19 July 2011


I just read Joanna's fantastic post about juggling family and career. What really stood out to me is the degree to which she and her husband share the responsibilities and the joys of child-rearing, without losing sight of each other and their marriage.

It was the perfect antidote to Erica Jong's piece in the New York Times a couple weeks back, where she chastises mothers of today for our rejection of Jong's generation of feminism. According to her, "We (Jong's generation) idealized open marriage; our daughters are back to idealizing monogamy. We were unable to extinguish the lust for propriety." Apparently our "lust for propriety" runs so deep that "our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality."

What Jong fails to grasp is that feminism has changed. Monogamy includes far more perks for women now than it may have a couple generations ago. Marriages are often partnerships between equals, allowing women to be more than just mothers and men to be more than just breadwinners. A valid concern, though, would be that both men and women lose sight of their commitment to each other as they focus so much attention on their children and their careers.

So back to Joanna's post. She addresses the issue, saying:

My parents got divorced when I was little, so I'm really conscious of focusing on my marriage as much as my child/ren. I feel lucky to be able to spend frequent quality time with Alex and love having our own adventures together, separate from the baby. Plus, I think most kids like seeing their parents dress up and go out to dinner together; it's exciting! (There's a beautiful passage in the book Peter Pan about Wendy watching her parents get ready for an evening out.) I love the idea that the goal should be not only to have a happy child, but to have a happy family.

I couldn't have said it better myself, so I'll just leave it at that. Oh, and I'll toss in a couple of pictures of Keith and I going on dates for good measure.

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