The Missing Pieces of Life by Kristin Nichols

I walked outside to light up a cigarette. I took a long drag and looked down the hill, a beautiful view of downtown Seattle. I stepped back to let a couple of hipsters pass by, and pulled another drag. My stilettos clipped the sidewalk as I paced. The day was chilly, and I wrapped my scarf around my neck shivering a little as I inhaled the crisp air through my nose. I loved the smell of Fall. Laughter and music poured out of the bar down the street as the door swung open, and I waved at two friends exiting that bar. They turned and headed up the street to join us, and I stubbed my cigarette out on the ground, walked back inside and ordered another bourbon. Our friends immediately ordered a round of shots. It was four in the afternoon, I was drunk, I smelled of smoke, and I loved my life. And I was leaving to become a mommy.

I Don't Know Why She Does It by Paige Rien

"Some mothers work because they have to -- others for their own fulfillment." And there it was -- it might has well come in the form of a back-handed slap. Somehow because I am sensitive about my fulfillment -- that it's private and not for outside commentary, I felt like this sentence filleted me and left me for dead. I am overly sensitive for sure -- but on this topic, my sensitivity is off the charts. When pressed, do I have to work? Couldn't we downsize or live more frugally on my husband's income? Yes. Is my own fulfillment an appropriate reason to leave my son? Is that really the only purpose of my work? Somehow "my own fulfillment," sounded about as reasonable for a mother as a heroin addiction.

Monica and Me by Laura Fokkena

Gifted young women like Monica dwell in a purgatory of thwarted ambition. They find that while braininess and aggression are not encouraged, artful manipulation is available as the most powerful device in the feminine arsenal. Monica's byzantine designs to further her affair with Clinton are the brilliantly neurotic symptoms of someone, who, as we say, 'has too much time on her hands.' This big girl should have been mentored to run the world, not run little games around the little men who inhabit it.

Conscientious Objector: an Interview with Nga Nguyen by Michelle Langlois

For those who follow the news about the American occupation of Iraq, the name Jeremy Hinzman might sound familiar. Hinzman is an American infantry soldier who went AWOL, brought his family to Canada, and is claiming refugee status because the military will not recognize his conscientious objection to performing combat duty. As a result, he has been the subject of numerous news articles in publications from around the world. The name Nga Nguyen, on the other hand, is not quite so familiar. Nga is Jeremy's wife, and the mother of their 22 month-old son, Liam.

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