So I didn't get as far in Infinite Jest as I'd hoped on our vacation, largely because I have a hardcover version of the book. That was important because I'm pregnant and there was no comfortable reading chair in our hotel room, so whatever I was reading had to be balanced on my ballooning belly. I've tried to be mellow about most things pregnancy-related, but I was a little concerned that resting a hardcover version of Infinite Jest on my gut might give my unborn child a dent in its noggin.
Instead I read the used paperback version of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself that I picked up at Housing Works. Written by Amy Richards largely in response to to the 2005 New York Times about women (read: upper-class white women) "opting out" of their careers to be with their children, Opting In is a good survey of topics important to progressive mothers, particularly those who hope to keep working outside the home after their children are born. Nothing in it was revelatory to me, but it reminded me of some important things and provided some good suggestions for how couples can structure their parenting in an egalitarian way. My big take-away was the importance of communicating very clearly with my husband about our expectations regarding the division of labor. Letting that kind of stuff go unspoken -- or letting there be a presumption that the person staying home with the child will do all household work and have no intellectual life -- is exactly what builds resentment, which isn't good for the parents or the child.
Opting In is about much more than parenting, though -- Richard does examine parental leave (and the fact that American policies regarding leave are the worst in the industrialized world; must remember to have the next child in Sweden) and parenting, but also looks at the decision of whether or not to even have children, women's friendships, and women's relationships with their mothers. Again, it's a good survey which will trigger different thoughts and reflections depending on the woman reading it. If you're pregnant or the partner of someone pregnant, it might be worth picking up -- or checking out at the library, at least.