On motherhood

A mother holds up her child.

Image via Wikipedia

I picked up this book today called,  “the Mommy Myth.” I’ve already devoured almost 50 pages of it! It’s really good, and it kind of confirms some of the reasons I’ve had for not having kids. Reasons I didn’t even really understand until now.

The book’s subtitle is, “The Idealization of motherhood and how it has undermined women.” I think this kind of sums it all up for me (subtitles have a way of doing that.) Idealize is the operative word there. There is this perception of motherhood out there. That a woman has to be the image of the perfect mother. And not only do they have to be the perfect mother, they also have to work full time (because how else are we to survive with a child in this economy?), look and be sexy (thin, in other words), cook, clean and generally look after the house, AND be the perfect wife. That is too much fucking pressure. I can barely keep my house clean, let alone take care of another human life. Why would I want to add the stress of a child into the chaos? Working full time is stressful enough, adding a child into that mix is absolutely insane! At least in my mind.

But there has always been this pressure from all around me to have kids. Pressure from my family and from the general culture. For example, Jennifer Aniston is a month older than me and, OMG she doesn’t have a baby! She didn’t have a baby with Brad Pit! That poor barren woman! Why hasn’t she had a baby yet? Is that a baby bump I see? Is she having a baby with John Mayer? (the fact that we even care about this shit is a whole other rant)

Such bullshit.

Would it be so horrible if she decided not to have kids? Why do we think she needs to have a child?

Why is it so important for women in our society to have children?

This book seems to ask the same questions and it talks about the way the media has idealized motherhood through the years. I’m finding it fascinating. The first part of the book gives a brief history of the Feminist movement in the 70s and how during that decade, briefly, the media embraced Feminism. I am realizing that, as a child of the 70s, this must have somehow shaped me. I am definitely a feminist and I have feminist attitudes, though I have never formally or informally studied feminist theory, ever. It must have sunk in, though.

I’ll give a more thorough review when I have finished the book. These are just some preliminary thoughts on it. Definitely enjoying the read so far!