Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mojo Mom on "The Myth of the Perfect Mother"

Motherhood has finally become a hot topic in the mainstream media, and it's about time! This week's Newsweek cover story is on The Myth of the Perfect Mother based on an excerpt from Judith Warner's new book "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety." Her book is officially released tomorrow, so I haven't seen an entire copy yet, but I will review it as soon as I can. I didn't know whether to feel elated about the Newsweek cover story or frustrated that "Mojo Mom" wasn't out in time to be part of it. We are all working toward the same goals of making motherhood more sustainable and fair, so that has to be a good thing. My sense from the Newsweek article is that "Perfect Madness" focuses on social commentary, identifying the problems and suggesting public policy changes, while "Mojo Mom" dives headfirst into ways that women can make their lives more sane, starting right now.

Our generational themes definitely click. I think of my Gen X cohorts as the "Free to Be You and Me" generation, and in fact it's worth checking out the book or DVD if you are wondering where your unrealistic expectations of motherhood came from. I was beating myself up for a while thinking that I was so naive not to see the challenges of motherhood coming--then one day we rented "Free to Be You and Me" for my daughter, and there were Marlo Thomas and Harry Belafonte singing "Mommies are people...people with children...busy with children, and things that they do, there are a lot of things mommies can do." This is a wonderful, idealisitc song, from a wonderful idealisitc movie that promised us a gender equity that still hasn't materialized 30 years after we were shown this movie in first grade. I am not complaining--I am waking up from my childhood assumptions that the battles of feminism have been won. I now see that it is our generation's turn to step in as leaders and create new pathways for motherhood, career, and family life that work for each of us. The Baby Boomer's models may not work for us--whether you call us Gen X or the Third Wave of feminism, we've got to work together to find out own way and make our voices heard.


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