When I first starting blogging 15 years ago, I had two really little kids, a brand new PhD, a hubby with a temp job on Wall Street, and $70K in student loan debt. I blogged a lot about parenting at the time and the difficulties of combining it with a career. We couldn’t afford much childcare, so that complicated matters enormously.
Fast forward to today, I spent the morning fact checking an article that is almost done, waiting for another one to pub, and developing three proposals for articles. I’m combining all that with mom jobs, like processing some paperwork for Ian and buying plane tickets to visit the in-laws in April.
And all work will cease when Ian walks in the door at 3:30. I’ll tidy up the kitchen, and take him to an autistic teenager social function at the bowling alley.
This patchwork life of paid and unpaid work is working for me. I have no regrets about how things turned out.
But I wasn’t the only one that was semi-obsessed with work-family balance 15 years ago. It was a front page topic on The Atlantic and the New York Times Magazine. Feminist blogs agonized over the choice to stay home. I don’t see people talking about it much anymore, even though the number of SAHM has stayed constant for decades. The hot topics in parenting lately have been universal childcare and whether helicopter parenting works.
It’s funny how the chattering class chews up topics for months and then the topics get stale and boring and they move on. Right now, I think Donald Trump is steering the conversation too much. We shouldn’t be responding to craziness, but making craziness respond to us.
What should we be talking about more?
It’s when I’m on twitter, reading the comments of other education writers who are all twenty years younger than I am, that it brings back all the drama of those early years. Stitches and stomach bugs. TV time. First steps. Even though we’re not talking about parenting struggles in the press much anymore, those little tweets remind me that raising babies never changes.
Here’s what I looked like back then. Sigh. 15 years took its toll on my face.