I am reading and really enjoying Judith Warner's Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. (Expect to read more of my reactions to the book in upcoming posts. I know; you're on tenterhooks.) So far the message that has really resonated with me is the idea of modern women as "a generation of control freaks." According to Warner,
Most of us in the post-baby boom generation did not learn our feminism - that is to say, a sense of ourselves as women in an era saturated by feminism - through consciousness-raising sessions or marches. We learned it by going to school and through the popular media. The watered-down, power-through-control vision of female selfhood we imbibed became the backbone of our identity.She then applies her analysis to mothers in particular:
How surprising is it, then, that when we became mothers, we took to purifying and regulating our children's environments - cheered on by parenting magazines and their advertisers, and reinforced in the sense of our rightness by the increasingly anxiety-filled world we saw around us?Yesterday saw me living up to Warner's description. To begin our trip to the supermarket, I popped a Clorox wipe and disinfected any and every part of the shopping cart that Big Boy or I could conceivably touch. At the end of our excursion, I Purell-ed the life out of my hands and then used a Wet Ones to wipe off his hands and face.
I had to laugh at myself, though, later in the day when I found myself standing in the closet, lining up Tiny Baby's clothes in Roy G. Biv color order.
Control freak, thy name is Kristen!
Are there ways in which you try to control your own life by regulating those of your children? Or have you managed to raise more "free-range" kids?