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Jun 21 2012

The Case Against “Opting Out”

By at 12:08 pm
woman working keyboard

Would women be better equipped to fight the war if more highly educated mothers went back to work?

Get out your virtual pitchforks. I’m about to defend Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Last week, the writer-turned-lawyer curried ire with many a stay-at-home mother (#sahm, in Twitter verse), when she denounced “1% wives”–referring to America’s most privileged, educated women–as collaborators in the “war on women.”

In her red-meat-for-the-blogosphere polemic, Wurtzel argues that “being a mother isn’t really work” because it’s not selective. “A job that anyone can have is not a job, it’s a part of life, no matter how important people insist it is (all the insisting is itself overcompensation),” she writes. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 19 2012

Are Stay-at-Home Moms Really Killing Feminism?

By at 1:39 pm

rich mom pushing expensive strollerBeing a “real feminist” is apparently when you write an article for a national publication deliberately denigrating other women, and get paid to do so.

That was what I learned from reading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay in The Atlantic, “1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism And Make The War On Women Possible.” The essay is fairly mean-spirited. Here, for example, is the first paragraph:

Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2012

Why Did Nobody Tell Me Being a SAHM is So Much Fun?

By at 4:02 pm

m.r.s. degreeI went to college. I am a voracious reader. I used to be a news junkie, and watch all the shows, and go to dozens of movies a year.

So why did I never, in my 30-plus years on the planet, receive any clear and believable messages that being a full-time, stay-at-home mother is a fantastically rewarding job that I should have considered pursuing at a younger age?!

I learned early on that I could be an airline pilot, a doctor, or President of the United States, but I don’t recall any enthusiastic advertisements to the effect that being a wife and mother is ridiculously fun, not to mention a hell of a lot less stressful than a paid job? Why weren’t there any pamphlets at the college-and-career center itemizing the rewards of an M.R.S. degree? How come no one ever casually mentioned, “You should plan ahead to ensure that you are married and having babies by your late 20s, because that way you’ll have time to fit in multiple pregnancies before your ovaries give out and your pubic hair turns gray”? Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2012

I Am a Feminist Mother… Who Stayed at Home

By at 9:44 am

feminist mother megaphoneI have practiced “feminist mothering” for thirty six years. Really.

I was at Barnard College just as the modern feminist movement was unfolding in the early 70’s. There, I learned to respect my own choices and to have the confidence that I could accomplish anything I wanted to do. There we “girls” were convinced that we were as smart (actually, usually smarter) than the boys we knew. There we were convinced (as if we needed convincing) that we should proudly feel smart and not hide it. That we should only be with men who respected our intelligence and our bodies. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 19 2012

The Accidental Stay-at-Home Mom

By at 11:47 am
curriculum vitae typewriter

My CV could use a good dusting off.

First birthdays are bound to bring out the reflective in a person, and I’m no exception. Avi and Maya turn one tomorrow, and for the last few weeks I’ve been reflecting like crazy. I’ve learned a few things this year. Here they are, in no particular order:

It’s not helpful to compare myself to others. Yes, its super crazy hard not to, and I’ve always been one prone to torturing myself by making illogical comparisons, but I understand now that when it comes to my girls and how they’re faring, it’s not helpful to measure them against French babies or Chinese babies or my friends’ babies or the babies that people write about in parenting books. That practice generally does nothing more than wreck havoc with my already havoc-ridden brain. We could all parent better, and most of us are doing the best we can. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 16 2012

Weekly Roundup: The CEO vs. The Stay-at-Home Mom

By at 11:36 am

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

the conflict elisabeth badinter

– Forbes asks: Is Modern Motherhood Working Against Women? Not according to one woman, the CEO of a tech company, who explains how she was able to be a business woman and make attachment parenting work for her family. (Forbes)

– For those who question just how busy stay-at-home moms really are, here’s a chronicle of a day in the life that will make you tired just reading it. (Shine)

Laurel Snyder, Kveller contributer and author of Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher, talks about raising her Jewish kids with religion, but not too much religion–i.e., they don’t keep kosher. (CNN)

– And for your daily dose of cute, here’s a baby who absolutely loves being vacuumed (Jezebel):

Feb 8 2012

From My Days on the Forefront of Women’s Lib

By at 4:32 pm

women's liberation protestAlina Adam’s post on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique inspired me to leaf through my copy. I’ve never actually read it but it is a treasured memento. In 1963, when I was still a little girl, my feisty, well-before-her-time grandmother bought up a whole bunch of paperback copies (still marked on the cover at $.75 each) and gave them out to friends and family. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 6 2012

On the Feminine Mystique and Not Wanting to Have it All

By at 2:58 pm

feminine mystique betty friedanBetty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in February of 1963. However, excerpts of what would become her celebrated work appeared in Mademoiselle as early as 1962–exactly 50 years ago.

And though it is such a part of the American culture that I felt I knew what it was about, I didn’t actually read the entire thing–as opposed to references, reviews, analysis, etc.–until last month. It wasn’t at all what I expected.

For one thing, I was surprised to learn that what we now call Helicopter Parenting was a phenomenon described– if not similarly named– by Ms. Friedan as far back as five decades ago. Only her primary concern was for the syndrome’s effect on the mothers. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 2 2012

Can’t We All Just Get Along (And Not Judge Each Other’s Strollers)?

By at 4:10 pm
stroller

Is my stroller good enough for you?

Renee Septimus’ article “Enough Already with the Mommy Wars” about the battle between stay-at-home and work-outside-the-home moms (because we are all working moms) got me thinking about judgment. It makes me cringe to think of how critical moms can be of one another’s career choices, and it extends beyond paychecks. If you don’t have the right car seat/stroller/enrichment class, other moms might smile (out of sympathy?) to your face and then badmouth you to anyone who will listen.

My answer to, “What do you do?” is, “As much as I can.” My first job and priority is SAHM. After that, I am a freelance journalist, and I teach group cycling classes at local gyms. I work when my daughter sleeps or is at preschool. When she is around, she has my (mostly) undivided attention. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2012

Enough Already with the Mommy Wars

By at 3:30 pm

mommy warsThe other day I was channel surfing as my grandson was sleeping and Anderson Cooper had a show on about the “mommy wars.” Yet another spotlight on this very tired topic, based on a recent study from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, which claimed that women who worked outside of the home were “happier and healthier” than full time stay-at-home moms. The panel consisted of three women in each camp and an “expert.”

OY! Not again! Forty years of this conversation is more than enough already! Read the rest of this entry →

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