Comments on: “On Being a Bad Mother,” by Sandra Tsing Loh History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 06:11:01 +0000 hourly 1 By: Professor Zero Tue, 29 Dec 2009 14:29:11 +0000 Good points, Susurro; thanks for broadening this discussion as you have.

“why so many came out of the 70s and then invested in the 50s in more ways than one”

I think it is because a lot of those 70s parents did not take the 70s ideas very seriously. Sure, they took advantage them in egotistical ways but it was rather superficial. So the kids got the disadvantages of the 50s and the 70s and none of the advantages, and since they didn’t remember the actual 50s these became easy to idealize.

A lot of my current students’ parents — people in their 30s and 40s (it’s easy to be 35 and have a child who’s a freshman in college, remember) — had and have poor impulse control, and get into a fair amount of trouble for this reason. This is why the kids so idealize authoritarian structures.

By: susurro Mon, 28 Dec 2009 11:17:19 +0000 “If she had lived in co-housing, for example, that might have alleviated some of the strains, boredom, and resentment that she must have felt when her husband was on the road and she was entirely responsible for her children.”

This is an interesting potential solution, and one ppl have tried or use regularly, and that gets me back to the investment in a certain kind of middle class attainment/ capitalism that seems out of step with rhetorical strategies in mainstream feminism. Maybe I’m just having one of my “see how capitalism is failing everywhere, do you really want that or the shame that goes with failing to get it? really?” moments instead of focusing more closely on the problems she does raise, which are valid and disconcerting.

By: Kathleen Lowrey Mon, 28 Dec 2009 02:26:13 +0000 how could anybody not love a writer who ends that long quote about yoga / attainment / and mothering with

“Well, okay.”


I am laffin and laffin.

By: Indyanna Sun, 27 Dec 2009 22:12:15 +0000 Random footnote to this post from the Sunday sports page: “Over lunch on the veranda at the Masters one year, Earl Woods said, ‘I’ve told Tiger that marriage is unnecessary in a mobile society like ours.’ ” [NY Times, Sports Sunday, December 27, 2009, p. 4].

By: Historiann Sun, 27 Dec 2009 16:40:56 +0000 Aurora–agreed. It is sad. But, I don’t think young children should *have* to worry about their parents, and I question their capacity to do so. After all, it’s what makes children so adaptable and successful when their families fall apart–so long as their needs are being met, it’s (mostly) all good. It’s probably for the best for them.

In the period I research, childhood was continually disrupted by death, disease, starvation, warfare, and captivity–across ethnic and class lines, for the most part. The more self-centered children are, I think, the better their chances for adaptation to new parents/new environments/new homes, and thus the better their chances for survival.

I know it must be disturbing for most modern parents to know that their children would not only survive but even thrive after a parent’s premature death, but I think it should be comforting. Who cares if a child remembers you clearly or grieves your loss, so long as she grows up to become a healthy, strong, and functional adult?

Digger: I agree that the injunction by others to stay in marriages probably indicates some feelings of “I settled–why shouldn’t you?”

By: Aurora Sun, 27 Dec 2009 03:56:26 +0000 I read the entire article — a difficult read. It is sad in tone, as one would expect the death of a marriage to be. It seems like she’s trying to rationalize what happened to her and put it in larger context in an effort to come to terms with things. She’s trying to make sense of things, but there’s probably not much sense to be made of this.

One thing she said caught my eye — as long as her kids have their house and routine they don’t care about what’s happening to their parents. But they should, shouldn’t they? I bet they are taking it badly, but they aren’t showing it and taking comfort in routines. Modern families are astonishingly centred around kid schedules and making sure the kids are comfortable.

I don’t feel annoyed toward her. Rather I want to offer my sympathies and I suspect she would welcome it.

By: digger Sun, 27 Dec 2009 01:51:48 +0000 I was raised in the 70s, a child of divorced parents. I don`t think there`s anything wrong with divorcing for whatever reasons. It ain`t fun, no matter why. If the why is important enough for someone to go through the sh!t, that`s a good enough reason for me.

The self policing may stem from folks` own insecurities about their own relationships. Perhaps they`re staying `because of the children`… but it sucks to not offer a place to crash or a cup of coffee. Sounds terribly insecure.

By: Mark K. Sat, 26 Dec 2009 23:43:15 +0000 “Stereotypical heteronormative family model is shaky for lots of people” combined with “children of divorced parents often are suspicious of adults claiming personal growth as a justification for leaving households” is a major reason that an increasing number of people in my generation (mid 20s to late 30s) are turning to polyamory.

By: LadyProf Sat, 26 Dec 2009 20:26:45 +0000 ‘Tis my season for half-recalled books that I can’t retrieve via Google. A propos of Randi’s comment, I remember Hugh Drummond, the psychiatrist, writing in one of his books that when women commit adultery it’s generally because their husbands are depriving them of something they deserve, and when men commit adultery it’s generally because they’re self-entitled pigs.

If Drummond were a woman he’d have been pilloried for saying such a terrible man-hating thing; because he’s a man, his contention was (only) ignored. FWIW, I think there’s a lot of truth there, although I feel pretty sure that a few adulterous women are self-entitled pigs and a few adulterous men suffered an unjust deprivation.

By: Randi Sat, 26 Dec 2009 19:20:03 +0000 “Broken home”. Now there’s a phrase. Home is only broken when she kicks him out or she leaves. All that he does and doesn’t do before she leaves isn’t breaking anything! At all! I contend men screw around just because they can, until they’re caught and then they’re so contrite; women look elsewhere because they live in a “broken home”.

We all know marriage is a woman’s responsibility.