Try as I might, I am failing miserably to adequately support my daughters’ working when their children are young and severely damaging our relationships. I need to review honestly my own choices..
I fully intended to return to work full-time after my first daughter Emma was a few months old. I was obsessed with sharing child care equally with their dad. If we had persevered with our original dream to become college professors, that seemed doable. I even considered not breastfeeding because it would impair my ability to co-parent. Reading what I wrote then in my journal, I understand why a postpartum episode was necesssary to transform an intellectual, rational Koch male into a loving mother. I had always tried to be like my dad and brothers and all my male classmates in college. I was the only woman in my political science classes at Fordham and in the political science Ph. D. program at Stanford. I was disappointed that Columbia Law School in 1971 had far more women than I anticipated. In the words of late 60’s feminism, I was male identified..
I fell in love with Emma and discovered that spending my time for children under 5 was the best career I ever had. I only went back to school and work when my youngest daughter Molly turned 5 in 1987. I loved taking care of my grandson Michael 3 days a week until he was 2. Indeed, .Children under 5 are my favorite people.
I realized that I was one of the relatively few feminist women, with my education and intellect, who stayed home with their children full-time for 14 years. Because of the impact of my manic depression on my career, I only worked part-time for many years as well.
I would have decided differently if I had a career I loved that utilized all my abilities and made a differencet. I was tired of editing and seemed stuck.. I was too good at being Editing Supervisor at Basic Books to advance into senior editor. I felt I was wasting my time editing books that I had dropped out of graduate school to avoid writing. I knew I would have to return to school to do something else. But I had dropped out of a Ph.D program at Stanford and out of Columbia law school. I hated school and realized I would have to enter therapy to be able to stick with a graduate program.
I kept a journal from leaving Columbia in 1971 to the fall of 1972 when I got pregnant with Emma. I realize that transcribing it would be helpful for both me and my daughters. If someone had prophecied that I would have 4 children and stay home with them, I would know the prophet was delusional.