Sunday, January 20, 2008

Books for kids

I'm not sure if the theme is books about mom-dom or books for kids. If it's the latter, i just blogged about it at my book blog, here: http://thehungry-bookworm.blogspot.com/2008/01/childrens-books.html . If the former, I read Allison Pearce's book some time back and while I enjoyed it, it also made me a little upset. Why did it have to be the mother that gave up her job? Why was there so much stress in the family when the father was not working and the mother was out full time? What bothered me was that it wasn't only about the woman's feelings about working full time and losing out on time with the kids, but that her decision to quit work was also impacted by how her husband was unhappy that she worked fulltime and he was a stay-at-home dad. I don't remember it all that clearly now, but it did seem like it was giving in to the stereotyped image of what a 'happy family' should look like - mother stay-at-home and dad in the office.

In fact, many books in this genre make me unhappy for the same reason - the mother who tries to juggle everything or to achieve some dream of her own eventually realises how shallow that is and how her dream is really to be around for her kids everyday and be playing Happy Cook when her husband comes hoem from the office. Why doesn't anyone write a book about a family which decides it's ok for the mother to go off and pursue her dream once in a while? Why doen't the wife and husband both decide to work shorter hours so they can both have a career and still be home for their kids? If the wife is doing better economically, why doesn't the husband decide he's going to be the stay at home dad?

Sorry to rant but it has always got my goat and not merely because I'm a working woman. I find the stereotypes about stay-at-home moms equally annoying - any book that focuses on them has to have the angle of hypercompetitive moms trying to outdo each other at the my kid is best sweepstakes. What makes it infuriating for me is that so many of these books are written by women for women.

4 comments:

indosungod said...

Bird's Eye View, I do hear you. But I have no answer to why a mom is expected to sacrifice more than the dad :( Story of our lives right?

bird's eye view said...

You're so right, Indo. In fact just this morning I was chatting with BFF and we were discussing the whole guilt thing and how moms just automatically assume the burden of guilt for everything their kids do/ go thru'...

Trishna said...

yes, isnt it wierd! how we moms always end up feeling guilty for even the smallest of our kids troubles..but its everywhere that mom is expected to be there for her kids more than the dad,right?will look up your book blog :)

GettingThereNow said...

BEV, I completely agree with you that this outlook is very frutrating. But sometimes, these books/stories are just projecting the author's view. I am not saying things aren't as they have been depicted in the book (haven't read it, but going by your description) but they are slowly changing family by family. Granted the change is too slow for my taste, but a change it is. As for such books - if I read them, I just think "not my taste" and move on.

"Why doen't the wife and husband both decide to work shorter hours so they can both have a career and still be home for their kids?" - MY TAKE EXACTLY!! I wondered about almost the same thing in my post on the SAHM Vs. WOHM debate.

As for the "women writing for women" part - agree. And isn't the whole WOHM Vs. SAHM battle being fought by women mainly? This "better-parent-than-thou" attitude is the root of all the debates, I believe.