Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Riding that High Horse

I’m back on my high horse today. I was going to talk about writing, but get on the train to Pompousville seems to suit me better today.

Boy, bag on motherhood and have the world come after you with pitchforks! Helen Kirwan-Taylor, an expat American who lives in Notting Hill has written an article complaining about motherhood. You can read it here. Seems she doesn’t enjoy much of the chores of motherhood and would prefer to go shopping.

Can you blame her?

She finds children’s birthday parties boring and miserable. Having been to a few myself, I get it. If you’ve ever been to Chuck E. Cheese’s, you can understand. Being in a pizza place with hundreds of screaming children is not my idea of a happy Saturday afternoon. Kirwan-Taylor has been vilified for her opinions. She doesn’t like reading bedtime stories or taking her kids to school. When she takes them to kiddy movies, she text messages her friends.
In everyone’s haste to condemn this woman for her lack of maternal instincts, they miss the point. She believes we devote way too much time to our kids, allowing them to take over our lives. Kids are turning out to be “a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently.”
As mothers, the current belief is to be enthralled with everything our kids are doing. To say that you don’t is to be a “bad mother.” We think we are inadequate if we find motherhood a drag. I know I do.
That being said, I probably enjoy motherhood more than this woman does. I like going to soccer games and taking my kids to museums and such. But I think she makes a good point about how we expect a mother to be happy with her lot and woe to the mom who has the audacity to say it’s boring.
Kirwan-Taylor talks about how boring it can be talking to other mothers at school because their conversation revolved around their children at all times. Oh, how I know that one. I only talk to a couple of moms when I’m at school, I’d much rather chat with my online friends. There are some mothers at my kids’ school who are there everyday, working in the classroom and volunteering any extra hours they possess to school functions. They are fixtures at the school, devoting their lives to their children.
All admirable, I suppose, but, well, boring. They really have nothing to talk about but school and children. These are women who have graduate degrees. Many of them had careers, put the same kind of slavish devotion into their pre-kid careers that they now put into their children. To be frank, I wonder what their motives are. Do they really enjoy this lifestyle? Are they just as happy to type up the classroom newsletter as they would be to doing something for themselves? Some of them probably do. And bully for them.
I do wonder, however, what happens when their kids hit 12 and 13. At 10 my son would rather I took a backseat in his life. I know I would have died with embarrassment if my mom hung around the school when I was in junior high. Children grow up as they should and lead their own lives. Of course Kirwan-Taylor could be right and we will have a generation of spoiled, pampered, over-indulged young adults who can’t function without their mommy’s assistance.