Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some Thoughts after Reading Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman

1. My favorite quote from the book: "self-flagellation is not the crux of the paternal experience". Very, very true. Certainly, this house, there is no losing sleep over parenting decisions by anyone but me! On the one hand, I am deferred to (very often). On the other hand, I am judged (very often).

2. Why does AW have to make the point that her husband is not gay? It sounds like they have a great relationship. He admits (see Hadassah magazine) to experimentation. It sounds like he and AW love each other. Anyway, I just thought a secure wife wouldn't necessarily have to hammer that one home.

3. Did AW really say that she'd use a kid as a shield to protect her husband from a bullet? I read the NY Times story back when, and like many others, I was bothered. But, I don't remember reading anything like that (and couldn't find anything using Google).

4. I might not explain this exactly right. But, here goes. AW went to Harvard Law. She went there with the President! She is married to a famous writer! She had an awesome job! She's written many novels! Isn't that different than those of us who DON'T DO ANYTHING, and still hide the art supplies? Rely on Nick Jr.? Take kids out to eat lunch because there's nothing in the house? People like my kids--a lot--so I know my "job", such as it is, has been moderately successful (at least) so far. Yet, I feel like someone who is such a success professionally is not at all akin to your average slacker mom who is gripping too hard to her Gen-X roots. So, while my initial reaction to this book was, yes, great, someone understands! Really, I feel like my life is quite removed from the bubble inhabited by AW.

5. I found AW's description very moving of how they came to the decision for her to have an abortion. Especially how she explained that her husband felt that his belief that all would be well with the pregnancy had far greater consequences (should the child be unwell) in all of their lives.

6. Dodgeball. I sucked at that game, too.

7. I felt like AW relished telling us all what a geek she was, and what a slut she was. We can all think how "edgy" she is, and not at all a stereotype. Though, it, too is stereotypical.

8. AW's discussion of her diagnosis with bipolar disorder.

9. I liked the reference to Marmee being the perfect mother. Of course, she is! And that June Cleaver would probably be knocking back a gin and tonic. More like Betty Draper.

(I'm going to stop here, for now. Not sure I can come up with 18.)

I've lost the motivation to reach 18 points. I did want to mention that I think AW scrambled to make her book 18 chapters. Again, however, she WROTE a book and got it published.

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