Moms (and dads?) in "the age of anxiety?"

Salon has a good interview I read the other day of Judith Warner, the author of "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety." I'm sure loads of other blogs are talking about the book, but from what I can tell her basic premise is that in an effort to be the perfect mother, moms are actually overstimulating their children and creating an unhealthy, unbalanced home life. I wasn't intending on blogging about it (the book or the interview), but I've been thinking about it for a few days now, so I'm going to recommend checking it out.

She does talk about fathers eventually too. At one point the interviewer asks "A lot of women wonder, how can they get fathers to do their share?" Judith Warner responds:

I don't know. I think at this point it's largely a lost cause for our generation. It's too late. The statistics overall will tell you that there's a grotesque inequality of who does what. When you have families where the mother is at home full time, she does almost everything.  ...You see a lot of wives caught up in this desire to be this perfect mother and this perfectly functioning creature, and the husbands are kind of shunted off to the side and often made to feel like impediments to the smoothly functioning household. I don't think they're necessarily getting a whole lot out of this, easy though it is to get enraged with them.

I'm not going to argue statistics (I have to assume she's done the research), but in my experience the dads I'm friends with (none of which are stay-at-home) are all actively involved in the child-raising. To say it's "too late" and dismiss the need to get fathers involved because they currently aren't involved is absurd.

However the point about shunting off husbands to the side is interesting to me. As a stay at home parent myself I've found you get used to a lot of control over the household, and I can see how this would happen. Though the idea of shunting my wife to the side is ridiculous, if she were less interested in child raising (or culturally not expected to take as much of an active role) things could easily be different.

Anyway, some interesting stuff to think about.

Mommy madness. []