Blogs 4 Brownback

July 27, 2007

The Mommy Backlash

Filed under: Family — Lyssie @ 8:30 am

MommyFrom 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.


  1. A child is a gift from G-d. And there are no returns or exchanges.

    Comment by Psycheout — July 27, 2007 @ 11:02 am | Reply

  2. Funny enough, I just read that article on Salon. Anyways, this article is rare on this website. It actually makes sense and has some merit in the real world.

    Comment by qdoc — July 27, 2007 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  3. Wow. Most women who opt to be child-free are smug? MOST????

    Frankly, I’m tired of smug mothers and gynecologists. But I would never say most are smug!

    I’m thrilled that Maier has published her book. I feel so marginalized, and there is so little out there for women who choose the child-free lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I cannot see the joys of motherhood. It just isn’t for me.

    Go ahead and enjoy your walk with your children. The world needs good parents. All women need to respect the need to embrace all choices. I have a wide circle of friends, some of whom are happy parents, not-so-happy parents, and happy non-parents. I have experienced little smugness from either group.

    Enjoy your time with your children, as I’ll enjoy my time with my husband, and the greater independence a child-free lifestlye often brings. Both can be wonderful lifestyle choices.

    Comment by Pamela AuCoin — July 28, 2007 @ 9:28 am | Reply

  4. Pamela, not to be rude, but please point out where I indicated that “most” child-free women are smug. I’ve re-read my post three times now, and nowhere do I see where I wrote that. However, as you mentioned it not once, but twice, you must be seeing something I’m not. So if you’d please point out where I said that “most” women who opt to be child-free are smug, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Comment by Lyssie — July 28, 2007 @ 11:57 am | Reply

  5. Lyssie,
    Perhaps I did overreact a bit. I sincerely apologize.

    Your article raises an interesting question. Isn’t it interesting how many women feel defensive about their choices — to breed, or not to breed? What does that tell us?

    Comment by Pamela — July 29, 2007 @ 8:59 am | Reply

  6. Apology accepted. I do think it’s interesting that so many of us feel defensive about our choices, and due to that, feel a need to tear down others about their choices. It’s quite sad, really. Regardless of what path a woman chooses, there is always sacrifice, self-doubt, and an absurd amount of juggling that has to be done. Bashing each other only makes it worse.

    Comment by Lyssie — July 29, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  7. Well put.

    Comment by Pamela AuCoin — July 31, 2007 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  8. Yes. Right on.

    Comment by Pamela AuCoin — July 31, 2007 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  9. oops — i thought comment 6 didn’t go through.

    Comment by Pamela AuCoin — July 31, 2007 @ 9:43 am | Reply

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