Nick Friedman is the first male editor of Scholastic's Parent & Child, a magazine whose readership is 85% women the New York Times reports. Apparently, most magazines are run by the gender they intend to cater to (BTW, non-bitches need not apply!), and while homemaker mags have been run by dudes before (Good Housekeeping was founded by Clark W. Bryan in 1885), there seems to be a "mommy club" that men remain outside of.
Behold the teaser from an article in this morning's Chicago Sun Times: "Football tough guy Brian Urlacher dresses his son in pink Cinderella diapers and paints the 3-year-old's toenails blue, the child's mother charged in Will County court Tuesday."
The Netherlands may be known throughout the world for their quaint wooden shoes and their progressive drug and prostitution laws, but soon they might be known for something else: forced sterilization of women. You read me right, a draft bill currently before the Dutch parliament will, if passed, force women deemed to be "unfit mothers" to take oral contraception for a period of two years.
Shortly before the birth of my first child nine years ago, while browsing the bookstore for mommy wisdom, I discovered Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year and fell in love with the author and the book. More than any parenting truisms the book might have contained, it was Lamott’s writing style—funny, self-deprecating, and brutally honest—that kept me reading. The big mommy insight I gleaned from Operating Instructions was that I wasn’t quite as neurotic as Anne, so my kid and I would probably be all right.
At the turn of the millennium, Bridget Jones and the Sex and the City girls heralded a new era of fun, fearless singledom. Chick lit, accompanied by memoirs and anthologies about single womanhood, made it whimsical for an otherwise-capable woman to be vain, proud of her missteps and mistakes, and heartbroken over her inability to find a man. Now, what happens in the next chapter after Ms. Adorably Quirky has found Mr. Right? She manifests new neuroses and fears as she enters the brave new world of motherhood.
With all the world in strife, one might think the moms of New York would cut each other some slack.... That motherhood, in short, would serve as a safe house where civility and mutual respect rule. Think again. Motherhood, for all its well-documented joys, has become a flash point for envy, resentment, and guilt.
—Ralph Gardner Jr., “Mom vs. Mom,” New York, October 21, 2002
"One might think,” in other words, that mothers could comport themselves in a more seemly manner. Because if we don’t get ourselves under control, we’re going to explode.
The year my oldest daughter turned 4, her little sister was born, and that spring, in desperation, I let her play more or less unsupervised in the neighbors’ yard. When I came up for air from the endless diaper changes and nursing sessions, I’d catch a glimpse of her through the family-room window. Sweaty, dirty, and wild-eyed, she ran behind the neighbors’ pack of crazy, good-natured, and mostly unsupervised boys.
In this era of social conservatism, the so-called mommy wars, and renewed cultural clashes about gender, work, and “family values,” it’s hardly surprising that nanny narratives are making a comeback. Faster than you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” nannies have popped up in movies (Uptown Girls) and bestselling novels (The Nanny Diaries, I Don’t Know How She Does It), as characters on tv shows (Friends, Kevin Hill, Desperate Housewives), and even as a subgenre of reality tv (Nanny 911, Supernanny).
Years ago, Joe Kelly noticed a Maidenform ad reading “Inner beauty only goes so far” on the side of a city bus, and was horrified to imagine one of his young daughters as the subject of it. As one of the founders, with wife Nancy Gruver, of New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams, an award-winning, youth-edited publication, Kelly was well aware that the relationships between girls and their fathers hold an importance that’s too often dismissed or overlooked.