Day 18: Don't get me started on mommy madness.
Judith Warner wrote a column for Sunday’s New York Times, disputing an essay from the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University that claimed parents today are unhappy because they’re lives are no longer fun.
Warner argues society, with its pressures to have active, engaged children, is putting strain on the American mom. It’s our culture that’s the problem, not the parents.
While I’m in no position to say the American mom isn’t happy, because it certainly seems like she has a lot to complain about, I take issue with at least one point she makes.
Not having access to decent child care or affordable health care or good quality public education is not a question of attitude. Neither is being frustrated that you can’t ever make it home for a family dinner because you can’t afford to work a decent schedule or to live close enough to work to make it home at a decent hour. Talking about these problems isn’t a condemnation of parenthood; it’s a condemnation of the way parenthood is being lived, in our culture, at this particular time.
Did she really just compare not having good child care to having too long a commute? I’m sorry, but having a giant house two hours from work isn’t quite in the same universe as leaving your child in a smelly institution with questionable employees because that’s all a single mom can afford.
If you’ll allow me on my soap box for a moment, if parents feel like they don’t have enough time with their family because their golden shackles won’t allow them enough dinner time, maybe they could sell their minivan, stop enrolling their children in so-called community activities, move into a home that costs $300,000 less than their current McMansion, shop at Pottery Barn a little less and devote more time to their family.
Everyone makes choices.
How about this? If we knew our neighbors, shopped with them at the local market and let our children play at the neighborhood park, we all could become less lonely and more fulfilled. Although, as I know all too well, without a community to make this decision, it’s just one crazy lady taking her kids on bus rides around town.
So when Warner says children are the bright spot in our lives, I agree.
When she says families can’t live close enough to work to make it home in time for dinner, I emphatically disagree.
All they have to do is make a different choice.