Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moms: A Special Kind Of Crazy

In the opening chapter of Allison Pearson's quite funny bestselling 2002 novel, "I Don't Know How She Does It," working mom protagonist Kate Reddy, in the wee hours of the morning, desperately tries to make a store-bought pie look home-made for the next day's bake sale at her daughter's school.  God forbid the other moms might suspect she didn't bake them herself.  That's a special kind of crazy. 

In Jerry Scott & Rick Kirkman's uncannily accurate daily comic "Baby Blues," in which they chronicle the lives of often exhausted, ever harried, yet wholly committed-to-parenthood parents-of-three, Wanda and Darryl MacPherson, Wanda is a full-time, stay-at-home mom, yet just as desperate as Kate Reddy.  In the strip that ran 7/20/2010, Wanda tells Darryl she needs 48 cupcakes for a bake sale today that her son has just told her about.  When Darryl suggests she could just buy them for the store, Wanda is outraged at the idea.  Sure, she could buy them at the store, she tells Darryl, "If I wanted to FAIL AS A MOTHER."  Once again, there's that special kind of crazy.

Last night, I was a poster mom for that special kind of crazy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Kvetchiest Generation

Does having kids make people less happy?

According to New York Magazine's July 12 cover story, and the research discussed within it, the answer is pretty much yes, if you're talking about day-to-day, moment-to-moment happiness. And the answer is no if you're talking about how having children makes life purposeful, meaningful, and connected.  In other words, in the long run, you'll be glad you had kids, if you did -- and regret not having them if you didn't.  But in the short run, while you're bringing up kids, well, you're going identify with articles like this one, which is subtitled, "The Misery Of The American Parent."  (You can read the full article here:  "All Joy And No Fun".)

I found myself nodding in recognition and ruefully reading portions of this article aloud to Late Blooming Dad as we hurtled through time and space above the continental U.S., making our way home with our kids on a west-bound jet after a harried, hurried summer "vacation" visiting family and friends in New York City and suburbs.