Thursday 9 May – The Value of Motherhood

by Keziah Warner

Sara and Annie at Sara’s house, they’ve just finished dinner. Sara is clearing the plates.

Jem, Sara’s daughter, sits at the table with them, playing a game on her iPad. Noise blares from it.

SARA:             I’m not sure we should announce this straight away.

ANNIE:            No I wasn’t thinking that we’d/

SARA:             Although, not a bad time to talk about the value of motherhood.

ANNIE:            I’m really glad we could discuss this outside of the office so that/

SARA:             Did you like your chicken?

ANNIE:            It was delicious, thank you.

SARA:             Actually… maybe it’s the perfect time

ANNIE:            For what?

SARA:             To announce a pregnancy

ANNIE:            My pregnancy?

SARA:             A good news day!

ANNIE:            But it’s not really news, is it?

SARA:             Mums are all over the news this week

ANNIE:            I mean me. Me being pregnant is just… If you were pregnant, that’d be news

SARA:             True. Good optics. New motherhood, a sibling for Jem, taking my job seriously but not too seriously, do you see what I’m saying?

ANNIE:            I think so

SARA:             Tough on the outside, squishy on the inside

ANNIE:            Right

SARA:             Plus any birth over 35 in politics is Jacinda-adjacent which is a real boon.

ANNIE:            Yes…

SARA:             Are you over 35?

ANNIE:            No.

SARA:             Well that won’t work then. But I still think we could spin it

ANNIE:            I don’t want to/

SARA:             There has to be something there – maternity leave or childcare provisions or

ANNIE:            Do we have childcare provisions?

SARA:             I’m sure we do.

ANNIE:            I was thinking of it more as a life event than a campaign strategy

SARA:             No reason it can’t be both

ANNIE:            I’m not comfortable in the spotlight like you are

SARA:             Oh god you are keeping it aren’t you?

ANNIE:            Yes. We’ve been trying so

SARA:             Good. Good, that’s great. Don’t tell anyone you were thinking of

ANNIE:            Well no I wasn’t

SARA:             Because in terms of talking about what has been delivered and what will be delivered, a baby really is the ultimate deliverable.

ANNIE:            I’m sure, I’d just rather it wasn’t in the press before I have a chance to tell people myself. I just wanted to keep you informed as my employer so that/

SARA:             Could you turn that game down a little Jemmy?

She does

ANNIE:            Sara?

SARA:             Yes. Yes. It’s your decision

ANNIE:            Great. Thank you. So, just to prep for tomorrow, we’re announcing funding for three different clubhouses in your region

SARA:             Actual funding or If We’re Re-elected funding?

ANNIE:            One actual, two contingent.

SARA:             Excellent

ANNIE:            So we’ll start at/

SARA:             Did your mother work?

ANNIE:            Yes. She was a single parent so she had to.

SARA:             Mine didn’t. She was involved in committees and volunteering and things. She chaired the historical society and arranged flowers at the church and took evening classes when I was a teenager. And she was treasurer of the local cricket club and involved in a bit of union organising but I don’t think work was really for her. Not quite her thing. I suppose I do wonder about being a career woman. But then I enjoy being a role model. And Jem turned out alright didn’t she? Didn’t you?

Jem does not respond

Will you keep working?

ANNIE:            Yes. Of course.

SARA:             So what did your mother do?

ANNIE:            She worked in a supermarket

SARA:             Oh, that’s good.

ANNIE:            Yes it was steady employment and/

SARA:             Rags to riches

ANNIE:            Riches?

SARA:             You. In parliament.

ANNIE:            I’m not really/

SARA:             But you aspire. You dream. You reach for the stars

ANNIE:            Well I’ve had the opportunity to/

SARA:             And now you’re pregnant. A working mother yourself.

ANNIE:            Sure

SARA:             An inspiration. An aspiration.

ANNIE:            I don’t think/

SARA:             Rags to riches. Yes. That’s perfect.

ANNIE:            Maybe we can discuss it in the morning?

SARA:             Dessert?

ANNIE:            I’m ok

SARA:             Go on. You’re eating for two.

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