May 15, 2009

"We bad moms are happy to confess our sins because we're confident..."

"... that those who come closest, and with the most sanctimony, to emulating the self-effacing, self-sacrificing, soft-spoken, cheerful, infinitely patient Good Mother are the real Bad Mothers..."

33 comments:

Theo Boehm said...

Damnedest piece of navel-gazing blather I've read in a long time.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Ann Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year was invaluable comic relief for me when I was a first time parent. She does inane stuff when sleep deprived too.

I do wonder about whether writing as therapy is all that great for children, but I tend to think that children are pretty resilient to parents as a general case.

ElcubanitoKC said...

I work with one of those "Super Moms". Her work conversations, AND her Facebook statuses are always about what she's doing with her son, for her son and to her son. Everything is pretty much a cry of "Look at me! I am the best mother!" If anything else, it is annoying as hell. I have told her a few times that her son was born three years ago. It is about time she cut the cord or at least stopped waving it on everyone's face.

And for the record, I have raised children. Not my own, but my youngest niece. So, I do know.

Palladian said...

"I work with one of those "Super Moms". Her work conversations, AND her Facebook statuses are always about what she's doing with her son, for her son and to her son. Everything is pretty much a cry of "Look at me! I am the best mother!" If anything else, it is annoying as hell. I have told her a few times that her son was born three years ago. It is about time she cut the cord or at least stopped waving it on everyone's face."

He'll turn out to be a homosexual. Just watch.

ElcubanitoKC said...

I will feel kinda sorry for him for the fact that she will be too eager to have him do drag...

Christy said...

Didn't Waugh much more gracefully give us the toxic devoted mother in Lady Marchmain?

ricpic said...

As long as she isn't sanctimonious about it what's wrong with a self-effacing, loving, supportive, infinitely patient mother? Nothing.

Except it's square to say so. And rule #1 is one mustn't be square.

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Theo,

Maybe Slate stole the article from the NY Times slush pile?

Bissage said...

(1) In a box, in the back of a closet, when I was a teenager, I found a manuscript my mother sent to Reader’s Digest about ten years earlier.

Told as an autobiography, she lamented the burdens of motherhood and praised television as a Godsend because it mesmerized her children so she could have more time for herself. More specifically, she wrote that she loved television so much she wished it could serve breakfast cereal and change diapers as well.

The manuscript had been stamped with purple ink: “REJECTED RETURN TO SUBMITTER.”

(2) The ironic implications of my habit of posting unflattering autobiographical stories on Althouse have not gone unnoticed.

ricpic said...

But she put up with YOU, Bissage! I'd call that downright heroic.

rhhardin said...

It was hell, says former kid.

John Lynch said...

Social pressure to be a good parent isn't a bad thing, but like everything else it can be taken too far.

Bissage said...

LOL, ricpic.

David said...

Is it just me, or is the column pretty much unreadable?

I'm asking this question seriously. I had a hell of a time following her.

goesh said...

Dad was always working and wasn't around to lay down much law and Mom really couldn't handle us 3 boys, we knew she could enforce nothing so there ya' have it..any single mother would in time go nuts IMO

traditionalguy said...

Everbody has a mother for at least 9 months. Ties like that are never broken. A secret to be learned the hard way is that beginning at ages 9 to 12 the kids have a mind of their own no matter what Mater does or has done birthing and raising them. Being a part of a good social group that accepts an ethical base (like Moses' big 10) but is not legalistic, is the best hope for your young at heart after age 12.Happy Mother's Day.

rcocean said...

Yes, unreadable. Reminds me of an awful NPR monologue.

rhhardin said...

I sense that an idea for an essay was followed up on to the end regardless of what happened.

dbp said...

Palladian, my monitor and keyboard are clean only because I didn't happen to be drinking coffee when I read your comment.

Richard Fagin said...

Most of us would have been better off with June Cleaver. She didn't have to beat her kids on TV because they were trained to have a sense of shame. It was so powerful it even made the viewers uncomfortable knowing what was coming when young Theodore misbehaved yet again.

One also knew that Eddie Haskell was a creep. Now he's President.

Richard Fagin said...

Oops, didn't mean to insult and mischaracterize Eddie like that. Eddie was obsequious to genuine, respectable authority figures. President Obama limits his obsequiousness to third world brute dictators.

srfwotb said...

