It’s War… Mommy Wars

So I didn’t have a lot of time to write this post, but I did want to share a little about The Ten Year Nap so far. It seems that central to the plot is the comparison between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Not exactly a major conflict in my life just yet, but interesting nonetheless.

The book centers around women who gave up their high-powered careers to take care of their families only to “wake up” ten years later and reflect on what’s become of their lives. Some women in the novel stopped working and revolve their days around their families, others try to make up for not working with other activities, some work and seem frazzled when it comes to handling everything, and then there are the rare few who manage to work, take care of the kids and do it all seamlessly and glamorously. In the real world, the question of which of these types of women are “right” or “better” makes up the so-called “mommy wars.” So who is right or better?

In an interview with Salon back in 2008, Wolitzer tries to stay neutral:

You claim not to be taking sides in the mommy wars …

Oh no, I would never.

But is she really Switzerland?

But I can’t help but feel that a book that begins with the sentence, “All around the country, women were waking up,” is a pretty broad blow against those who have opted out.

Oh, you found me out! When I started writing “The Ten-Year Nap,” I was judgmental of women I had known and liked, who had given up careers when their kids were born, and somehow 10 years had gone by and they weren’t sure what they were doing. I thought to myself, “Why aren’t they driven? Why aren’t they guided by some singular purpose?”

But as I wrote and the characters became more complex, I thought, “Who am I to say?” I’m not writing a polemic. I really want to show what it’s like for women who stop working. And that hasn’t been done, as far as I could see, in fiction.

I’ll have to read more to see just how truthful she is being. At this stage in my life, I’m not sure where I stand yet but I’ve found it somewhat entertaining to read about so far. Any thoughts?


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