I’ve read a couple of great books and one of them is a book entitled, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. It’s about the thoughts of a newspaper columnist who discussed the striking difference between the lifestyle of French and American moms. The book was written by Judith Warner, a radio host and a syndicated columnist. She lived in Paris and Washington, D.C. She also penned the book You Have the Power, as well as a biography of former First Lady and now Senator Hillary Clinton.
The author is a mother of two, and she talks about the current situation of moms in America nowadays. She talks about the guilt, self-doubt, and frustrations that besiege most American moms. She also discusses the challenges of excelling in the workplace and being a good parent at home.
The book also touches on the reality of working moms who are always anxious about leaving their kids for work. Any mother who has very little time to spend with her children can relate to this author’s words.
The book is in flowing prose, and is a mixture of biographical stories and anecdotes. Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, explains how factors related to society and politics affect the ordinary working mom.
The book also narrates how American mothers are constantly worrying about the skill sets that are a child should have at a particular developmental age.
A striking part of the book deals with the way some American moms are constantly unhappy about their situation. The book talks about the idea of having the “perfect child”, being a perfect parent, and the black and white way people see winning (and losing). Victory is measured in terms of cars and homes, and the quality (and price) thereof. In this respect, the so-called losers are individuals who are still struggling to survive the rat race on a daily basis.
Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety also points out the huge role of mass media in shaping the image of the perfect American mom. There are examples of several mother-types presented, such as the high-achiever supermom, who just happened to be a success in the workplace too. She can manage everything from PTA meetings to baseball games, to weekly family outings. At the same time she can immediately switch to her role as a boardroom director who everyone respects in the workplace.
The book Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety also zeroes in on the scenario that is more commonly seen in an ordinary household, in which moms are constantly panicking about their finances and how to raise their kids properly.
The book compares motherhood in the US with motherhood in France. The author describes the French mothers are able to live normally through institutional support and a slightly different parenting style. In France, mothers can opt to hire state-subsidized caregivers. The culture also allows the moms to act more carefree and less stressed about leaving their kids to have coffee with friends and dates with their husband.
Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety is a good read. It’s not only for moms, but also for dads who want to play a big role in caring for their children.