I adore Judith Warner’s NYTimes blog Motherlode. Judith lived in France and brings her Continental, as well as American, perspective to the topic of motherhood and American women’s ferocious desire to raise perfect children.
We all know that American women set endlessly perfect standards for themselves, making moms last, denying mothers the right to pleasure because there’s something else, anything else, in the Must Do queue.
I’ve always felt that breast pumps were sort of the last straw for emancipated women.
About a year ago, sitting with two women, one a doctor and the other a pharmaceutical sales woman — both attached to ‘the pump’ — my heart broke for them.
As if American women don’t heap enough fear of inadequacy on ourselves, both women experienced dreadful concern that they weren’t producing enough milk. In spite of all their achievements, they were suddenly facing the prospect of not being able to ‘fill up the bottle’ with enough of their own juice.
Using a simple bottle of formula, the kind that nourished me, was a sign of failure to both women. And they felt that failure, truly and deeply in their hearts. In spite of all their achievements, they were not Grade A women.
I pray that American women find the strength to say ‘no’ to breast pumps and a host of other ‘superior mommy’ trends that have wreaked total havoc in their lives, the lives of their children and husbands, too.
Increasing amounts of research suggest that the nation’s children are actually less prepared for the road ahead, having been coddled, nurtured to death, and converted into mini business brands at the age of five.
Perhaps that it’s time to reassess the pros and cons of American mommydom before it’s too late.
In his later years, even Doctor Spock admitted to serious errors in his thinking. I think motherhood is the big consciousness-raising discussion for our time, and I’m thrilled that Judith Warner and The Atlantic are charging forward on this ‘hot potato’, ‘bun in the oven’ topic. Anne