“H ow was Suri today?” Tamar asked her younger sister Ruchy, as she scooped up her daughter.

Ruchy handed her babysitting charge over. “She was great.” She paused. “What did you think of the rav’s speech last night?"

“I dunno,” Tamar said quickly. “I didn’t really think about it.”

“Really?” Ruchy sounded incredulous. “Me and Shua were up all night talking about it. Writing a will is like big-people mature stuff and it’s really nice that they’re bringing in a lawyer to discuss things and make it all official, ‘cuz like even if I thought of doing it, if there’s official paperwork involved, it’s not happening.”

Tamar looked around for something to distract her. “Ruchy, you didn’t snap her undershirt again. Seriously, it takes a second, and now she looks homeless, walking around with flaps coming out from under her shirt.”

Ruchy looked at her mildly. “Anything else I’m doing wrong, your majesty?”

“Whatever,” Tamar said. “I gotta run. See you tomorrow.” She gathered her daughter’s stuff, didn’t bother putting on her sweatshirt.

“Wait — what are you wearing to Ma and Ta’s anniversary party? I wanna wear the blue top that you have in green.”

Tamar looked at her sister and practically snorted. “That’s two seasons old. You can wear it.”

Ruchy was unfazed. “Thanks, doll.”

It was a short e-mail. New family-leave policy. Meeting at 1:30 in the main conference room. She didn’t want to go, she always came back to work before her maternity leave was up anyway, and when the kids were sick, her sister stepped in. But she had to go because she was management, positive role model and all that stuff.

The meeting was brief — but enthusiastic. They were now offering three weeks of paid paternity leave, and twelve weeks of paid maternity leave. And there was stuff for sick parents and siblings and kids, and time off, making it easier for mothers. “Most progressive company in New York,” the CEO crowed while the HR people stood at his side with gummy smiles.

Again, it made no difference to her, she never used these things, go be progressive in an area that made a difference to her — financially. Then people could afford nannies and stuff and wouldn’t be bothered with half of this family-leave stuff.

The room emptied and Tamar sat there. Seriously, it was like the world was messing with her. She wasn’t entitled to time off — Suri was almost two — but really, to suggest that she was doing her child harm by sending her to a babysitter? Like HR thought that an extra three weeks was going to make a difference. If they really cared about kids’ futures they’d let moms go on hiatus for two years. This trying to have it all — corporate success and mommyhood — was just confusing. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 566)