I ran across this article by Erica Jong on the madness of modern motherhood through another favorite author: Elizabeth Wurtzel.
The article made me sit back in my chair and I have been thinking of it randomly for weeks. Perhaps because I am raising two children across two very different decades, or perhaps because I am a working, single mother who is responsible (most of the time) for daily life or perhaps just because there is a small feminist (Charlotte Perkins Gilman are you listening?) ember somewhere inside of me, I find relief in Jong’s words.
(Admittedly, I have read every book that Jong ever wrote and have always adored her humor. Fanny, one of my favorite Jong books, was written in response to John Cleland’s Fanny Hill.)
Although I made the conscious decision this last year to take more time for family life, I am still the breadwinner AND the bread baker. And I stand by my decision and will tell anyone who asks that it was the best decision I ever made.
When my son was young, 29 years ago, I didn’t have that option (which is a luxury). Yet, I have shed many a tear and endured many moments of guilt and self-loathing in thinking about decisions I made. The last line of Jong’s article feels like an absolution to me: “Do the best you can. There are no rules.”
Read the Wall Street Journal article and tell me what you think: Mother Madness
And don’t miss the additional piece by Molly Jong-Fast: Growing Up With Ma Jong
*Raphael. The Niccolini-Cowper Madonna. 1500. Oil on wood. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC