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The Mommy Mystique
washingtonpost.com ^ | February 20, 2005 | Stephanie Wilkinson

Posted on 02/20/2005 9:05:34 PM PST by tbird5

When Judith Warner returned to Washington after several years of living in France, she felt she was a pretty good mother to her two young daughters.

A few months back in the States cured her of that. Suddenly, she was caught up in the modern American mommy rat race and wondering why on Earth what had been so easy in France was so hard back at home.

Friends and acquaintances all seemed fellow sufferers, despite outward appearances. "They had comfortable homes, two or three children, smiling, productive husbands, and a society around them saying they'd made the best possible choices for their lives," she writes, "yet many of them seemed miserable." Like hers, their unhappiness was "a choking cocktail of guilt and anxiety and resentment and regret," a mixture that is "poisoning motherhood for American women today."

Taking a page from Betty Friedan, Warner calls this situation "the Mommy Mystique." (Many of the 150 women Warner interviewed for this book call it merely "this mess.") It's a "culture of total motherhood," she writes, that demands the suppression of mothers' ambitions -- unless those ambitions were directed toward getting Jackson into the best preschool in town or helping Maya score a better grade on her social studies test. Stay-at-home mothers are made to feel inadequate if they want too much time away from their kids. Working mothers are giving up on careers, either because the cost of child care proves prohibitive or because they can't tune out the guilt. Many end up living a souped-up version of a June Cleaver lifestyle, complete with breadwinner dad and PTA-obsessed mother, all the while reassuring themselves that this was their choice. Their toned-down expectations and low-level resentment manifest themselves in sexless marriages and increased rates of depression.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: bookreview; mommymadness; motherhood; parenting; perfectmadness

1 posted on 02/20/2005 9:05:35 PM PST by tbird5
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To: tbird5

They just need to move to red states and it'll all be better.


2 posted on 02/20/2005 9:08:30 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: tbird5

Go back to France.


3 posted on 02/20/2005 9:09:24 PM PST by Belisaurius ("Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Ted" - Joseph Kennedy 1958)
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To: tbird5
Compare and contrast with this post:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1347536/posts?page=22

Certainly it cannot be argued that there is confusion on the subject.

4 posted on 02/20/2005 9:09:33 PM PST by lafroste (gravity is not a force, dangit)
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To: tbird5

A whole lotta whining going on. Must be hormones.


5 posted on 02/20/2005 9:11:07 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (The people previously responsible for this tagline have been sacked.)
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To: tbird5

Yeah, I'll be thinking of my wife's "suffering" when I'm out the door and on the road at 5:30 am.


6 posted on 02/20/2005 9:11:32 PM PST by SteveMcKing
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To: tbird5

Not worth much, IMHO.


7 posted on 02/20/2005 9:12:32 PM PST by guitarist
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To: tbird5
When Judith Warner returned to Washington after several years of living in France, she felt she was a pretty good mother to her two young daughters.

The same France that goes on vacation and lets their parents die in the heat?

8 posted on 02/20/2005 9:13:04 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (The people previously responsible for this tagline have been sacked.)
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To: McGavin999
A marriage, family, and all life must be centered on God. The rat race happens when families forget God and focus on petty jealousies and pride.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods.

You bring up an interesting comment on suggesting that the red states may not have the same sort of problems. I wonder if their is statistics that can back this up. Most red states are God-fearing.
9 posted on 02/20/2005 9:13:04 PM PST by SaltyJoe ("Social Justice" begins with the unborn child. Pardon me if I kneel before the Holy Eucharist.)
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To: tbird5

Does the Washington Post keep running the same stories over and over? The same unhappy, hopeless people interviewed by the same dreary reporters.


10 posted on 02/20/2005 9:14:23 PM PST by speedy
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To: SteveMcKing

My dear husband leaves at 5 AM and gets back around 4 PM.


11 posted on 02/20/2005 9:14:55 PM PST by notpoliticallycorewrecked (I'd Rather not watch CBS)
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To: tbird5

I guess chicks today haven't got enough to be pissed off about.


12 posted on 02/20/2005 9:14:58 PM PST by HIDEK6
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To: tbird5

Every generation we go round and round as the wheel reinvents itself.


13 posted on 02/20/2005 9:20:04 PM PST by Old Professer (As truth and fiction blend in the Mixmaster of History almost any sauce can be made palatable.)
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To: tbird5

Women who sit around worrying about what everyone else is doing will never be happy. It doesn't matter if all the other women stay home polishing the silverware, or work as investment bankers. They will be unhappy because it is impossible to be happy that way. This woman falls squarely into that category.


14 posted on 02/20/2005 9:21:23 PM PST by KellyAdmirer
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To: tbird5

silly people don't understand that a husband and wife have each other by the short hairs. If the couple doesn't keep their focus on God. ummm. things get hairy.


