Can Motherhood Be a Mode of Rebellion? | The New Yorker newyorker.com

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An amazing essay in conversation with Angela Garbes’s new book, Essential Labor.

a person can get paid more to sit in front of her computer and send a bunch of e-mails than she can to do a job so crucial and difficult that it seems objectively holy: to clean excrement off a body, to hold a person while they are crying, to cherish them because of and not despite their vulnerability.

Her husbandโ€™s job provided health insurance and regular paychecks; Garbes writes that it โ€œmay take me a lifetime to undo the false notion that my work is somehow less valuable than his.โ€

It feels shameful to admit that I donโ€™t have the desire to hustle up that same ladder.

Parenthood likewise forces an encounter with the illogic of the market: good fortune means getting to pay someone less than you make to do a job thatโ€™s harder and probably more important than your own.

parenting toward a more just world requires more than diverse baby dolls and platitudes about equality.

She quotes the writer Carvell Wallace, who, after the 2016 election, told his children, โ€œOne of the most important questions you have to answer for yourself is this: Do I believe in loving everyone? Or do I only believe in loving myself and my people?โ€

How can mothering be a way that we resist and combat the loneliness, the feeling of being burdened by our caring?

motherhood has also granted me a chance to see what my life is like when I reorganize it around care and interdependence in a way that stretches far beyond my daughter.

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Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @KimberlyHirsh
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 This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .

I acknowledge that I live and work on unceded Lumbee, Skaruhreh/Tuscarora, and Shakori land. I give respect and reverence to those who came before me. I thank Holisticism for the text of this land acknowledgement.

We must acknowledge that much of what we know of this country today, including its culture, economic growth, and development throughout history and across time, has been made possible by the labor of enslaved Africans and their ascendants who suffered the horror of the transatlantic trafficking of their people, chattel slavery, and Jim Crow. We are indebted to their labor and their sacrifice, and we must acknowledge the tremors of that violence throughout the generations and the resulting impact that can still be felt and witnessed today. I thank Dr. Terah โ€˜TJโ€™ Stewart for the text of this labor acknowledgement.