Friday, July 18, 2008

Erma, She Ain't

I realize this gal is trying to be funny, but she lost me pretty quickly with her essay about the horrors of having her kids home all summer.

As I read it, I kept thinking that at some point, she would acknowledge that despite the work involved, being home with your kids can be a time of bonding, of teaching, of loving.

Nope. Just whine, whine, whine. She also throws in a little envy of working moms for good measure:

By the end of the first day of “vacation,” every stay-at-home mother is rethinking Linda Hirshman and scanning help-wanted ads surreptitiously. The working moms, meanwhile, sit in their orderly, air-conditioned offices, oblivious to the sweat and stench that accompany the sticky children of summer, and thinking wistfully of their own childhood summers spent catching fireflies in Mason jars and selling ten-cent Kool-Aid from a card table on the front lawn. Wishing that they could revisit those days, they think — fleetingly — that maybe the SAHMs have it right, and really, they should march into the boss’s office and offer two week’s notice. But then it occurs to them: If they were home now, they’d be making peanut-butter sandwiches, and consuming half-eaten crusts for their lunch. Better Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar, and joyously back to work.

Wow, the working moms I've known missed their kids. Guess I hang with the unenlightened crowd.

I think this writer is trying to imitate the late Erma Bombeck and other female writers of the 60s and 70s who made a career of writing humor pieces about life as a housewife and mother. But no matter what Ms. Bombeck wrote about her kids, she made sure you also knew how much she loved them. I’m not getting that vibe with Ms. Graham’s essay, and that could be why it fell flat with me. I mean, how else do you interpret her closing statement?

Like Steve Buscemi’s character accepting the imminent destruction of Earth in the movie Armageddon, we must learn to embrace the horror. Without summer vacation, there would be no school teachers, and we’d have to hang out with our kids all year.

Hanging out with your kids all year. Who could survive that???


Leslie said...

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and tried really hard to like her piece. But, I agree with your conclusions. (the ending especially) What a sad commentary on motherhood.


Sandy said...

Goodness. I hope her kids don't read that.

Polly said...

I really feel sorry for her, because although she is trying to be funny, it just sounds bitter.

Renae said...

Don't you think her children sense her "horrors?" It is difficult to be a mother, but it's so rewarding. I get paid in love. (most days :)

Peace to you,
Life Nurturing Education

Katherine said...

wow. Even on my worst days with the kids, I never thought that way. Perhaps people who think that way shouldn't bother to have kids...

Brumbemom said...

Oh my goodness. I am wondering why she had kids. I don't get having kids and then not wanting to spend time with them. I feel sorry for her; she is missing out on the best times of her life, she doesn't know it yet.

Janet said...

I have never liked it when people complain about having their kids near them. I really want to ask them WHY they had kids in the first place. I mean, let's face it, we've all had days when it's not so fun, but WHY would you go around making it seem like such a drudgery. My mom's take was always, "if you don't like what your life is like, it's YOUR fault, no one else's". Maybe this lady is just suffering from a severe lack of imagination? LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, like being around your children all of the time is such a hardship! If I were her child, I don't think that I would take that comment very well!

Thanks Barbara, for the sweet message that you left on my Weight Watchers blog! It was very encouraging!

And thank you for making us aware of things like this and the agenda from Obama!

Heather L.

BarbaraLee said...

How stupid. Maybe this over my head but I couldn't finish reading. If I was her children I feel as if my mother regretted having me.
These women aren't funny at all. They seem degrading to me.

Barbara Frank said...

Very touching to see all the comments here from moms who get it. I think we all agree that this writer's kids are being cheated by her attitude and so is she. As the saying goes, when you're raising children, the days are long but the years are short. We must never take this time with our children for granted.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by.