Friday, November 28, 2008


Mom takes a break in Chicago

I'm sure the last thing Michelle Obama needs is my sympathy. But, hey, she's got it anyway. The reason? Her vilification in some corners of the press for her recent "momification". Old school feminists are aghast that someone as intelligent and successful as Michelle Obama could deign to swap a highly lucrative job for the (unpaid) post of First Mom. They bemoan the loss of her "independent identity" and fret about the example it sets modern women the world over. Not for them a life where the biggest strategic decision is where to school your kids. (The prestigious Sidwell Friends, if you're wondering.) 

Yet, others believe that in ditching her $300,000-a-year job as vice-president at the University of Chicago Medical Centre to become a stay-at-home Mom, Michelle is just exercising her right to choose: choice being the ultimate victory of the women's movement after all. 

I'm battling with a similar choice myself just now. The Independent is (once again) seeking volunteers to take redundancy. Is this a gifthorse I shouldn't overlook or would unemployment be a waste of years of graft and a pretty decent education? I'm in an agony of indecision. Although I'd like to look to Michelle for inspiration, my problem is that while she will have law firms falling over themselves to make her partner in four or even eight years' time, I'll be lucky if newspapers still even exist by then. Maybe I should just stay put and shut up. Although who then, would look after Louis? The Independent's impending move from the Isle of Dogs (just down the road) to High Street Kensington isn't helping much either. I hardly think Associated Newspapers will have a creche. As someone pointed out, the Mail doesn't even like women wearing trousers let alone Mums coming to work. Answers on a postcard, please.

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