i'm taking a deep breath.
reading this book was extremely trying.
sometimes i felt affirmed because badinter makes a good point: the expectations placed on bourgeois mothers can seem (needlessly) herculean (asking us to go well beyond our biological imperative of procreating and surviving), and when the outcomes of your efforts don't match the (herculean) efforts you put forth, you're left wondering
i used cloth diapers!
i didn't put my kid in childcare!
i hated every minute of doing puzzles on the floor/pushing them on the swings, but i did it anyway.
& now that i have raised a couple of kids, i wonder how much anything i ever did mattered anyway.
was i right to forego a full career? was that to their benefit or detriment? would they have benefitted more from seeing me happier and more empowered?
would i have been happier/more empowered with a full time career?
& how about some of the incredibly demeaning experiences i had trying to work and breastfeed, or trying to work in (many!!!) workplaces where bosses and co-workers thought i would be uncommitted/flaky because i had (too many!!!!) children.
oh the tales i could tell. maybe i will when i'm not feeling so bruised.
(and also guilty for feeling bruised--after all, i have a lot less to complain about than most mothers who have ever walked the earth.)
so, i'm really interested to hear what my peers have to say about this book. they're all mothers, and several of them have high-powered careers while others have done beautiful full-time work creating homes and being great parents.
(i've done part-time, semi-crappy work both at home and in the work-place.)
and one of them is french, so she can give insight about badinter's assertions that french women have a legacy of separating maternity from motherhood that makes them less prone to be oppressed by cultural expectations of motherhood (as evidenced, in large part, by their low breastfeeding rates in spite of the large presence of la leche league ((those "ayatollahs of breastfeeding", as badinter calls them)) in france.)
so i'm interested. i really am.
but i'm also a little scared, a little reluctant, and a little nauseated, frankly, by the lacuna--the void--the realization that there seems to be no answer, no solution, at all.