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

Read: www.newyorker.com

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.