miriam peskowitz's scattered about the globe.

Global capitalism, foiled again: I've nabbed letters to type, and easier for anyone who finds spelling 'Miriam" correctly a bit of a challenge. is the new home for info about The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars, including excerpts, book group guides, and even the very fancy picture of my that appears in the book! This is the site to send if you've read the book and want to share a snapshot version with a friend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mommy Wars Again

As I prepare to do some speaking engagements this spring, I've been musing over this question: I published "The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars" nearly a year ago; has anything changed in a positive direction for women and men who as parents seek choices other than being totally out of the workplace and public life forever, or continue to work fulltime? Are we moving? Are we moving in a direction that takes us toward more real choices? Toward more support for families? Toward support that also supports our full humanity and potential?

This morning's Good Morning America replayed Mommy Wars again, pitting Linda Hirschman against the creators of Total 180 magazine, the new mag for professional women turned stay at home moms. And as usual, it's one thing to have women talk about their different paths in life. It's another to ignore any structural reason why moms leave the workplace. It's another to ignore the fact that mothers move in and out of the workplace and they need more support in not losing ground each time they do. But none of this story gets in. It's the catfight, each time.

So, no. Not a lot of progress on that front. We still don't have a show where one corporate executive is confronted by parents who want to work humane hours but can't, and the CE has to explain why the company is so rigid. We still don't have a show that brings a Senator in to be faced by moms and dads who want affordable quality daycare. No, it's mommy wars ala 1985 all over again.

We're not yet moving forward.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Marrit's new column in AustinMama

For any mom who's put the contents of her day into writing and wondered if it was worthwhile, skip over to and read Marrit Ingman's inaugural column on why motherwriting matters. I've been feeling this more acutely lately. Last week when I showed up at work with my baby in sling after the babysitter had backed out, I felt it, that nagging worry that babies don't matter and they should be kept away from real work, that they aren't real work. I felt it. Me. Second time mom after seven years who's written about such things intimately and intensely, me, who goes about trying to inspire other moms in their efforts to value all their work and live whole lives. When I returned home that day and set down to write about it, I found myself worrying again: is this worthy of words? Thank you Marrit for shouting out a yes, and reminding us all why. Here's her final paragraph, in my opinion a classic:

"I’m going to bore you with anecdotes about how the in-store music at HEB really sucked yesterday while I was picking up a king-sized pack of string cheese and dish soap. That’s the stuff that’s on my mind. Having to be fascinating and trenchant all the time in your personal musings is a kind of tyranny imposed on a writer. My to-do list does not include fighting the straw woman of Mommy (for the record, my child has called me Marrit since he acquired language). I’m going to embrace her and dance with her, and if I need to change partners later in the evening, I will. We should write about the experience of motherhood in whatever language comes from our hearts: exultation, crushing boredom, frustration, bemusement, righteous anger, fluff, or any combination thereof. Evidently it makes a lot of people furious. We must be doing something right."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Time, Whither Time....

News, news, and a personal time-update: There's a ton of stuff I wish I had the time to write about: Wendy Wasserstein's death, Betty Friedan's death, and Judy Warner's excellent Op-Ed in today's (Wednesday's) New York Times.

With baby in hand, I don't have the time, so instead, readers, head over to Jen at the Literary Mama blog; she has important things to say, and she quotes our other friend Ann Douglas, at length, who also has smart things to say. One great thing about being part of a community of mom-and-women bloggers is letting go of that sense of having to hold the world up on one's shoulders: there are so many smart women out there to share the job. With a newborn at home, there's precious little time for writing these days. With these ten minutes here at the Playground as an exception, when my babysitter's here I do the work that sends a check at the end of the month. Because last fall's new-roof-on-my-house was not just a literary convention I wrote about so that angry old-fashioned feminist authors could accuse me of light-headedness and frivolity; it came, unfortunately, with an invoice, a rather large invoice, attached.

So, check out Warner's article today, and know that I am right there with all the other moms and dads wondering where the time is for ourselves and for creative projects and for taking part in the world at large. I'm with you. I am you. And I'm still here thinking and talking our way into a better future for all parents, and glad that others are out there writing. Some people like to be the token, the only one, the person without whom all hell would break loose. Not me. I like knowing that if I'm living life at a slower pace, if I can't respond in a day with an Op-Ed, that someone else is there to keep the mom-conversation out in public. All thanks to Judy Warner for the work she's doing to make these issues public.

Finally, if you want a treat and you live in Philadelphia, I'll be appearing with Andi Buchanan, author of Mother Shock, It's a Boy, the Literary Mama Anthology (and the forthcoming It's a Girl) THIS SATURDAY, February 11th, at 3.30 at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy. Come on down for a MotherTalk at what is now the coolest most happening corner in Philadelphia, Carpenter at Greene. (Update: I just heard that on March 18th, fave author Marion Winik will be at the Big Blue, another mom-lit treat.) And after the MotherTalk, definitely stop in across the corner at the High Point cafe, a bit of Seattle relocated in Philly. Great coffee and crepes, the Seattle/Philly combo's a good one. And it's the kind of place where they get to know your name, and it feels like home. It's breastfeeding friendly too, I can tell you from experience. Heck, it's just plain friendly.

If you can't make, do check out Big Blue Marble's website. This new independent bookstore is run by the mom of a young child, and who's events coordinator has a young child, which means finally: a book store that's focused on parents and motherhood, not to mention building audiences for writing about mothering and the parenting life. (There's also a playspace for kids in the 2d floor cafe; that's walking the walk.)