Thursday, February 19, 2004

Metamommy crap

Caitlin Flanagan will be writing for The New Yorker:

"If it were possible to splice the DNA of Mary McCarthy and Erma Bombeck without the world exploding," said Ms. Flanagan of her new gig, "that’s what I’m going for. I’m interested in the kind of keen social observation and—at times—caustically precise criticism of McCarthy, but my subject is domestic life. Middle-class Americans used to think of work as a burden and home life as a pleasure—but now people tend to think just the opposite. I’m interested in how and why that change took place. If a household is a tiny state—as, of course, it is—I want to be its chronicler."

Something about that women is just so troublesome. In a recent interview about nannies, Flanagan admitted:

Hard work: frankly, I try to avoid it. When I was in high school, I didn't even plan on going to college. I wanted to go to community college, live at home, and then get married. I like being home! You can read and have snacks and go out to the garden and watch Hot Topics on The View.

That statement makes me want to scream, "Shut up and go back to reading your stupid Martha Stewart Magazine and doing your nails. Shut up shut shut up shut up shut up!" (Very mature of me, I know.) I find it extremely unsettling that this woman's opinions are being read by an enormous number of (can I assume things about the magazines' readership?) well-educated, career-minded men and women. Yet, all of us, it seems, are drawn to her like a train wreck.

Meanwhile Salon features an interview with an author of The Mommy Myth.

"If you're like us — mothers with an attitude problem — you may be getting increasingly irritable about this chasm between the ridiculous, honey-hued ideals of perfect motherhood in the mass media and the reality of mothers' everyday lives," Douglas and Michaels write. "And you may also be worn down by media images that suggest that however much you do for and love your kids, it is never enough."

I am increasingly relieved that I don't read mommy books, whether they be how-to parenting guides or political feminist manifestoes. Now if I can only stop reading about them.

Motherhood isn't exactly a walk in the park (well, maybe every other day we go for a stroll), but I wouldn't say it's rife with difficulty in attaining unfair ideals. Women have been doing it for, well, ever, under all sorts of impossible circumstances. If I have time enough to read about how hard it's supposed to be, I don't have it too bad. (Unless I'm doing something dreadfully wrong...)

That is, of course, assuming Helena turns out all right.

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