Susan Douglas Essay

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He then announces that he has gone on flex time for the next two years so that he can split child-care duties with you fifty-fifty.

The children, chattering away happily, help set the table, and then eat their broccoli. You can't make me," bellows your child as he runs to his room, knocking down a lamp on the way. " he yells and you discover that the cat has barfed on his bed.

One of the things the women's movement did was raising groups where women got together and talked about the myths surrounding the men and how to challenge them.

Women need to get together today."She says the book is a guide for women to take action. Your three-year-old is writhing on the floor, screaming, because you have refused to buy her a Teletubby pinwheel.

Your ex-husband calls to say he won't be taking the kids this weekend after all because his new wife, Buffy, twenty-three, has to go on a modeling shoot in Virgin Gorda for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and "she really needs me with her." You go to the TV room to discover the kids watching transvestites punching each other out on Jerry Springer.

The pasta boils over and scalds the hamster, now lying prostrate on the floor with its legs twitching in the air.She says, "Just imagine what would happen if, next week most mothers of America sat down and e-mailed their presidential candidate or congressional candidate of choice and said: 'When are you going to finally start paying attention to mothers and children in public policy? "Read an excerpt from "The Mommy Myth's" Introduction: It's P. Your six-year-old is whining, repeatedly, in a voice that could saw through cement, "But mommy, puleeze, puleeze" because you have not bought him the latest "Lunchables," which features, as the four food groups, Cheetos, a Snickers, Cheez Whiz, and Twizzlers.Your teenager, who has not spoken a single word in the past four days except, "You've ruined my life," followed by "Everyone else has one," is out in the car, sulking, with the new rap-metal band Piss on the Parentals blasting through the headphones of a Discman.No wonder 81 percent of women in a recent poll said it's harder to be a mother now than it was twenty or thirty years ago, and 56 percent felt mothers were doing a worse job today than mothers back then.Even mothers who deliberately avoid TV and magazines, or who pride themselves on seeing through them, have trouble escaping the standards of perfection, and the sense of threat, that the media ceaselessly atomize into the air we breathe.To distract yourself, and to avoid the glares of other shoppers who have already deemed you the worst mother in America, you leaf through People magazine.Inside, Uma Thurman gushes "Motherhood Is Sexy." Moving on to Good Housekeeping, Vanna White says of her child, "When I hear his cry at six-thirty in the morning, I have a smile on my face, and I'm not an early riser." Another unexpected source of Earth-mother wisdom, the newly maternal Pamela Lee, also confides to People, "I just love getting up with him in the middle of the night, to feed him or soothe him." Brought back to reality by stereophonic whining, you indeed feel as sexy as Rush Limbaugh in a thong. Now, if you were a "good" mom, you'd joyfully empty the shopping bags and transform the process of putting the groceries away into a fun game your kids love to play (upbeat Raffi songs would provide a lilting soundtrack).After dinner, you all go out and stencil the driveway with autumn leaves. You have fifteen minutes to make dinner because there's a school play in half an hour.While the children fight over whether to watch Hot Couples or people eating larvae on Fear Factor, you zap some Prego spaghetti sauce in the microwave and boil some pasta. "Mommy, Mommy, Sam losted my hamster," your daughter wails.We know that building a scale model of Versailles out of mashed potatoes may not be quite as crucial to good mothering as Martha Stewart Living suggests.Yet here we are, cowed by that most tyrannical of our cultural icons, Perfect Mom.

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