The Loh Down on doing your best

I told you when I posted about Sandra Tsing Loh’s divorce article in The Atlantic that her perspective is interesting and intriguing. Much more so than Waldman’s (or any of the other so-called bad parents out there). Now that she’s posting about the difficulty of being a real parent in the era where all decisions seem judged crucial and the bevvy of “bad parents” are a disappointing group of flawed but decent parents who think it’s somehow funny to claim they’re failing while the rest of us struggle to make it through each day with our selfhood intact.

“Today’s Professional Class mothers are expected to have, above all, the personalities—and the creative aspirations—of elementary-school teachers. But if you’re like me, you can’t compete with those seasoned professionals for whom child education is an enthusiastic vocation.” Bless you for saying it. I love my child, I’ve said before, but I’m totally not cut out for this work. I’m doing a kick-ass goddamned great job, but this is not the job I want. Thank you for voicing what I’ve been desperately hoping is true: that smart, overeducated, middle class women who’ve hacked their way through the jungle of independence and career to carve themselves a creative niche make for depressed parents.

My favorite quote from the Loh article, in which she returns to second-wave feminism to decide who and what she is in this 1950s MadMen clusterf*ck of a society we find ourselves in:

“The 21st-century Creative Class mom’s life is actually far worse than that of her 1950s counterpart.”

She says in one sentence what I tried to say here and here and here, and Susan Maushart says in The Mask of Motherhood, a text I recommend to all families with or about to have a new baby.

And that prescient, erudite brevity is why Loh gets paid the big bucks.