Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good Mothers

So I was over on Pandagon a few days ago, lurking on one of those mamma-war posts -- you know the sort, the ones where Amanda reviews a post about how women ought to be allowed to be human beings and have lives, and then wingerbots show up and start inisting they *love* their kids, unlike some people they could mention, and so do their (good) women and their women are HAPPY to stay home with their kids 24/7 and the wingbots are happy to work 100 hr a week jobs so their women can do that, because that's what good parents do! Not like you evil feminazis who don't love your kids and would rather have jobs than spend time ith your kids! (What?)

Anyway, this reminded me of my conversation with the therapist (I loved the therapist, by the way, I'll say that up front), who we saw back when the kid was having trouble dealing with her trauma after Katrina. The therapist asked, during our intake session, what I did -- I said I was an English professor, and the kid said I wrote novels. The therapist told me, firmly, that this was a good thing: that I should keep writing novels, that it was good for me to have something of my own. I remember looking at her, astounded. Like, had she been thinking I was considering giving it up?

Only, yes, because we do live in a Red State, and no doubt many women in my position, with a kid who was, at that point in the middle of a major melt-down, *would* have been considering surrendering their own lives to devote themselves wholly to their child. It never once entered my head. I did, mind you, deal with the situation -- I found a therapist, I got the kid help, we figured out what to do. I did not quit my job and stop writing and become My Kid's Mom.

And now? Kid is fine, or as fine as the overly-intelligent neurotic little bug is ever likely to be. (She has just read Harriet the Spy and decided she wants to be a writer and is going about writing eveything in her notebook. My favorite line -- "There is a bird in our backyard saying "Diego Diego White white white!"

mr. delagar, speaking of neurotic, is deeply alarmed by this development. "What are we going to do about this?" he demands. "We're not just going to let it happen, are we? A writer! She can't be a writer!" "Oh," I say, "film-maker was fine with you? Painter was cool? English professor, even? But writer is right out?" "You are damn straight," he snaps. "She is *not* going to be a writer!" "Well, what do you suggest we do about it?" I ask. "Take away her pencils?" He considers. "Yes," he says. "Tonight. While she's asleep.")

What do kids need? Parents, obviously. Parents who care about them, but -- and this bit is important -- happy parents, with rich lives, who can model how to have happy rich lives, so that the kid can know how to live a rich, involved, successful life herself. (And by rich, obviously, I don't mean anything to do with money here. I don't need to point that out to y'all, I hope. Though I don't spit on money when it shows up, mind you. But, as Plato said, it's the means to a good life, not the end, and only a fool gets confused about that.)

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