Off a Duck’s Back

Howdy friends, sorry to pop such a controversial and caustic article on you all in that last post and then disappear! It’s been a busy week here at Camp Mayhem, with short naps by the Babe. But I’ve been reading all your comments with great interest, and I have re-read Erica Jong’s article a few times, as well as the one written by her daughter. I am absolutely fascinated by both. I don’t have time to write fully all the things I’m thinking, but I did want to check in with a few thoughts.

I’m fascinated not just by the mothering content of her article– which I agree with and despise in turns– but by her writing itself, which is often pure doublespeak, and appears to invite offense and require agreement, by turns. I am not surprised that y’all came back with such a wide variety of comments. Jong offers such disparate information and opinions that you could come to a variety of conclusions about what the hell she’s trying to say. And it’s not as though she brings this variety to the table with an open and wondering heart. Like someone said in a comment, Jong’s definitely bitter about something, and her piece hits (me at least) like vengeance.

But as quick as she got my back up, she got me thinking about another compelling topic. Judgement and scorn beget judgement and scorn. We have to let the water run off our backs like good little ducks and remember that we’re all in this together and none of us know what the hell we are doing. According to her daughter’s brief biography of her, it doesn’t sound like Erica got much love as a kid (had she gotten a little AP when she needed it she might not sound so bitter right about now…) We all come from somewhere, and we do what we can with whatever we came with. She says some important stuff, and whether or not she really means them, we can still use what’s good, to the benefit of all.

I hope to have a more thorough response to her article sometime soon. Along with the finale to the cast iron series. And all my laundry cleaned, and the floors mopped, or even just swept. Hell, we can dream, right?

3 thoughts on “Off a Duck’s Back

  1. You are so right…. I hate being judged, it just makes me feel defensive and (usually) I end up being more extreme than ever!!! But yeah, she probably could’ve used a snugglier childhood.
    Also, writers can just be writers, taking on personas and crafting a piece just for the craft. Who knows. ‘

    Love your blog! Found it on the Radical Homemakers site.

  2. i’m not sure that i gave the article the attention it needed for a super thoughtful response – i am at work and the radio and phones keep going (gah).
    that said, my 2bit 2minute take on it – it really didn’t get my hackles up. maybe i’m missing something? for i feel like my beliefs/desires/notions of parenting run very parallel to miss calamity jane’s…i have to say i totally felt validated by her point that a lot of attachment parenting literature is classist and based on the faulty assumptioin that a parent has the time/money it takes to rear a baby exclusively in that manner.
    that said, i myself practice(d) attachment parenting best i could and i believe in the principle/idea deeply.
    also – i will admit (semi-sheepishly) i am *Terribly* bitter that i do not have the financial resources to be a stay at home mama. –i didn’t think Jong was discounting the work of staying at home, or the choice. i took, from her words, that the pressure to do so (AP and cloth diapers and organic homemade babyfood) is sometimes damaging – making women who *don’t* have the time/energy/money or even desire to follow that path feel like they’re doing something wrong.
    and i did like the whole “do the best you can” notion, at the end.
    i dunno–

  3. I see the entire issue as simply about choice. Unfortunately, because one woman chose one way, and another chose another, they feel that they’re at odds… and I think this is terribly destructive. It feels to me that the world is full of people who choose something and then feel that everyone SHOULD choose the same thing. Come on… I think that it’s great that the AP literature is out there… along with the 400 other ways you can parent. The key is choice… AND tolerance. I get to do one thing… and you can do another. And if you choose that you are going to juggle both parenthood and professional job, and I choose to make organic baby food with my time, then so be it. Yay for more than one way… but don’t tell me I SHOULD have done what I did differently. Just observe, and move on if you don’t agree.

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