Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Mommy Myth

I'm neither alone, nor original, when I say that I do, with all honesty, frequently stay awake nights wondering how to balance all the aspects of my American dream. Do I even want kids? Not right now, frankly. I'm told that will change. Maybe. At any rate - here's an interesting article from the Washington Post on the book:

"The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women," which she wrote with Meredith W. Michaels. It's an exploration of what it means to be a mother in modern-day America and how, the authors conclude, the media (and right-wing politicians) have perverted motherhood into such a "psychological police state" that no mother could ever get it right, no matter what life choices she made.

"[W]e adore our kids," the authors write. "But like increasing numbers of women, we are fed up with the myth -- shamelessly hawked by the media -- that motherhood is eternally fulfilling and rewarding, that it is always the best and most important thing you do, that there is only a narrowly prescribed way to do it right, and that if you don't love each and every second of it there's something really wrong with you."

This is hardly an original gripe either. It's interesting, however, to note the undeniable selfishness that runs through the article, and we can infer, the book. No more school treats from scratch, no more four hour drives to soccer games, no more putting the kid at the center of the universe 24/7.

I happen to feel exactly that way right now. But I also didn't make the decision to have kids. The authors draw a distinction between the old idea - "having it all" - and the new embodiment of that idea - "having to do it all."

Well, yeah, we do.

Unless we decide not too.

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