Sunday, September 30, 2018

Working Like a Mother

Here is an eloquent description of struggling motherhood by a writer and playwright. I know so many mothers in other occupations who have been through similar stress, women for whom staying home with their children was not an option because of precarious finances. And women are so hard on other women. From Howl Round:
The Conceptual:

1. The Disappeared. When I was pregnant, I was shocked by how many colleagues said to me, “Oh, you’re about to disappear.” I still bristle at the word, especially since becoming a mother has only made me a stronger, more vivid version of myself. I am now a superior multi-tasking, time-managing, prepared-for-all-type-of-disaster, human-life-giving, pumping-in-an-airplane-bathroom while opening-two-world-premieres deeply empathetic human. Yes, making time for work is more complicated now. But I’d argue the work itself is better, deeper and more confident. Do not automatically assume that new mothers cannot do the things that they once did. And do not assume she can't do something because she just had a baby. Let her tell you what she can do.

2. Time and Space. At the very same time, allow mothers to take the time they need with their kids without making assumptions about their ambition.  After I gave a speech at the Ars Nova gala when I was two months post-partum, citing it as the first time I’d ever been away from my kid, a female colleague said to me disdainfully, “Did you really not leave the house for two months!?” And I stood there stunned and stammering, feeling like I had somehow failed as a feminist by not leaping back into the world as soon as I could walk again.

3. Visibility. I really appreciated Kirsten Greenidge’s comment in American Theatre’s profile of Ilana Brownstein: “Children are real facts.” We need to talk about our kids and our needs more openly. We need to normalize motherhood.  We need more women behind and in our productions. We need women in decision-making positions. I challenge every theatre to examine how many mothers they’ve hired for their next season—and if the answer is little to none, to determine why that is. Is it because you unconsciously decided these women weren’t up to the task? Or because you deemed their family situation too “complicated” to figure out? (Read more.)

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