15 posted on 02/20/2005 9:22:38 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: tbird5; KellyAdmirer; speedy; Jeff Chandler; HIDEK6
Yall might find this funny: TightlyWound Blog at BigArmWoman.com

Excerpts:

... The fact that you are stressed out and "feeling unfulfilled" has nothing whatever to do with a lack of support by society at large. It has everything to do with the fact that you are so obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses that you are incapable of being your own person.

...It's not about Quality Time Quotas, Brain Enrichment, or all that other crap. It's called Getting On With It. My grandmother, she of the sixth-grade education and the 14 hour days in the cotton mill and mother of three happy middle-class kids, would laugh in your face for complaining and tell you that these things are NOT HARD. Of course, if you're a status-conscious twit who can't unclench enough to understand that dashing off to K-Mart in your sweatpants is not a sign of abject failure in motherhood, then I imagine things get a lot harder for you.

16 posted on 02/20/2005 9:34:22 PM PST by FreeRadical (That's no Open Container, that's My Beer.)
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To: tbird5
Gee, her kids were raised in France during their early years.

Watch out Mama! In 40 years they'll probably bake you alive in an unairconditioned attic during a heatwave while they take their vacations by the seashore.

17 posted on 02/20/2005 9:35:05 PM PST by NaughtiusMaximus (Progressives are just liberals with an Earl Scheib paintjob.)
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To: tbird5

Nothing like the self destruction of the libs.

They are trying so hard to destroy American families, but they're only destroying their own.

So while they divorce themselves, kill their babies, drive their non-aborted children into excessive drug usage, and inseminate everything except a female egg, they give us in the Red States --- who are more apt to encourage families --- more of an advantage in terms of political numbers.

Poor libs don't seem to understand the unintended consequence of their efforts.


18 posted on 02/20/2005 9:39:34 PM PST by Vision Thing
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To: KellyAdmirer; Thinkin' Gal
Women who sit around worrying about what everyone else is doing will never be happy

You got it. People like this are followers. Always trying to keep up with the Jones's, whether it's career, material things, their kids' activities etc.

They don't do things because it's what they enjoy, but only to impress others. Bah.

19 posted on 02/20/2005 9:41:35 PM PST by Lijahsbubbe
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To: tbird5

Silly woman.. Happiness and joy comes from the inside out, not the outside in.. - Trix Rabbit..


20 posted on 02/20/2005 9:41:56 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: tbird5; McGavin999

What she is saying is that they want government to raise the kids so mommy can do what she feels like and to heck with the kids


21 posted on 02/20/2005 9:50:11 PM PST by GeronL (Bush on the PRESS "They just float sewer out there.")
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To: tbird5
Whoever said we can have it all....LIED.

Life is all about choices. If you want the It's all about my ambitions career, take a pass on the kids. One or the other is going to suffer and I'm sorry to say it's usually the children.

22 posted on 02/20/2005 10:03:17 PM PST by jess35
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To: GeronL
What she is saying is that they want government to raise the kids so mommy can do what she feels like and to heck with the kids

Honestly, I don't know why people like this even have kids. I've always been a SAHM and I've never been bored or felt I was missing out on anything. I just can't understand the mindset that values working for someone else over being with your own kids. Life is as exciting, fulfilling and stimulating as you make it no matter what you do everyday.

23 posted on 02/20/2005 10:08:00 PM PST by gardencatz (Cindie)
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To: tbird5

Oh, yeah...right, Stephanie Wilkinson. Mothers in the USA are all forced to be something like real mothers, because our Government won't be moms to all the kids for your kind. That's a load. ...feminazi.


24 posted on 02/20/2005 10:10:12 PM PST by familyop ("Let us try" sounds better, don't you think? "Essayons" is so...Latin.)
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To: longtermmemmory; shaggy eel; Indie; Fiddlstix
Family/fathers' rights ping!

Feminists continue to want a full nanny state to take care of all of the kids, so feminists won't feel so bad about other women being real mothers.
25 posted on 02/20/2005 10:13:16 PM PST by familyop ("Let us try" sounds better, don't you think? "Essayons" is so...Latin.)
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To: tbird5
Their toned-down expectations and low-level resentment manifest themselves in sexless marriages and increased rates of depression.

Hold on here. Plenty of women use the excuse that they're too tired from working for any fooling around. So if hubby graciously works extra hard to support a non-working wife, now she has "low-level resentment" towards him and cuts him off from sex anyway? How is a guy supposed to react?

Ladies, this is why your men have affairs or patronize hookers. Not saying it's moral or right, but it does provide an explanation.

-ccm

26 posted on 02/20/2005 10:19:32 PM PST by ccmay (Question Diversity)
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To: familyop
Feminists continue to want a full nanny state to take care of all of the kids, so feminists won't feel so bad about other women being real mothers.

Well Said!

