My jaw hit the floor when I stumbled across AlterNet's article on the book No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children by French economist/psychoanalyst Corinne Maier. Released last year in France and earlier this month in North American, Maier, a mother of a 14- and 11-year-old says she's "not sure" if she'd have kids if given a second chance - lucky for her poor children that there is no genie in the bottle who can wave its magic wand over Corinne and reverse time!
No recluse from controversy having previously published a book entitled Hello Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn't Pay, Maier may just be stoking the fire of debate from a position of particular power: she's not a bitter childless woman who has tried to conceive without success, but instead a tried and tested mom who feels compelled to tell the truth and set the record straight. And even without reading her book (which I don't plan to do), it evokes an emotional response so she's won there already.
Accordingly to Maier, parents have less fun, less sex, less friends, less money, less successful careers (particularly women) and crappier relationships. Women feel a constant, debilitating pressure to be "Super Mom" and to keep pace with other "Yummy Mummies" at the expense of their inner creative spirit, in turn morphing into bored drones. She then adds an extra twist of the knife by suggesting that children are environmental hazards to the already pressurized developed world.
Maybe I should start writing my own obit now since according to this tirade I'm soon to be luckless in love, money, career and spirit, committed to domestic drudgery with a child latched onto my hip. Please. This is not what I want to hear when embarking on this huge, life changing experience. But maybe that's where I need some perspective.
We're all entitled to our own opinions and in Maier's case, having children may have brought more frustration than joy - at least that is how her book is pitched. Maybe many people, misguided people in my view, are too quick to assume that "everyone" wants children and subsequently wax lyrical about parenthood, looking down on those that don't want to join the club. Still, I think sweeping generalizations that suggest becoming a parent is on par with committing yourself to a lesser existence is ridiculous and equally insulting.
Maybe Maier is just looking to evoke a response. I'm not saying she is a bad mother; I don't know what type of mother she is. I do feel bad for her children that their existence would be hanging in the balance if she could take back time, but in our nutty world of "keeping up with the Jones'" I think we're all too quick too judge. What makes a "good mom" can't be black and white, though I don't know much about parenting. I am unsure how I'm going to balance my now life with my soon to be life as a mom, but I'm up for the challenge and view it as a positive one. So Maier and her book can go take a hike. Maybe she'll find support in other moms who haven't embraced the experience or childless/childfree people who are tired about hearing about the joys of having kids.
All I know is that I've got a one way ticket to parenthood, I want to enjoy the ride and I've read enough.