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Baby Steps

My baby took her first steps yesterday. To see the uncertainty on her face dissolve into joy and then pride was one of the best moments of my life. My husband was home too. And that was the real miracle in it all. Sabrina was considerate enough to choose a holiday for her “stepping out” party. Otherwise we working parents would have heard about it second-hand.

This is the choice we’ve made, of course, and I have no regrets at this point. But while reading the Newsweek excerpt of the new book “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety,” by Judith Warner, a chill came over me. Is what I have to look forward to a lifetime of guilt, misery and inferiority complexes? In Warner’s world, motherhood has no winners, only obsessed former HBS graduates who now channel their manic energy into their kids’ bakesales or working moms who fall asleep at their desks and still never make it home for storytime. Those who stay home feel isolated and unappreciated; those who work feel like they’re disappointing everyone.

I’m new to this working mother thing and still trying to get a good rhythm going, but I think it’s going okay so far. Am I naive to think Warner’s black and white world is wrong, and that there is some middle ground out there, even if it’s not perfectly groomed?

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