Monday, March 13, 2006

Perfect Madness

I am currently reading a hot button of a book, Perfect Madness. This post is not a book review or a summary or even a laymans try at critiquing the book. It's a post about my feelings on the subject matter in general, which boils down to this: moms in America are over-parenting control freaks.

There has already been so much written about this book (you can read all 69 editorial comments at the above link, if you so choose) that anything I would have to say would be redundant. However, I must say....A lot of what Warner writes is absolutely fucking true and any mom who says that she loves being at home just as much or even more than she loved working hard at her career is either lying to herself and everyone around her or she is crazy religious a la Angela Yates. I love my children. I think 99% of moms do (people who dump their babies in public restrooms/dumpsters excluded) but I hate being at home with them all day long because THEY CONSUME MY LIFE. And, I think it's this overwhelming, blood-sucking feeling that is at the heart of Warner's book.

There are those people who consider SAHM's "lucky" and we are but not for the reasons people think. We can go to the gym during off-times. We can grocery shop with leisure and enjoy our tea in the middle of the afternoon. But, we are also expected, whether implicitly or not, to keep a clean house, clean kids and at least know what is being served for dinner that evening. We are also responsible for scheduling ALL the appointments for everyone in the family including our husbands and the family cat. Life would be a bowl of cherries if we could just go to Yoga class, drink tea and fuck our husbands. But, the keeping and caring of a household on a daily basis requires more energy than one person has unless you're on meth, which apparently some mothers are.

But, I digress. I think parents need a break from their children on a regular basis. Otherwise, how are children ever going to become their own people? Kids who spend every minute with mom or dad become a carbon copy of them. That's kinda scary, yet I see it at my daughter's school. Every other parent is a scientist who thinks they are raising the next Einstein or Marie Antoinette. These parents freak out if their children want to play rather than map the constellations. The contingency of mothers about whom Warner writes are the other parents in our school! They've ratcheted down their high-powered career but have turned all that excess energy and ambition onto their (usually) only child. Boy, do I feel for these kids because once they leave the fold of our little republic, they are going to have some serious problems maintaining any sort of relationship because all they've ever known is school-school-school. And, there is so much more to being a kid than fucking school! But, that's the uber-parent for you. Can't let little Johnny or Susie go to the park because they might meet the "wrong" sort of kid and discover fun. No! Gotta keep them locked in their rooms researching the cure for cancer.

Which brings me back to the book. It is not a self-help book. There are no twelve steps to perform that will prevent or cure uber-parenting. Instead, it's a commentary on the state of modern parenting that leaves one to draw their own conclusions. I conclude that I need lots and lots of Prozac.

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