The Washington Post
Welcome, Baby Bowser
The D.C. mayor’s daughter is a reminder of progress in how we define family.
D.C. MAYOR Muriel E. Bowser (D) has adopted a child, a girl who was born last week and has been named Miranda Elizabeth Bowser. Congratulations are in order. “Babies,” as D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) tweeted in his salute, “create a new dimension on the joys of life.”
The mayor, understandably taking time away from the office, asked for privacy as she bonds with her daughter and begins to settle in to the demands of motherhood. The request should be respected by all means.
Still, we think it’s possible to respect the request and still take note of the significance of the event. Ms. Bowser will be the first single mother to oversee the nation’s capital not so long after a time when it was hard, if not impossible, for a single person to adopt at all. Unmarried adults were generally viewed as undesirable prospects for parenthood; some states even had laws barring single-parent adoptions. Ms. Bowser’s ability to adopt at 45 and never married underscores the strides that have been made in placing children in homes that serve their interests rather than some outdated cultural notion of worthiness.
Good that the definition of family has expanded, and good, too, that Ms. Bowser believed she was at a point in her life where, as she put it so touchingly, “I had so much to share with a baby.” There are, to be sure, challenges to raising a child alone, but twoparent households also wrestle with problems, as do families where the parents have separated or divorced.
No doubt Ms. Bowser, like all new parents, will encounter the unexpected (for starters, she may regret that decision to take just one week off ), but that, too, underscores something significant: The strides made by women in the workplace, which, as a result, has at least in some instances become more accommodating to the needs of parents.
Ms. Bowser’s decision to adopt a baby despite her demanding job comes as record numbers of women, many with families, are running for political office. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) made the point that women don’t have to choose between career and family when she brought her newborn to the Senate floor so she could vote. That all hopefully sends a message to other women and their daughters about their own capabilities and possibilities.