Writing About Modern Motherhood

At a reception for Top Mom Bloggers in Vancouver, a local blogger shared her experience about blogging.  “If you think everything has been said about a topic already, write about it”, she advised.

Does a topic related to parenting ever get exhausted?

If you have had a baby in the last five years, you might have noticed certain attitudes or trends that weren’t in place when your contemporaries or older women had babies ten or more years ago. Of course trends and attitudes don’t develop overnight, and many popular notions are supported by child development specialists and authors of parenting books.

Whether it’s tiger moms, concepts of French parenting styles, helicopter parents or attachment parenting, members of the media are all too happy to deconstruct the popular parenting topic of the moment. They consult academics and authors and find parents who are willing to support a theory and talk about it on network television. The voice of the average mother is inaudible in the cacaphony of uploaded interviews; links to articles and postings calling out for your attention; and, “did you hear about this cautionary tale?’ comments you encounter on the BBQ circuit.

Elisabeth Badinter is a philosophy professor, feminist and author of The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood is Undermining the Status of Women. Considering Badinter’s arguments in this book – shown in bold below and turned into questions –  how would your experiences inform your replies to her assessments?

Did you give up your career, social life, hopes, dreams, goals, ambition, future and autonomy to have children?

* Have you taken a temporary or permanent step away from your career and future professional options now that you have had children? Why did you make this decision and was it by choice or by necessity?

* How do you think the cost of living in British Columbia has an impact on your choices related to the intersection of career and having children?

Does attachment parenting issues such as baby wearing, breast feeding and co-sleeping, for example, monopolize the time of a mother and modern day expectations?

* If you adhere to some but not all of the ideas connected to attachment parenting, do you feel that you have embraced this movement?  Do you feel that you have to embrace attachment parenting in totality or not at all?

* Do you find that the parents who embrace attachment parenting ideas come from select or diverse socio-economic backgrounds?

* Do parents who prefer attachment parenting show confidence in the choices they make, why they should want to follow this approach and how the ideas should be implemented?

Do the tenets of attachment parenting put pressure on you to try these approaches?

* Where you influenced by the attachment parenting choices of other parents when you made choices for your baby/child?

* Have you heard of parents who found attachment parenting approaches to be tiring or stressful?  Has this been your experience?  Does the topic of time commitments ever come up in relation to this topic?

Did you shun modern conveniences, favouring a return to more traditional and organic parenting styles, in order to avoid the negative effects of goods and services produced by large industrial corporations?

* What type of resources, information and local organic product and services companies can you find in the Pacific Northwest and/or your region?

* What types of local support programmes and initiatives encourage and support parents to adopt homegrown and locally produced options for their children?

* How do parents connect with other parents, businesses and organizations that can help to create a more organically correct home environment?

* Are organic foods and other items expensive for parents?

* Do parents feel that any extra expenditures for organic products are worth the cost?

* Have you shunned some or many modern conveniences?

* What do you think these negative effects of goods and services would be?

Are you focused on doing what’s right for the children you chose to have?

* How have your aspirations – pre-children – stayed the same or changed since having children?

* How have your goals regarding “doing what’s right” stayed the same or changed as your child has grown older?

* Do you feel any pressure from outside influences when it comes to determining what is right for your child?

Do you want to avoid the pitfalls your mother encountered in the 1970s and 80s?

* In what decades was your mother raising children?

* What were some of the challenges that she faced as a mother and, perhaps, as a woman working outside of the home?

* How have your mother’s experiences affected the choices that you have made as a mother?

Is it true that a woman’s decision to not work, purchase organic baby food, cook her own food and use cloth diapers is affected by her economic circumstances?

* If you are a mother who works outside of the home, would you be a full-time Stay At Home Mum even if you could afford to get by without working? A different version of this question would be “are you a Work Outside of The Home mum irregardless of your economic circumstances?”.

* Has your work status changed since your children were babies (post maternity leave)?

* Do you think the ideas included in this question are fair?

On average, readers of Elisabeth Badinter’s book in France gave her work 4 stars. In North America it received a paltry 2 1/2 stars. Her assessments (turned into questions above) are edgy and provocative.  There was a controversy regarding Badinter’s professional connection to the Nestle company and companies that make Similac and Enfamil; however, no strong link between her PR work and the ideas in her book have been presented. What matters more is that her assessments are levied, primarily, at North American mothers.

The mainstream media outlets often share motherhood stories written by prominent Americans.  Meanwhile one in ten mothers in North America share experiences online.  If you have something to say about any topic related to parenting and children – or whatever interests you have – write about it.  Your content will be read and your voice will be heard. The likelihood is that every stone has not been overturned.

If you have written a response to Badinter’s work (or to any of the questions listed above), please do share the link in the comment section below.

You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or by visiting the BC Family Facebook page. Your opinion matters so don’t be shy!


Interview with Elisabeth Badinter (in French)/Video

Interview with Elisabeth Badinter on the CBC (in English)/Podcast

Eight principles of attachment parenting

The Conflict receives 4 stars on Amazon France and 2 1/2 stars on Amazon USA

In the spirit of Mother’s Day all of us working moms are powerhouses! Bonnie Fuller

The problem with modern motherhood (Interview with Elisabeth Badinter)

Are Liberal Moms Enslaved By Their Kids? (With comments section.)

Bringing up baby – a French woman’s take on American parenting choices

Media fall-out post Time/Badinter comments

Review of The Conflict in Business Week

Dr Trina Read discusses the Mummy Chasm

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