Sunday, February 07, 2010

what makes a good mother?

i've just finished ayelet waldman's "Bad Mother" which i thoroughly enjoyed. i started loving ayelet's writing while reading and re-reading "daughter's keeper" and then started reading her regular contributions to salon.com and subsequent "love and other impossible pursuits", noticing her byline also often accompanied essays i liked in women's magazines. while she stands out as one of my favorite scribers, there are more than a few things that she and i don't see eye to eye on. most obviously, abortion -- she is staunchly pro-choice, while i am definitely pro-life (but that is no different from friends who hold opposing views to mine -- not a deal breaker for me) i do appreciate her honesty in tackling the subject (her own abortion experiences included where she doesn't try to pass off her aborted babies as blobs of tissue) and was excited to read her latest bookful of essays on the topic of modern motherhood (love the books she cited -- "slacker mommy" & Judith Warner's "perfect madness" -- insert reminder here to get my friend heather to return my copy ;) while reading i did a little giggle of disbelief on page 74 in which ayelet deals with the internet's role in unkind comments while debating (it's usually an anonymous thing) "It is the poisonous sludge of the comments sections that you see the worst in people". mmm hmmm ;) i agree.
her book summarizes society's take on motherhood today -- things most of us have struggled with at some time. (the myth of supermom, the competitive parenting that accompanies it, and the self-loathing that accompanies our best efforts "ie, a good mom would never fly off the handle at her kids")
i have to admit, i enjoy my parenting a lot more now than i did the beginning -- not that i didn't then, but now i have the freedom of really only wanting the big picture view for my family -- the kind that encompasses this life and the next, and have made peace with not striving for society's best -- by that i mean i want well-rounded and empathetic for all of us before MVP of this life. (don't get me wrong, it's not that i don't get distracted by what i feel i should provide for my children's childhoods -- it's just now that i get that most of it is the gravy and not the roast beef i first thought it was)
in that vein of motherhood thinking, i loved bad mother's last sentence, "A mother who does her best, and for whom that is good enough, even if, in the end, her best turns out to be, simply, not bad." (i also realized my writing is falling way short on comma inclusion ;) and contains far too many winking semi-colons, but let's not get too critical.

1 comment :

  1. Making toast with a smiley face and that says "smile"--THAT definitely makes one an excellent mother.

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