If you want to keep on thinking you've invented parenting, and no one's ever had the same experience, problem, or anxiety, or solution you have, don't read Ann Hulbert. She turns her historically contextualizing eye on the recent trend of Mommy Myth Lit and wonders if the whole genre of Perfect Madness-style confessional might actually be part of the stress-inducing problem, not the solution.
As a bonus for New Republic subscribers (and bugmenot.com users), here's a 2003 article she wrote about the then-still-nascent genre of new-style dad lit. It ain't pretty.
"A woman can ask a man to do something, or she can tell him how to do it, but she can't do both." Maybe it's time we stressed-out mothers tried a different approach: Ask him how he does itóor, rather, doesn't do it. Yes, it rankles that he can fall so readily into the mellower role of muddler; men have the luxury of knowing they "can only be better fathers than their fathers," Kate Reddy gripes, where mothers are plagued by insecurity. Still, the working fatheróI'm quite sure the kids would concurómay well have something useful to tell us, if we slowed down for a moment to listen.We've come a long way, baby.