Friday, August 21, 2009

Motherhood Fundamentalism

I am not a real book reader because I can't sit too long in the same position.

Therefore I prefer to read columns about various subjects.

A few days ago I wrote in a comment to Jeannie that I had read a very interesting column. It was in fact an interview with the American writer: Ayelet Waldman*.

She* reviewed here her new book entitled: Bad Mother -- A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes.

I find the subject very interesting because I recognized what she said.

This is a summary of the interview.

I quote: In these times of overflowing agendas and performance pressure, "debt feelings" and "stress" in motherhood are always present.

She* also spoke about the opposite: mothers who chose to stay at home to take care for their children.

The names for this phenomenon are known as: hyper moms, total mothering or "motherhood fundamentalism".

She* also said: to stay at home to raise your children is in fact something for rich people, but now many other mothers also feel themselves obligated to do it. Why... because they are sometimes being stigmatized as bad mothers through the hyper mamas.

In fact I find this unfair because: not everyone has the possibility to make the choice to stay at home to raise the children. Every mother must be free to make her own choice without being stigmatized.

I am an older woman now and when I became mother I could not make the choice, I had to give up my work because I had no one to take care for my child.

That's now almost 45 years ago and even at that time there was a sort of battle between the "working mothers" and the "staying home mothers". Even at that time in the eyes of the working moms you were seen as "inferior" if you remained at home to raise your child, and now ... the situation became almost the opposite.

Therefore ... to all young (and also older) mothers: give up this fight ... in fact, there may not be a fight between mothers. Just be a mother on your own way!

I hope that I have you all incited to reflect on this theme!

For more information about this subject she* refers to these two American websites:

The book : Bad mother - A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace written by Ayelet Waldman is available at:

PS: Ayelet Waldman studied Law at the Harvard University, she was a classmate of Barack Obama.


  1. Therefore.... to all young (and also older) mothers: give up this fight.. in fact, there may not be a fight between mothers. Just.. be a mother on your own way!


    Fran, thanks for this. Too many times women tear each other apart when everyone is just trying to do what they need to do.

  2. In fact I wrote this post because I know several mothers who, if they could choose... they rather stayed at home to raise their child. They are always exhausted and they have no time for themselves. I don't envy them. I am still lucky that I could stay at home. Motherhood and going to work, doing this both , it would have been too much for me. But in those days there were also no facilities for moms. We had no washing machine at home and we even had no car. If I was young again and I could choose then I stayed at home ... without judging the working moms.