Judith Warner's emotion-plucking piece in Newsweek spawned a flurry of postings. Some commiserated and empathized with, while others swore at her notions for why women are going insane as they try to find themselves in the slushy sea of parenting.
All the negativity out there surrounding this Newsweek article reminds me of the New York Times piece a couple of weeks back about Mommy blogs and how they are basically a bunch of self-absorbed parents writing about their kids. Well, now people are jumping at Warner's piece, because she is writing about women who choose to stay home with their kids. The key word there is "choose."
I relate to the article because I'm stressed and overwhelmed and wanting something that isn't easy to latch on to, but I don't relate to the keeping up with the Joneses part of it. I think there are so many valid points...our society just doesn't make it easy for women to be people and mothers, etc. Then again, a lot of the negative comments say that's what sacrifice is. That's what putting your kids first really means. I don't have the answers.
What I got out of it was that women everywhere are stressed out in motherhood. We've "surrendered our better selves--and (our) sanity--to motherhood." I definitely feel insane a good portion of the time. My kid goes to playgroup with his buddies twice a week. Lots of women I know cart their kids all over town to every type of activity you can pay for. But no matter which end of the spectrum you're on, there are stresses. Maybe people don't agree with them, but that doesn't invalidate the premise of the article: Women are often flailing in their quest to do what's right for themselves and their families.
Maybe I choose my insanity. Maybe I choose my depression. And maybe I choose to be torn over who I am and what it means to be a mother, a writer, a person, a wife. I know that my insanity and depression is not because I'm running my kid everywhere. And it's not because I resent my kid. I love being a mom, but I just wish that I could be a mom and also be other things too.
Anyway, Elizabeth over at Half Changed World did a great job of summing up some of the finer points of the article and pointing out some of the interesting blogs written about it.
I was hoping to read more of the comments--both positive and negative--but Technorati seems to be failing me and I'm too tired to keep searching.