Today I realized that in fact, it has been five years since I first moved to Italy back in July of 2006. Overall it was a good move, though Italy (along with the US) is not without its faults.

I am sitting here in my little home office, surrounded by my two cats appropriately enough as I continue animating the final scenes of Veggie Propaganda. Out of 60 scenes total, I only have eight left to complete now. It has been bittersweet having a chance to turn my full attention finally to my own projects after the summer semester finally ended, leaving me two uninterrupted months to work. -Except that I’m never completely uninterrupted. I have a wonderful 21 month-old son who needs my love and attention, as well as a wonderful husband, and another baby on the way due in December.

I notice that in resumes and in online portfolios, people very rarely mention their families, especially women. I am glad to live in a country that recognizes the needs of working parents and offers generous maternity and paternity leave, subsidized child care, family leave, and other benefits. Granted, I would argue that women have FAR more opportunities and garner more respect in the US, but Italy is indeed at least a better place for mothers. This is of course the country where adult children in their 30’s and 40’s still live with Mamma after all.

That said, my family DOES intend to return to the US one day and that fact has made me take notice of the support that working mothers DON’T get there. Women often have to choose between inflexible 60-80 hour work weeks and becoming almost strangers to their children or staying home sans-paycheck indefinitely at least for several years. There are very few happy mediums. I’m currently researching entities and organizations in the US that are trying to make things better. It’s not a cause I’d ever thought I’d take up, but I suppose certain issues don’t seem so important until they affect you directly.