Friday, November 7, 2014

Children's Theatre: The Emperor's New Clothes

On Thursday we attended our first play of the 2014-15 season of children's theatre. We enjoyed The Emperor's New Clothes.

The day before we'd prepared by reading the familiar fairy tale at bedtime. The children curiously asked how the play would show that the emperor was naked, so that led to a lively brainstorming session about the different conventions that could be used while maintaining decorum (e.g., we never actually see the emperor because he is always off stage, with the villagers staring and pointing at him out of our sight).

We had a good morning and it was the first time I drove to the theatre without getting lost beforehand, an achievement that took me only three seasons.

Bonus Reading (unrelated): The most cheerful, charitable, and humorous response I've seen to President Obama's poorly chosen words about not wanting women to have the choice to stay home raising their children: "The Perks of Stay-at-Home Mothering: An Open Letter to the President" (by a homeschooling mother of seven)

This response isn't as humorous or charitable, but resonated with me since I also left law school to become a stay-at-home wife and mother: "Dear President Obama, I Quit Law School to Stay with my Kids." It was a purposeful choice even if I get to watch my female counterparts who stayed in law school possess very high earning power and receive accolades from the world.


  1. They are so cute!! I remember the days, way back when in public elementary school, when I went to the children's theatre... -Emiliann W.

  2. In friendship (albeit internet stranger friendship but still with kindness!), I would offer that I did not interpret the President's comments to "knock" moms choosing to stay-at-home but instead knocking the difficult or forced decision that staying home/not becomes for many - financial or simply personal.

    Consider instead the choice to which he could be/is likely referring (although poorly worded) is actually not having a choice to stay home because we are nearly always "punished" with wage disadvantage in the job market if/when we choose to return. (There is a measurable discrepancy in equal pay for equal work already regardless of one's status as a parent...)

    I believe the message is that if women want to work they should be able to earn a living wage doing so, if women want to stay at home they ought to be able to re-enter the workforce if they so choose. Many, many women do not have the choice to stay home, whether it is just 12 weeks post post-partum or even for a few years, for fear they will lose their job entirely, certainly end up on a lower pay scale, or never be able re-enter the workforce even if she needs or would like.

    I know for me an inflammatory or misguided (intentional or otherwise) remark related to motherhood can really sting because there are many (myself included -- wait, no -- myself at the front of the line!) who, although we know whole-heartedly that we are doing really important work raising and teaching children, continue to swim against the tide of self-doubt and what-might-have-beens ...

    Just a thought....from a well-educated, stay-at-home-by-choice, homeschooling mom. :)

  3. Readers (at least one making this point off-blog): I should have been more cautious before foraying even a little into the world of politics. Honestly, I live under a rock and never even read a full article on the words the president supposedly spoke about stay-at-home mothers. I saw only the outraged responses. As a rational person, I had a feeling that he had merely used a very poor choice of words. I really doubt President Obama is saying that even women of wealthy professionals must stay in the workforce and not have the choice to stay home. I tried to express that a tiny bit in my blog post by saying the words were "poorly chosen," but I probably should have said nothing without having done research . . . and I have no time to do research on anything these days!

    That said, I really don't see a way out of this truth. Someone who chooses to be out of the workforce for 10-20 years is not and should not have the same earning power when she re-enters the workforce as the worker who valiantly stayed working, keeping skills sharp, gaining new skills, and maintaining professional contacts all that time. How could it be otherwise? And how would we force employers in a free market system to say they have to hire people for XYZ position and all pay them equally high no matter their qualification, no matter whether they've worked in the industry for 20 years or they've been staying at home for kids all that time? I just don't "get it." In my view, this is the price we pay for doing something we feel is more important to do.

    And to Anonymous specifically: I really understand swimming against the tide of what-might-have-beens. I watch my female cohorts who stayed in law school, I watch their earning power, I watch their accolades and praise received and that stings badly.