Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Go Time

Alright, I have taken a nearly 4 month sabatical from this blog. I had every intention of letting it die a natural death, but a recent trip to Texas (both Houston and Austin) have inspired me to write again. As has catching up on some other people's blogs and realizing that I do like to write. With the caveat that I may not always have something entertaining or important to say.

So what to write about - the trip to Texas? J and I going to Disney World? Halloween and J's current obsession with all things Egypt? My old firm announcing that it is happy time again, while my new firm just stays the course (which to be fair is always the way the new firm works, so it weathered the bad economy better)? Another failed attempt at on line dating?

I think I will write about most, if not all of those things in the upcoming days, but right now I am going to write about parenting. I just read this article in the WSJ (ummm, yeah it is the middle of the day, but the Wisconsin race-notice statute is just not doing it for me).

The premise (basically) is that parenthood, in these times of glorified "attachment parenting," has become a modern-day prison for most women (it dabbles in effects on parents in general). That is a lazy summary but this has always been, and will continue to be, a lazy blog. Also, while the article starts off strong, it gets kind of (in my view) directionless rambling, going through control issues, helicopter parenting, right wing agendas, and prenatal issues.


Anyway, Erica Jong tells us that moms (all parents, really) can't compare themselves to celebrities and people with unlimited resources. Yeah, duh, thanks, but also, then what are you? I mean Jong says that she had to leave her child with nannies and fly all over the country lecturing, etc. So who are you more like, Erica? Me or Giselle Buchananananan or whatever her name is? Unless your next novel or poem is going to be published to a court via an electronic filing system, or your travels involve the $4 toll over the Ben Franklin Bridge, I say you are more like Giselle than me.

You know what, I liked this article at first. It was like YES! I feel that way...then I felt like, nope that isn't me, I am not a crazy parent. I have fits of "I suck at everything" (job, being a friend, dating, PARENTING), but really of all the things I have to do, I am a good mom. I am fairly unconcerned with how others view me as a parent as well. Plus, I was never really a feminist so what ever I am doing, isn't setting back the movement. So the article is not about me.

THEN as I was writing, I realized I may hate this article for its failure to recognize that it is coming for a place of accomplished psuedo-celebrity. Yes, Jong notes that she was a single mom who relied on nannies, but a single mom who had a best seller and a pretty glamorous career. Now, I also realize that sometimes when I bitch about my life, and my overwhelming sense of being totally fucking average at best, I might be the Erica Jong viz a vie parents who struggle more than I do with issues of family or finances, etc. Long story short, I am still undecided about this article.

I leave you with this quote from Dr. Spock (taken from the article)

The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all. Furthermore, all parents do their best job when they have a natural, easy confidence in themselves. Better to make a few mistakes from being natural than to do everything letter-perfect out of a feeling of worry.

As someone who did not read any baby books (for serious) and have a pretty cool kid (although I may get mine soon enough and attribute a big chunk of her coolness to nature over nurture), I think that this advice is dead on. Just do what feels right and it will all be good.

Well, glad to be back. Don't mean to offend anyone with this post. I will be more fun and have pictures of J up again soon.


TA said...

I had a similar reaction to the Erica Jong article. She had some good points about how pressure to be the perfect organic attachment-parenting mother is a trap for women, but got all random with dissing celebrity adoptions and whatever.

Did you read the "companion piece" by her daughter? It's a passive-aggressive masterpiece about how Erica didn't pay much attention to her because she was too concerned about her career, and how she (the daughter) is now a stay-at-home helicopter mom.

The whole thing made me think--why doesn't she (the daughter) talk at all about the role her father played in her life? Why is it all about mothers?

J U S T S O M E G UY said...

Yay! So glad you are back!

Letter Paper Flower said...

Soooo happy you're back! Totally agreed with you. Not that I'm a parent, but I have no patience for all the madness that goes on with some parents I know. I love you laid-back moms, you always have the best kids!