Elisabeth Badinter has written a new book called The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines The Status of Women, and it’s intriguing. The book’s title seems a bit harsh, but when you talk to Elisabeth and hear her side of things, it’s actually not as bad as it would suggest. We all know that a catchy title is a marketing ploy more than an actual representation of the story inside, anyway—in short, don’t judge a book by the cover. We’ve all probably learned this lesson in some way, shape, or form by now.
In the book, Elisabeth takes issue with someone becoming a mother and then automatically taking a backseat to her own children. In my opinion, that’s what motherhood is: you start to live for your child. Having a baby is an amazing responsibility and it’s a 24/7 job, so it’s only natural that you would give all of yourself to this all-consuming being. Right? No—not according to Elisabeth Badinter.
In her book, she talks about how a working mother is looked down upon for not spending time with her children, and if they’re not there for them, there’s massive anxiety and guilt. Now, I don’t have children but I have two “fur babies” and I work a full-time job and sometimes I look at them and think, “I’m a bad pet parent to you guys, I’m never here,” so I can only imagine what it’s like to have that resonating feeling when it comes to rearing a child. Elisabeth, however, is telling women “you’re a human too, you also have needs and that’s okay.” It’s a very healthy way to look at motherhood.
Badinter’s book is telling women that you can be both a mother and a person, that you don’t have to give up everything, and that’s it’s okay to take some time for you. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind (yes, I rely heavily on advice from 80′s songs) and that’s apparently what Elisabeth is doing with her new book. It’s a harsh wake-up call telling women that they aren’t bad parents if they take time for themselves, because in fact you’ll be a better-balanced role model for your children in the long run. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end, anyway?