Well, the discussion on the Berman article is very interesting! It didn’t hit me until 2amsomewhere’s comment that this was becoming a bit of a rehash of an earlier theme I hit. But since it has been a couple of years, I’ll gladly do it again all fresh-like.
Cat pointed out that she sees lots of men who shift themselves out of the courting phase of the marriage about as quickly as many women dive into mommyhood. They quit wining and dining, they let themselves go and still expect their wives to look like Jack Bauer.
Or something like that.
I’ll readily admit to having been a guy like that. Seriously, I did engage in blatant and rampant neglect for at least the first 2 years of my marriage, and possibly another year or so of simply blind ignorance. I suppose a body can build up a very big head of resentment in that amount of time. I shifted my attention from courting to providing. It was all about the job, and getting a house and trying to get a fledgling career off the ground. When I came home (late) she was dying to talk to me. I didn’t feel like talking because I’d been at it all day. I was totally out of synch with her needs. Sex became very much a chore for her, at least until we decided we wanted kids. Then it was still a chore but at least it was for a cause she could support! And after that came the postpartum depression and then…
Well that’s when my story really begins. I became aware that there was a bit of a problem. It was a growing problem, and I began working harder and harder to resolve it. And perhaps it was too little too late. Perhaps she’s totally checked out, emotionally.
Having said all that, and having spent the past 5+ years attempting to atone for my previous shortcomings, there is a reason why Berman’s article provokes and resonates. It’s the same reason Dr. Laura had to write her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. It’s this simple fact: when it comes to how men really feel about things, there’s large number of women who simply don’t care. I didn’t read the Craigslist article (blocked by IT censors) but can guess the gist of it. Sure women let themselves go physically the same as men in favor of motherhood, but for the most part men have much lower expectations that women might think. It doesn’t always have to be about putting on all kinds of make-up. NAKED is good! Leave the pony tail in!
But as 2amsomewhere pointed out, most mothers are putting their children #1. Period. The husbands are lucky if they make the list at all. Dr. Berman is simply pointing out that in the long-term it is not in the best interest of the children to be so doting and hovering. The children become brattish, spoiled and imprinted with a massive sense of entitlement that simply does not exist in the real world. It reminds of that Pink Floyd song :
Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Ooooowaa Mother, should I build a wall?
Mother, should I run for President?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?
Ooooowaa Is it just a waste of time?
Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry.
Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true.
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you.
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Momma’s gonna keep Baby cozy and warm.
Ooo Babe, of course Momma’s gonna help build a wall.
Mother, do you think she’s good enough,
Mother, do you think she’s dangerous,
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Ooooowaa Mother, will she break my heart?
Hush, my baby. Baby, don’t you cry.
Momma’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Momma won’t let anyone dirty get through.
Momma’s gonna wait up until you get in.
Momma will always find out where you’ve been.
Momma’s gonna keep Baby healthy and clean.
Ooo Babe, you’ll always be Baby to me.
Mother, did it need to be so high?
Ironically, perhaps so much of this hovering is driven by guilt or fear of some sort, but it is misplaced. By building the wall around their children, it ends up harming them. How many of us know parents who are living vicariously through their children? How many of us know parents who are over protective? How many of us know parents who anticipate the needs of their children and are giving to them before they even ask?
By trying to give our children an easier life than we had, we are creating a weaker sort of person. But I’ll follow-up more on that theme later.
I’m lucky to even be able to post, let alone follow-up on comments with work being busy as it is! hopefully I can shed a bit morre light on that next time.