Required too much concentration for not enough return content. I could feel little patterning interference murmurs after scanning about 3 grafs - right before my brain went "ptooey" and spat it out.

knox said...

One also knew that Eddie Haskell was a creep. Now he's President.

That was my coffee-on-the-keyboard moment.

PatCA said...

I've seen one of these women on Oprah. Feh. I guess they're capitalizing on the backlash to designer kids. Most people just raise them and move on.

Kathy said...

The cure for this sort of thing is simple: have more than one or two kids. Once you have at least three, you have to make a huge commitment in order to avoid outright neglect, but it's almost impossible to pamper and spoil them because you're stretched too thin. If three doesn't wear you down, have another and keep going until you can't quite keep up. It's the Peter Principle for moms!

My sister, a middle child, observed that the world needs more middle children. With all these very small families we have a world with very few middle children and lots more oldest/only children. That's got to make an impact on society, since birth order has a direct affect on a person's personality.

Allison said...

Bad moms are happy to confess their sins because of false modesty turned on itself.

Good moms really are giving, loving, self sacrificing, cheerful women. For those of us who are Christian, the model is Mary. For the rest, Donna and June will have to suffice.

But to be like them is to be square. To admit to trying very hard to do a good job forming your children is square. But it actually matters. Sometimes, there are jobs that matter more than one's own self assurance and ego. Parenting is actually important, and should be done because it's important, whether or not it's fun.

Pogo said...

I Love My Momby the Roches

commenter said...

i have never understood the need for so many mothers today to be so much a part of a child's life, especially after middle school. I stopped volunteering for ptsa and most activities, going to every single soccer game, checking on homework, etc when the kids hit high school.

This was the time i saw the kids had to learn to be on their own. sometimes i was forced by my own silly ridicule to attend things, make posters and rah, rah things for the boys because all the other mothers were attending, and i not would have looked the fool. Mind you, I was never void. I showed support just not constant presence. how are boys to turn into men if mother is constantly holding their hand. They didn't attend so many drinking and festive frat boy events, but they did their dangerous things like riding to school on their bikes on country roads where all the other kids were speeding by in cars from their parents.

On Thursday I saw Katie Couric on tv say something about her daughters and i am thinking of some moms in the lives of my kids way back eight to ten years ago. sometimes i think how these moms of teens that are over fifty just need to mature some because i wasn't that giddy about all that and i went through that at age 37-40.

But maybe it is as kathy says. Maybe it is because I was the over achieving, not much noticed smack in the middle, middle child who didn't get college funds from my parents, who was followed only 19 months by the first male in the family (to be in front of an even taller shadow) Jackie Pelosi tell me how you feel. Maybe it was that all three were bunched together in four point five years. Certainly the fact that i never lived closer than six hours to any relatives , and moved often 14 hours or an ocean away from extended family had to do something with niking my way through parenthood without talking about it constantly.

Any which way, i am fifty and finished and have the faith in my children that they shall carry on on their own. I did start with setting them free around age 13. Strict self adherence to discipline (don't gun tote myself, don't use weed, shit, hash, don't even need to vote or listen to politicians) The rest of you are free to find out if you really need this stuff. I wont restrict you. I'm just looking for the guys who just know they know what they have always known..



signed,

stretched, thin, and non-voting middle child.

halojones-fan said...

"Strict self adherence to discipline (don't gun tote myself, don't use weed, shit, hash, don't even need to vote or listen to politicians..."

...wait, it's a sign of self-discipline that you don't vote?

I also like the part about how it's a sign of self-discipline that you don't shit.

commenter said...

not voting is the only lib'tarian position, isn't it?

http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/davies/davies13.html

and with the best of reasoning, too:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/32846.html

kentuckyliz said...

I like parents who are unafraid of their authority, rather than acting like waitresses eager to cater to the every need and whim of the child, as if that will earn them a good tip.

The former raise happy, secure children, the latter raise monsters.

And yes, when you have only one or two, children are waaaay to precious and nothing can go wrong and they have to survive and succeed because there's no plan B kid waiting in line.

It's creepy when parents want to be friends with their teen kids. This is the developmental stage in life when kids are supposed to turn away from their parents and pay more attention to their peers, then transition that to career mentors. It's healthy to separate from your parents. Whether quietly and politely, or rebelliously and obviously.