You’re among friends, so you might as well admit it. When the headlines, cable TV and the blogosphere scream about a bad mother, famous or not, we can’t get enough. And who’s most intent on sucking the marrow out of these kinds of stories? Mothers, of course! We just can’t resist women like Andrea Yates who in the throes of post partum depression, drowned her children in the bathtub. Or Susan Smith who drove hers into a lake allegedly because the man she was dating didn’t like kids. (I’ve wickedly included the links to illustrate how impossible it is not to feed our need to join the Bad Mother Police.)
What’s our fascination with the “bad mother”? Are we’re secretly gloating underneath our horror and disbelief? Do their reprehensible acts make us feel better about the kind of mothers we are?
Maybe the truth is that we’re so uncertain about our ability to measure up to the mythic “Good Mother” that we readily point to the worst mother model around just to give ourselves a little ego boost. “At least I’m not that bad.” And if we really are that insecure about our parenting, how did we get that way? And more to the point, how can we lighten up on ourselves and other women every time a kid has a meltdown in the supermarket?
In this week’s podcast I talk with Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, And Occasional Moments of Grace.
Back in March 2005 Ayelet wrote an essay for the NY Times in which she stated: “If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.”
Today we’re talking with Ayelet about that breakthrough essay, the immediate firestorm it triggered, and where American mothers seem to be today.
Have a listen here:
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Or, you can download an MP3 version here.
Upcoming guests include:
Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
Diane Peters Mayer, author of Overcoming School Anxiety
Izzy Rose, author of The Package Deal: My (not-so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom
Diane E. Levin, co-author (with Jean Kilbourne) of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood And What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
Hannah Friedman, author of Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool
Dara Chadwick, author of You’d Be So Pretty If…
*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” –Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).