Jill Zimon and I can be a force of nature. We seem to feed off of each other’s creative energy and intellectual passions. So while I took some time out yesterday for some much-needed research for story pitches, I happened upon a book called “Mommy Wars,” by Leslie Morgan Steiner, being published in March 2006.
Readers may recall my absolute disdain for such sobbing and whining about the difficulty of motherhood when Judith Warner published her high society screed, “Perfect Madness,” last year.
So I forwarded the catalog entry from Random House to Jill and her immediate response, like mine, was “ICK, ICK, ICK.”
She posted a great entry yesterday imploring us to quit the sobbing. I concur. The point today is how to tell the story of real moms without the sobbing and whining. Is motherhood difficult? Hell, yes (just look at yesterday’s post). Is it tough to be a working mom? Absolutely. Is it tough to be a stay-at-home mom? You bet. Is it tough when you lack the choices between the two? Most certainly!
So let’s have a serious discussion about what makes motherhood challenging in the 21st century to ALL of us, not simply those who have trouble with the nanny, and how we can overcome some of those obstacles. Jill wrote this powerful op-ed in the PD last Mother’s Day and captured why we really have nothing about which to complain:
To rant about my life as difficult, when thousands of mothers who bear the burden of these special circumstances live within miles of me, would be insensitive and insulting, to say the least.
And, because I believe it to be such a strong statement, capable of changing the world, I’d like to share her conclusion:
When beliefs about how mothers should fulfill numerous roles clash with reality, we need to correct those beliefs. We must not settle for merely educating others - through our complaints - about the pain or impossibility of role integration. Rather than cater to the unattainable and destructive goal of perfection, we need to change it. Through our actions and our words, we must model a balanced and achievable image of motherhood.
How else will our children learn to value it? BINGO! Can we at least hope for better for the next generation of mothers and fathers?
So let’s quit pitting one segment against the other because it’s the kind of bitch-fight that, frankly, serves no one. More importantly, doing so leaves out the majority of mothers today who simply lack the choice among the options.
Let’s celebrate modern motherhood in a way that makes us all proud to say, “I’m a working mom," “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” "I'm a single mom" or "I've chosen not to be a mom" without all the societal baggage and mudslinging those statements currently evoke.
Send your ideas and thoughts to:
wendyhoke (at) comcast.net
jillzimon (at) sbcglobal.net