27 posted on 02/20/2005 10:19:43 PM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: tbird5
Geez, I'm sick of spoiled liberal sows who have everything feeling bored, depressed, and resentful. I despise resentful people. Exactly what the heck do they have to be resentful about? I am surrounded by women like that in the cushy suburbs of Washington, DC, the readership catchment area for this Washpost article. They are immature, selfish, and unspiritual, and most of them have a very poor attiude toward the men who slave away to make their lifestyle of indulgence possible. They have no idea how blessed they are to be able to stay at home with their children.

Hm. Now it sounds like I'm the one who's being resentful, because I can't go back to being a stay-at-home-mom for the moment like the spoiled liberal sows! I'd better adjust my attitude with a little prayer.

28 posted on 02/20/2005 10:57:04 PM PST by Capriole (the Luddite hypocritically clicking away on her computer)
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To: tbird5
From the article:

If you choose to work, it's up to you to find quality day care. If you choose to forgo the second income and stay home, it's up to you to find a way to afford preschool or a morning out for yourself.
Government should do everything for us! We should have to go to the trouble of finding and paying for our own child care if we want to get away from the kids we brought into the world!

The only way out, Warner says, is for mothers to rejoin the political scene and to call for a new "politics of quality of life" that would create institutions to help us care for our children so that we don't have to do it all on our own.
Yes! And get rid of those icky tax cuts so that government will pick up the tab for spoiled women to have more time for themselves! God forbid we should raise our own kids ourselves!
Interestingly, in the previous paragraph the author wrote about how there should be preferential tax exemptions for people who have children. So, let's see, she wants taxes raised so that the government will fund her free time, but she doesn't want to pay higher taxes. I see. Typical liberal illogic.

29 posted on 02/20/2005 11:09:23 PM PST by Capriole (the Luddite hypocritically clicking away on her computer)
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To: tbird5

*YAWN*


30 posted on 02/20/2005 11:15:34 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (I know a great deal about the Middle East because Ive been raising Arabian horses" Patrick Swazey)
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To: FreeRadical

Thanks for the Tightly Wound article. It was very entertaining. Are these people affiliated with FR? If not, sounds like they ought to be. It was refreshing to read.


31 posted on 02/21/2005 5:10:44 AM PST by speedy
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To: Capriole
So, let's see, she wants taxes raised so that the government will fund her free time, but she doesn't want to pay higher taxes.

Why, of course. It's her world and we're just bit players in it. This woman should be embarrassed to allow herself to be the subject of an article like this. I know the Post meant it to be a sympathetic take on another of its certified "victims" groups, but to me it makes these women look selfish, frivolous and weak. Don't even the editors of the Post at some point get tired of re-running these drippy stories?

32 posted on 02/21/2005 5:27:03 AM PST by speedy
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To: tbird5; All

Stephanie Wilkinson writes like a biter single feminist (paging maureen dowd club). ALL her arguments are the same arguments that have been made from the early days of feminism.

This woman has never raised a child, she has never maintained a household. This type of mandatory ignorance in girls is now standard procedure for all young ladies.

(of course Stephanie Wilkinson is probably no lady.)



33 posted on 02/21/2005 7:37:06 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: jess35

You analysis is simple and correct. However the liberal left can not make choices because they have no training to make choices.

They are taught to never deny themselves any tactile experience. Never worry about money because they can talk others into giving them money. Thay have been taught there is no morality since no moral choice is right or wrong.

....and odly the left teaches the only wrong absolute is anything associated with the right/conservative.

This woman does not even "get it" that being religious is in no way required to being a mother.


34 posted on 02/21/2005 8:13:54 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: ccmay
Hold on here. Plenty of women use the excuse that they're too tired from working for any fooling around....

I am very blessed to have a wife that *really* understands women work largely for their own benefit.

Left to our own devices, most men would be quite content to live in a nice, warm, cave as long as it fulfilled our gadget requirements.

All that "I make you a nice home, raise your children, etc." nonsense is just the female version of giving her a vacuum for her birthday.

35 posted on 02/21/2005 8:40:29 AM PST by papertyger
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To: ccmay

"low-level resentment" towards him and cuts him off from sex anyway"

Working women tend to have affairs, not at home moms. Most stay at home moms adore their husbands for the sacrifice they make for the family.


36 posted on 02/21/2005 8:50:26 AM PST by tbird5
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To: tbird5
Anyone, and it doesn't matter what gender, who puts all their energy toward one goal will go crazy. "Everything in moderation"

I'd bet you could interview some workaholic, suck-ups and they'd say basically the same thing.

I've seen these women and they think raising a child is some kind of competition. The kids have to wear the best, ride in the best, go to the best school, be in the right sports, blah, blah, blah. They are obsessed with them and it's all for their own ego.

37 posted on 02/21/2005 8:55:28 AM PST by tiki (Won one against the Flipper)
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