Hello Hooray I’m ready!
That’s a line from an old song by Meg Christian, one of the standard bearers of “wimmins music” in the early 70’s, in celebration of lesbians coming out everywhere. I invoke it now to hail the coming out of the bad mother, which – keeping fingers crossed – might at long last be happening .
I base this hopeful conclusion on Ayelet Waldman’s book The Bad Mother, which I heard her read from on Book TV yesterday, plus a search on Amazon that shows up a few more books in this vein. Honest, serious and of course humorous, these books just might be speaking truth – having read none of them, I cannot swear to it – on the motherhood experience. My one reservation is that Waldman et al seem to believe, predictably, that the relentless judging of mothers by other mothers is some startling new phenom. It is not.
Sitting in one of my computer files is a collection of essays bearing the title “Confessions of a Bad Mother.” A part of me is filled with schadenfreude and furious envy at the publication of Waldman’s boo – but I haven’t exactly persisted in finishing mine, much less trying to get it published. Besides, some of my complaints are old hat; today’s demands on mothers to breastfeed exclusively, give the kiddies organic food, and – dear god!– practice “attachment” parenting in which you must hold baby 24/7, are different from the issues back then. In fact, the biggest change seems to be that the ammunition against mothers has become even more frightening.
Despite my schadenfreude or whatever this feeling is, I wholeheartedly welcome the coming out of the Bad Mother. And anyone who wants to read a sliver of my experience can check out my book on iUniverse, Perfectly Normal: A Mother’s Memoir.
You Go, Bad Mommies!