Thursday, September 22, 2005

Weinman and Weiner

Sarah Weinman interviews Jennifer Weiner and gives us a sneak peek at Weiner's new novel, Goodnight Nobody, in Weinman's article Magical Mystery Tour. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. And you mommies and daddies out there get the title reference, right?

These two paragraphs from the article caught me off guard, though:

"I wanted to capture a sense of how women deal with the internalized pressure of motherhood," said Weiner. "Here are these high achievers, high-performing women who are suddenly raising kids and, even though it's the 'best job ever,' feel like they failed to raise them right. So many mothers, and great ones, spend their time living inside their heads, thinking about what's wrong with them."
Yes, I agree with her assessment above. The article continues:

These pressures, she explained, have changed considerably from her childhood years. "When my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, my mom had a playpen full of toys she stuck us into — which you just can't do anymore. You can't just leave the kid in there and go watch TV or do your thing. But every time I tried to explain this to her, she wouldn't get it. The standards are so different now."
Now, I don't put my children in a playpen to go watch TV, but I do have to "do my own thing" occasionally. So I do have a playpen full of toys for AC (6m), and an exersaucer for her to sit and jump in while sucking the funny doggy-clown on a stick. I sure hope mothers today don't feel like they can't leave their children alone to amuse themselves for more than the time it takes to run to the potty--I mean, bathroom--after which they go scoop them back up and continue their guided video viewing or craft time. I spend lots of one-on-one time with each of my children. But I also insist that they have alone time, and that I have alone time, too. My friends struggle with this very issue, and, while I agree with Weiner that "the standards are different now," I don't think "you just can't [use the playpen] anymore." God help me if this were the case.


Christa M. Miller said...

Yay! You linked to me! ;)

Seriously - I actually, literally can't use the playpen (I mean I couldn't when the boy was still small enough not to climb out) - he has never tolerated it for play. Too active. That's why my computer desk is in the living/play room. And why he has a bookcase properly bolted into the wall in his bedroom. I do what I can!

Mary Louisa said...

Props to my girlfriend.

AC seems to have a built-in timer. I can put her in the playpen for ten minutes before she goes off. Same with the exersaucer. The Johnny Jump-up timer is five-minutes, though. Yep, we do what we can and hope for the best.

Dy said...

Wow, ain't that the truth!

I struggle with this as a WAHM, then realize almost ~none~ of my early memories are of direct interaction with my parents/mom. We played in our room, we played in the yard, we played in the friends' yards, we biked, but outside of scheduled game nights and special events we didn't spend a lot of time with our parents. Maybe that's wrong, but overall I'm content with the job they did... JMHO