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Mom's the Word

Sunday, February 05, 2006
Reading about the death of Betty Friedan got me thinking about the first time I read The Feminine Mystique, back when I was in high school. I read it because I was trying to understand the whole "happy housewife" phenomenon of the 1950s -- and how it had lead to a tidal wave of maternal discontent that was still making itself felt 20 years later. (My Mom wasn't the happiest of campers during this time, and I couldn't really blame her. I mean she'd no sooner finish cleaning a room in the house and someone would mess it up, not even noticing all the work she had done. It was a truly vicious circle, one that repeated itself countless times each day, like a laundry load spinning out of control.)

And now we've got an odd shift happening in mother culture again -- something I haven't quite been able to put my finger on, but that seems to involve adding some new ingredients to the recipe for the perfect mom: one part happy homemaker, one part hot mom, and one part exotic dancer.

The job description for mother seems to be expanding by the day. Not only do you have to be a perfect mother and a gourmet chef while holding down that dream job. You've also got to find the time to stay fit, stay beautiful, and be the modern age Marabel Morgan (she of wrap yourself in saran wrap fame).

It's freaking me out, especially because a lot of people are acting like this is all perfectly normal. I think that's the freakiest part of all.

| posted by Ann D @ 5:40 PM