Finally got my hands on it yesterday. Interesting. Lots of stereotyping of all kinds going on there. I loved how Marta said stay at home moms got perfect hair, nails, plastic surgery, tennis, etc. (I would quote directly, but I don't want to find the page!) Yeah. Right. Stay at home moms with lots of $, housekeepers, nannies and maids get those things. The average stay at home mom gets an entirely different picture. But, to be fair, Bellevue stay at home moms are a bit different these days...not 25 years ago, though. I was born in Bellevue, in the days before Microsoft took over that and Redmond. When we go back now, my parents can hardly recognize it. But I digress.
I guess what bugged me was her assumptions that stay at home mothers have it easier. As a single mom, obviously she doesn't have a choice, she has to work. And I'm certainly not saying that it wasn't hard for her. She was stressed to the breaking point. But it's not just working mothers who are stressed to the breaking point. There are stay at home moms out there who make a very difficult choice economically (aside from all the other difficult aspects of the decision) to not work. Trust me, I'm living it right now. I did appreciate the scene where she ran into Taylor Young at the grocery store and thought she looked tired and old. And realized that it was a lot of work to be Mrs. Young. (Oh, and I did find the "brain and not just a body" line a bit offensive too. How dare she be so judgmental?!)
I guess what I really got from this book is that we all make choices and have struggles as a result. It's not fair to ever call someone else's life and choices easy, perfect or a sell-out. Mary and I have discussed at length in the last few years how our own ideals have changed. My mom was a bit of a feminist, though not quite like Mary's mom. She was one of three women to graduate in Business Management from BYU in 1974, as she so proudly told me growing up. She went into one of her business classes the first day and the professor said, "Miss, the typing class is down the hall." She said, "I'm in the right place," and sat down. My mom didn't get married until she was 28. She had a very successful thriving career as a business woman. Those are the legends I grew up on. And so, I had very strong ideas about what my life would be. I would NOT get married young, I would get a doctorate, maybe even an MD, and I would make a name for myself in the academic world. I had things I wanted to do with my life before I settled down and had children.
Well. I got married at 22 (I did graduate from college first though!). I gave up a $20,000 scholarship to the #2 master's of social work program in the nation because my husband had a full scholarship at BYU. I had my son at 24. I stay at home with him now. And you know what? I am so glad. The dreams I embraced when I was younger were only part mine. The other part of those dreams were my mom's. Lucky for me, my mom has supported my choices. I think her ideals changed over the years too. After all, when she had me at 31, she choose to stop working and stay at home when I was just a few months old.
Bottom line: We all make our choices, and then have to live with them. And no one else knows what is best for us (and they certainly shouldn't have the presumption to think they do!).
Next issue (SO sorry, I know this is really really long): different just for the sake of being different. That's so funny to me right now, seeing as I live in Eugene, Oregon, the land of the eternal hippie (peace, love and campaigning to legalize pot), tree hugger, protester, liberal, etc. Here, I'm the odd mom out. ME. The stay at home mom conservative. The student body at UO takes themselves very seriously. They are so proud of their diversity. But frankly, I think they are about as diverse as BYU was/is. If you gather together everyone who is different and put them in the same place, are they still different? I don't mind people living their lives, of course, but make your choices based on more than a desire to be different. And also realize that no one lives in a vacuum, and the mantra that it's-my-life-and-I-can-do-want-I-want-my-choices-don't-affect-any-one-else is a fallacy.
And that is what I think. :)