Thursday, March 3, 2011

Abandoning Motherhood

I watched the morning talk shows today.  I never do that.  Like, ever.

The TV generally isn't on at my house in the morning, and if it is it's more likely to have cartoon characters on the screen than anything else.

But Mom is here now, and she is accustomed to having the TV on all the time.  Without singing, dancing dinosaurs.

So it's been on.  And it was on this morning.  And there was a piece about a woman that caught my attention.  She is a writer, one of her books nominated for some industry award.  I won't go into her name or who she is. I won't talk about how a little piece of me is envious of real writers who are actually taken seriously.  I won't because I fundamentally disagree with what her book is about.  And what she is about.

And I am not about to lend any sort of credibility to that.

I'm going against what I always say again. I strive not to judge other people.  I try to walk a mile in their shoes, imagine what their lives must be like.  I try not to jump to conclusions about the choices people make, even about things as important as their parenting. 

Rarely is there utility or kindness in such judgment.

But there she was this morning, on my TV.  Nominated for an award for writing about her experience and looking for validation that what she has done should be perfectly acceptable. 

It's not.  And she's not getting any sort of validation from me.

What did she do? 

She abandoned motherhood.  Of course, she says she just redefined it.  I take issue with her word choice.

She won a grant to study in a foreign country for six months when her children were very young.  She went, alone.  While she was gone, she made a conscious choice that she didn't want to be a wife and a mother.  She wanted to pursue her career.  She did not want to be beholden to anyone anymore, even if they were her own flesh and bone.

So she divorced her husband and left her kids. 

Then she wrote a book about how fabulous this choice has been for her.  How she is free to follow her dream, how she has built a successful career, how she now has a fabulous relationship with her teenage children, and about all the quality time they have in the approximately 6 hours a week she spends with them.  How she is a better mother now.

Unencumbered by all the actual aspects of mothering, free to enjoy just the good stuff.  Free of the obligations of the other 162 hours a week that actual parenting presents. 

By the way, I totally do not believe for one second that she has a fabulous relationship with her children now.  Particularly given the fact that she has used their broken childhood as a jumping off point for her own publicity and fame.  She has no issues with making statements such as I never wanted children, I didn't want to be a mother, I had to live my own life free of them.  She's made these statements on national television.  Eventually her children will hear these words, and all the therapy in the world isn't going to fix hearing your mother say that.

I try very hard not to judge people.  But this is just screaming for it.  Asking for it, in fact.

She is trying to convince people that what she did is no different than what men do all the time in these situations. 

Typically in divorces, women do get custody.  Men do get "freedom", if one cares to refer to it that way. 

While she may be correct, that comparison doesn't make her right.  It doesn't justify what she did, throwing her family under the bus for her own selfish pursuits.

I can't fathom how a mother could do that.  I just can't.

And I am sure as hell not about to rally behind her claim that it's about equal rights.  That she is a better mother now.  That it is okay to sacrifice your children for your wants.

She is delusional.

I turned the TV off.


  1. oh... So she promotes the "Disneyland Mom." What she doesn't say is how empty she feels at night and how much she has missed out on! I figure her loss! I just feel sad for those kids who are trying to forgive her. I can't imgaine having to hear my mom say she never wanted me.... on national T.V.

  2. WELL SAID, Kelly. I attempted to reveal this woman's great selfishness to my sister, etc., to no avail. My sister and others just said that I do not understand relationships...hmmmmmmm


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