From Salon (yes, conservatives read it too…)
Stateside, tales from the mommy vs. non-mommy wars have long since failed to engage my curiosity, but I’m still a sucker for a cross-cultural breeding debate. So British reviews of and riffs on a new book by French economist-psychoanalyst Corinne Maier proved irresistible.
Maier, who already made a pretty penny as a professional contrarian from her first book, “Hello Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay,” has come out with a new polemic against having children. “No Kid: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children,” which takes on everything from the cult of motherhood to the annoyances of actual child rearing, argues that women should opt out of motherhood to keep their freedom.
First of all, I’m not even going to address the absurdity of the idea that ALL women should opt out of motherhood. (Nice knowing you, human race!)
I also think it’s really sad that Maier seems to think that having children = losing all freedom. As a new mother, I can say that when you have children, your ability to come and go as you please is somewhat curtailed. However, to say that we have given up our freedom is insulting and smacks of the unfortunate attitude many child-free women have — an attitude that says, “Oh you poor stupid bi*ch! You bought into the patriarchy, popped out babies, and now your life is over.”
Not to say that motherhood is for everybody. For some women, the desire just isn’t there, and those women should not be pressured to have children — it would be doing a disservice to them, and to the kids who would likely always feel somewhat resented. As Maier’s kids certainly must. She’s the mother of two children — aged 10 and 13 — whom she admits she sometimes “bitterly regrets” having had. (I wonder if France has subsidized child therapy?)
If women don’t want to have children, then that’s fine, and that’s their business. But this attitude of superiority from BOTH sides of the debate (yes, many of we mothers can be infuriatingly smug and superior as well) has got to stop. Let’s each make our own choices, and if it works for us and our loved ones, it’s nobody else’s beeswax.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enjoy a sunny walk in the park with a baby whose face lights up like a Christmas tree upon seeing Mommy.
I’ve never felt more free.