Tuesday, February 07, 2006

And so the debate begins

So, as you might imagine, this becoming-a-mom thing has been on my mind quite a bit ever since I stopped puking and started feeling the bambina move (from the strength of her movements, incidentally, I think we have created a female boxing contender... either that or a cheerleader on steroids). My own mom sent me a note the other day about how raising this child and being a mom is the most important job in the world. Mother issues aside, that sentiment irked me, then made me really conflicted.

Because, first, what about the feature stories I've written about gender pay equity, the working poor, and the white-collar unemployed? Stories that had the potential to affect public policy, to bring attention to serious issues, to remind the comfortable readers of my publication that not everyone has it as good as they do? While I don't have any concrete evidence that Major Changes occurred as a result of those (or, sniff, any other) stories, I believe firmly in the possibility of slow and subtle change. If I didn't, I couldn't do my job. Those stories have the possibility to affect thousands of lives. Being a mom affects just one, albeit in a much more dramatic, up close and personal way.

And that's where the conflict starts to come in. Obviously I think raising a child is important, valuable work, or I wouldn't be planning to do it -- and I wouldn't have purposely asked for a part-time schedule at the publication I've wanted to work for for years. I am really looking forward to hanging out with the bambina as she grows and develops; I'm anxious to see who she is, and who she becomes, and I don't want to miss any of it.

But is being a mom Everything? I can't believe that it is. Maybe that's me clinging to my identity as a writer and professional... maybe it's just reality. Whatever it is, I was thrilled to stumble across this post by Moxie and the following discussion in her comments section. Moxie and her posters are a lot more eloquent on this topic than I am at the moment, perhaps in part because, with the bambina still ensconced firmly in womb, I am just making guesses about how I'll feel once she emerges, while most of them have actual outside-the-body relationships with their kids.

Either way, I'm sure this is not the last time I'll grapple with this one.