I've only just begun reading Perfect Madness Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner, and already I am feeling better about everything I've done as a mom. If you are a parent, are going to become one, or ever plan on becomming one in the future, I think it's REALLY important for your sanity to read this book. With an infant you've probably only had just a taste of the insanity that is motherhood here in America, but every year your child ages, you are more and more influenced by a standard of perfection that you will never reach, and will beat yourself up over and drive your children mad in the process of trying anyway.
It's almost like I wrote this book. It's everything I've ever bitched and complained about in this very journal, bound up with a hard cover. I never lived in another country to be able to compare though, but deep down I know that the majority of mothers aren't happy with making their children their entire existences, and those who say they are haven't had enough time to really sit down and figure out why they are generally unhappy as a whole, why their husbands don't excite them and why they're no longer excited by their husbands. It's almost as though when you become a mother you're asked to check your personality and individuality at the door. When it doesn't HAVE to be that way, no matter how wrong society says you are. SOCIETY IS WRONG. You don't have to be self-sacrificing over every little thing. You don't have to entertain them constantly to the point where they can't even play outside without having you there to structure their activity. I'm not referring to mom's of babies or toddlers, who actually need constant adult supervision when I say that they should be able to play outside all alone. But even with children that small, there is nothing wrong with sitting them down on the floor or in their playpens with their toys to play by themselves for as long as they can (which isn't much).
There's no reason for any of us to feel guilty for wanting more out of life. There's no reason for us to feel guilty for wanting to read a book, hop on to the internet, ask our children to be quiet for a while and watch a movie or TV show while we daydream for a few. Your house doesn't HAVE to be spotless, as long as you're happy living in it. It's no wonder so many people are choosing NOT to have kids. Look what it turns so many women into. I know a lot of you/us aren't like that, but it doesn't mean we don't feel the guilt or question ourselves. But I won't anymore. I have come to realize it will be a LONG time before I find a mom who thinks like me to go hang out with once in a while, and that not having any friends (mother-friends) is better than having ones who are brainwashed or in denial about who they are.
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