the birthday bomb + shameless self promotion
oh what a night

when choice isn't

"[Hirshman's argument] doesn't mean that America's children are going to go without mothers. As Hirshman points out, the real debate isn't a choice between two extremes: a life where neither parent sees the child, or a life where the child has a loving mother. Rather, Hirshman's hard-boiled approach to the whole concept of choice cuts through the self-important—and often self-sabotaging—idealism that women employ to justify their decisions."

Meghan O'Rourke in Slate today revists the idea that mothers need to keep working to change the status quo about mothers and working. Hirshman's argument is smart, if brusquely stated. What kills me is that this whole thing will get spun once again into whether or not mom "chooses" to stay how and how that will effect the kids v. the long-term consequences of our current system of choices. I'll bet you $5 that it will eventually be stay at homers v. work outside of the homers and who is the "better" parent.

Ah, me.

In other news, it is still frickin' raining and my hair is enormous. I fear for small children who get near it.

Comments

What really kills me is how many women do not fit neatly in either the SAH or WOH category. That alone makes this such a silly debate. (For example,I'm the primary caregiver right now, but also a full-time student who is trying to freelance. All I am is tired, tired, tired.) It follws that I cannot abide by Hirshman. Not because she's hardboiled, but because she seems totally self-serving, and I've come across a few instances where she has really twisted other women's words and stories around to suit her purposes.

She probably would not like me either though. I was firmly in the pro parent (either gender) as primary caregiver camp, when I was new to parenthood. Then I started to read and talk with more mothers who worked and had all kinds of different job arrangments and realized I was way off the mark, with my self-righteous little thoughts. I think she is way off base too. Maybe I'll be able to see her point with more time and personal distance from the issue, but for now I'm not at all interested in her take on things or her approach.

And yeah, WTH is up with the endless rainy days? We have a bit of sun here in Boston right now, but I'm sure it will not stick around.

I can see her point and am on the fence about it, frankly. But find it more interesting -- in a horrified kind of way -- to talk about the meta-argument, if that makes any sense. I know that the way the Hub and I are doing the whole thing now works for us, Hirschman or no.

I just had to go grab the mail, which is all stuck together like one big mail clump. Ew.

We had hail today in Ann Arbor.

Do you mean meta argument in terms of whether there really is a (conscious) choice for most women? Or just the kooky spin the mainstream media is going to continue to put on this issue? I guess one place where the author of the Slate piece loses me is when she speaks about less educated women reentering the work force. For one, the definition is kind of vague (less than a masters degree? an MBA? a PhD?)

I do not hold an advanced degree, but I've personally held such a crazy variety of jobs as an adult that I find it very hard to believe that I would not find *something* if I decided to heed Hirshmans' advice and go get a job tomorrow. I do agree that it is more difficult for some people to reenter a specific industry at a level comparable to the one they were at when they "opted" out.

Hirshman is not addressing the variety of work life balances that many families have. I do grudgingly admit that I see the point that change from within an institution has a better chance of success than trying to change the system as observers. I also grudgingly admit that I lean towards having an only child in part because it has taken almost 2 years for our family to achieve a balance that feels "fair" and does not leave me resentful. But that is my personal choice. It seems absurd to run with it and tell other women to do the same.

I also really chafe at her insistence that women get an education that they can use to get a good job. In other words, study something "useful." This advice from a retired Philosophy professor seems a bit hypocritical! :)

By "meta" I meant the kooky way that the media will frame it. As for Hirshman's argument, I honestly don't know enough about it at this point to have a specific opinion on the whole thing. But I do believe taht any system is much easier to change from the inside than from the outside, so she has me there. But I also strongly suspect that I wouldn't be educated in her eyes nor have a good job. But (again with the but) I feel what I do in my everyday life is much more likely to bring about change than working for IBM or some such critter. I agree with the heart of her idea, I think, but am a little unclear on the details.

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