|I have some knowledge here that most of you would not have, because I saw the author expound on her points on Oprah. So, here are some answers. |
James: As to your point number one, she is of the opinion that the fact that she does not dote on her kids and treat them as if they are the only ones in the universe that it would be good for them. She says that she teaches them to rely on themselves and not on her so that it is less likely that they will need to be taken care of by anyone else. She takes gives them all the tools to be capable decision makers, and all the teaching that they will need to be moral and independent human beings. I think it is clear from her expression that she attends these "mommy groups" that she is not neglecting her children. She is just not doing for them 24/7. If you should be worried about anyone's kids being on welfare, I don't think it will be hers. ;o)
As to your point number 2, I am first sorry for the loss of your father. He was clearly a wonderful and graceful man. My father was also very close to death a couple of years ago and I almost lost him. I cannot imagine a life without him now.
I can see how you may be insulted by someone who is saying what she is saying in her piece. But when she explained further what she meant, she went into great detail about how the words were meant to comment on the fact that she thinks mothers have formed a romantic attachment to their children that does not belong there. She has spent so much time with other mothers and has witnessed mommy behaviors enough to pass judgement. For her, they have lost sight of how important it is to have a romantic relationship with the father of your children. It isn't as if the relationship with her husband is more primary, but she sees the good in her own fulfillment and how that affects her children in a positive way. Let's face it, it must feel pretty great to come back to a hot date night (in a marriage!) after a long week of caring for kids. Moms don't do this enough, and it is not good for kids to see their harried, harassed, tired, unhappy, unfulfilled mothers: even if they get to see them 20 hours out of every day. She says that she is a better mother by not falling into certain traps that "mommy society" throws at her. Wives tend to neglect their husbands for kids and expect them to understand. But if you've been in a relationship for years and paying exclusive attention to each other for all that time, and then just sever that for kids... it just isn't a recipe for happiness. (Contributing factor to the high divorce rate? Maybe?)
Of course abandoning children is horrific and immoral. She would never do this. She does love her children, but they are not the center of her universe, and I am of the opinion that acting in that way is contrary to the goal of raising a productive human being. She considers that her primary goal as a mom. Others raise ignorant kids who think that they are deserving of the moon and stars with no work. Her passion for her husband (in a way that most of us wouldn't think) makes her a better mother...in my opinion.
If any of you had watched the Oprah episode and seen the way the women in the audience and the others in the "round table discussion" attacked her, you would have a much deeper understanding of what the prevailing attitudes in parenting are. These women spoke of deep personal sacrifices and the like. They had lost the sense of the other roles they play, and the good they could do by being both a mother and a satisfied wife. I think her tone comes from a deep sense that something is very wrong with these attitudes. This bothers us too, doesn't it? Just because children are involved doesn't mean she should sugarcoat the pitfalls of altruism. They exist here too.
And finally, Barbara... thank you so much for the kind words. It means a lot to hear someone of your experience agree with the beauty that I saw.
I will inform everyone of the conclusion to the NYT issue.