Friday, April 07, 2006

When Others Say it Better

Good thing Entitlement Whores have friends. I am so often recharged by others' eloquence. Here's Andi's comments on the responses we've received after our show. Yes, there's the shock of how many people actually watch Book TV--this, I must say, is enlightening and happy news--and how much effort and time some people spent to track down my email address and write very long, very, very long letters to me telling me how wrong I am. On the sunnier side, many people wrote to tell me their agreement; often these were from men who, intriguingly enough, advised me to begin teaching women how to invest better and make more money. They were clear that when women have more financial control, we'll get what we want.

And on eloquence, I was also energized recently by Marritt Ingman's words. Marritt, of course, is the author of Inconsolable, the book on post partum depression that Brooke Shields didn't write, and better because of it [note from Miriam: this is the book we should all be sending to any mom who's depressed after childbirth, trust me].

Marritt also writes the column Mom and Pop Culture on Marritt wrote these sentences in a different context, which to respect privacy I won't reproduce. Her sentences ring true, though, and are a good reminder of what it means to love our kids and family and fight like hell for better cultural and social conditions. Thanks Marritt, for letting me archive them here.

... I like to remind myself of the Adrienne Rich's
distinction between motherhood as experience and as
institution. . . We can love our individual
experiences as mothers and still chafe at the role
mothers play-- economically, culturally, and
politically--in public life. In other words, we can
still be pretty pissed off about the institution of
motherhood. Hell, I think we should be, even if our
infants do indeed make us ecstatically happy day and
night. It almost sounds like we're not supposed to say
anything "negative" post-motherhood, even about
culture or public policy?

Even to talk about the "dark side of mothering"
assumes that there is a converse, a bright side. I
tend to look at every relationship I've ever had in
those terms. There's a dark side to my marriage, to
most of my friendships, to my work as a writer, to my
status as an American and a white married person--I
mean, I'm pretty ambivalent about everything in the
world because the world is a pretty complicated place.
For me to express that in writing doesn't obviate
another person's experience. If Louise Wener doesn't
find a book on the shelf reflecting her experience of
motherhood, then by all means she should WRITE one, as
we have, instead of writing about her lack. I think
motherhood is the most emotionally complicated task on
planet Earth. To state that it is difficult is not to
say that there's something wrong with the very act of
*being* a mother.

Marritt's blog
,, I'm adding it to my blogroll now)


tomama said...

Great post. I wish we got BookTV in Canada.

tracey said...

I think your message (which is really "our message" as mothers) is vital and necessary. I feel well represented and fotunate having you and so many other incredible women out there speaking these truths. Consider yourself appreciated. Great post from you and wonderful words from Marritt. Can't wait to check out her blog.

gladys said...

I'm just starting down the mommy path and trying to figure out how to negotiate having a career and being a good mom. I think I've hit on something - it's ok to be a stay home mom if you're married to a guy with a good job and are living the suburban dream but it's very wrong to be a stay home mom if you don't have a spouse to support you or if God forbid you're on assistance. What are we teaching the children about their worth?