I just picked up a copy of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner at the bookstore yesterday. I’m only one page 10, but already I have decided this book will most likely offer a plethora of writing ideas for this blog.
The first interesting fact that I’ve come across is that the author, who lived in France when her children were born, found that French women as a culture never really considered guilt a consequence of being a working mother.
Instead they feel that work is a desirable part of life and that it can help children, since those children who see their mothers doing something healthy and good for themselves and their families will become balanced.
Not only this, but French women believe women taking time to do things for themselves and with their spouses are considered to be living a more balanced life than those who do not.
Now, think back to the last time you left your child at daycare (or the time before that, or the time before that, or one of those times!) Can you honestly say you never feel one ounce of guilt doing so?
Or how about the last time you decided to take a night out with the girls, or a weekend away with husband? As you left your children at home was there a twinge, a pang, a stab of guilt in your chest?
Warner states that this idea that mothers do not have time away from kids, even stay at home mothers, was considered obsessive and, well, as she states, “Just plain weird,” in France.
When she returned to the states she found that mothers here were filled with guilt and anxiety about things such as had they made the right choices in working and were their children being taken care of well.
How does this make you feel?
Do you feel uncomfortable with the thought that some women in other cultures would look at all that we do or try to do and find it strange, even possibly obsessive?
Do you feel that we, meaning American women, put too much pressure on ourselves to be the ‘perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect employee’ – and therefore drive ourselves in the ground?
Do you believe we can ever lead a combination life of mothering and working that does not include that horrible five letter word Guilt?