The day after my twins were born, my mom handed me the birth certificates the nurse had brought in earlier. I had put them aside, too consumed with the status of my tiny preemies, a few floors down from me in the neonatal intensive care unit, their tiny bodies engulfed in tubes, where they would stay for two months. “They cannot be Parker A and Parker B forever,” my mom said to me now, referring to the nomenclature doctors use for twins in utero and in the NICU. Those little beings in the incubators did not seem real to me at that moment, but she was, obviously, right.
I realized I had no second name, first or middle. In fact, I had no middle name for the first twin. All I had was Natalie. Continue reading
There are some childhood milestones I dread, though I know they must (and should) happen. The advent of the “why” question is one. But the one that I truly detest is the move from the crib to the toddler bed. This is compounded by our Manhattan living situation – three kids in one room. Continue reading
CNN will be showcasing two different female career arcs these next few months. As the network scrambles under new management, pulling in new talent and launching new shows, a potential paradigm shift for women’s careers will be playing out on screen. Continue reading
I have many role models, some famous, some not. Most of them are women. Especially after I became a mother, I looked to mothers with different kinds of jobs and different kinds of philosophies as examples as I figured out my own path. But, if I had to choose one role model, there is no doubt it would be my father.
His work ethic is enviable; his modesty even more so. He doesn’t need public praise or external validation. In fact, he wouldn’t like it if I told him I was writing this essay. He never talked about working hard to us, his six kids, but he did not have to. We all knew. We knew that the comfortable life we had was in suburban Long Island because of that hard work. My father lived the American dream, or North American dream — he is Canadian, after all. He climbed the socioeconomic ladder though his hard work in a way that is lamentably rare today. Continue reading
It’s not easy to diffuse the impact of long-held stereotypes, especially when biology is involved.
It looks like my situation — I’m a working mom and my husband is a “diapering dad“ — is becoming more common. And according to the Pew Center’s recent numbers, the radical change in society in the past 50 years looks like this — women are now the sole or primary breadwinners in four out of ten households — up from 11% in 1960. The study also found that family income is actually higher when the mother is the breadwinner.
A change like this one does not come easily — it alters people’s fundamental notions of family structure, and may not be a perfect fit with the human biological reality. I’d argue a mom can make the money and have thriving kids and a thriving marriage — uterus, breasts, estrogen and all — as long as we don’t pretend those biological differences don’t exist.
The Pew report came out a few days after the release of hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones‘ statements to a group of business school students about the unsuitability of mothers as global macro traders, an intense profession. He said, “As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it” and motioned to his chest, arguing that becoming a mother made women lose focus. His remarks were immediately criticized, especially by those of us who think we were focused pretty well after having babies. Continue reading