After reading about two new volumes out just in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve resigned myself to the notion that Mother’s Day will continue to be the hook on which some capitalize on their own insecurities, both intellectually and financially.
Instead of praising stay-at-home moms, what if the media praised all mothers? I’d rather not think about why we need to read about “bad” mothers or “good” mothers. Can’t we just offer help and support to all moms, regardless of what they need?
I love Ayelet Waldman’s prose, but I can’t help wondering why she has a need to draw attention to herself by creating her own firestorm with “admissions” that she loves her husband more than her children or that she’s a self-confessed bad mom. In Waldman’s new book Bad Mother, she details her off-beat mothering experiences, including making sure colorful condoms are on display in her bathroom so her children get used to the idea of birth control, and hitting the “reply all” button on a particularly nasty e-mail exchange with the mother of one of her children’s classmates.
On the other side of the Mother’s Day spectrum is “Dr.” Laura with In Praise of Stay at Home Moms, her hypocritical volume (her son was born in 1985 and her radio show was syndicated in 1994. You do the math) that adds more fuel to the Mommy Wars fire. As an alternative, someone should write, “In Praise of Moms Who Aren’t Judgmental of Other Moms.” But a book like that would be missing one thing.
None of this is really about celebrating or exploring motherhood or examining our frailties as we each approach mothering in our own ways. It’s about money. It’s about selling books. It’s about disguising commercialism as celebration.
As I sit here on Mother’s Day morning with my cup of coffee and the Sunday newspapers (yes, I still get them in hard copy!) I know with certainty that these two books are the only evidence I need that the Mommy Wars will never end. In these troubled times of publishing, anything having to do with motherhood is a sure fire bestseller, especially if it’s aimed at driving that wedge further into the hearts of moms about whether they’re doing the right thing for their families. Because nothing sells books better than fanning the flames of our insecurities.
Maybe if I start now, I can come up with something that will sell a few volumes next year — maybe I can call it “In Praise of Bad Stay at Home Moms and the Moms Who Hate Them?”