The Poetry of [US] Women’s Work

world map

Dr. Peggy Drexler – Huffington Post – Tuesday, 16 April 2013 (originally published 10 Apr)

I’ve never liked the term “working mother.” To me, it implies that I’m some kind of subcategory, and not a full member of the club. The label also combines a bit of praise for a superhuman effort with a whiff of disapproval for the fact that balancing work and family means someone is getting shortchanged. “Working father,” meanwhile? You don’t hear it.

The bed and desk both want me.
The windows, the view, the idea of Paris.


With my minutes, I chip away at the idiom,
an unmarked pebble in a fast current.

— Rachel Zucker, from “After Baby After Baby”

For as long as I can remember, I wanted success as a researcher. I wanted to be in all the best journals. I wanted to discover great things and write books about what I learned. I never even thought about being a mother. But then early in my 30s, motherhood was all I thought about. Unlike today, that was the age when most women reached their go/no-go decision on having children. This was not a conscious choice. It was an emotional, even physical need. Every tick of my biological clock sounded like a rifle shot . . .

. . . read complete article . . .