Parents these days really need to get a grip. Where have all of the normal parents gone? By normal I mean the ones that aren't so immersed in the lives of their children that they no longer have an individual identity. This seems to be especially true for mothers. I am not against staying home with your kids and I am not against going back to work full-time or part-time. I think that the mommy wars are a media invented frenzy designed solely to sell more publications. Whatever you decide to do in terms of your own employment, try to let your kids figure some things out for themselves. Frequently I am exposed to mothers who proudly proclaim, "I am home with him/her full time and they are an only child." They say this as if this is a good thing, to be home and constantly involved with your child when the child is four or five years old. Don't get me wrong, I have struggled with urges to control all aspects of my children's destiny as much as any other parent. The difference is that I think I am at least aware of this and try to control it.
I see mothers with children that are nine and ten years of age at school drop off every morning. They pull up into the drop off lane, get out of the car, open the door for their older child, help them out of the car, make sure that the coat is buttoned and that the child has their band instrument and backpack, and kiss them goodbye before waltzing slowly back to the driver's side looking all the while to make sure that their baby makes it safely across the 500 yards that they have to cross in order to get into the school building. This is really ridiculous. I know parents who cannot commit themselves to anything further than 10 minutes away from their child's school in case the child needs them during the day. I always have to wonder why these parents aren't home schooling. That way, their child would never have to leave home during the day and they wouldn't be stressed about not being immediately available.
It perplexes me, these parents who don't want to let go, think that their children can't make it on their own at school, or need constant parental guidance yet they don't willingly take on the job of their child's education at home. It would make more sense if they just did it themselves rather than parading their doubts and worries in front of the rest of us. Maybe some people just like to be a...Martyr.
In praise of parents who want to have their own identity and who actually enjoy having time away from their kids, I would like to recommend my very favorite parenting book, "The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting," by Christine Mellor.