I visited Debbie the other day to try to help her nest a bit, and she gave me two books, one of which was Ayelet Waldman’s Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which she said was a little too much for her (meaning Debbie) at this point.Â I agree — it’s not a book that should be read while pregnant, but later, while struggling with what it means to be a good mother or even, as I often do, how to get back to even wanting to be a good mother.
I read the whole book in one sitting and while I disliked a few parts, I admire Waldman for her honesty — I consider myself a very honest writer, but she goes where I hadn’t dared — and her talent and her insight.
Here’s what I took away from it:
1) Men MUST be equal partners, not just pay lip service. Okay, that’s old news, but never bad to be reminded.
2) Men do not worry about being good or bad fathers, they just are what they are. We should follow their example. This is wrapped up in the whole idea of observing, of living in the moment rather than judging and worrying. More old news, but still, good to hear.
3) I’m glad I don’t live in Berkeley.
4) I kind of wished I lived in Berkeley.
5) Part-time work that you love is the answer to the work/life balance conundrum. (She doesn’t state this explicitly, but confirms what I already figured out.Â We writers, money permitting, have it made.)
6) I think I’d like to try going on Celexa.
And the chapter on her abortion between her second and third child (she has four) made me weep. It is powerful, powerful stuff.