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Sybil Adelman Sage

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Manning Up to Motherhood

Posted: 05/14/2012 11:36 am

"My son has a paid internship this summer," is the new, "My son was made partner," causing moms of unpaid interns to question if they should have continued to breastfeed for another few months, years or decades. Mothering is open to interpretation. While I wouldn't let my son out the front door without checking to be sure he'd applied SPF 45 Sunscreen, another mom takes her young daughter to a tanning salon.

This week, coinciding with Mother's Day, Anne Enright's Making Babies and Elizabeth Badinter's The Conflict are reviewed in the New York Times, both addressing the topic of mothering. Some are likely to suggest that these books are part of a left-wing conspiracy to move the Hillary Rosen/Ann Romney conversation to a back burner. Regardless, we are once again addressing the question of whether it's the French style of mothering or the American that's getting it right. Given that one country's mothering resulted in Rush Limbaugh while the other produced Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I'm not convinced either method can be said to be more effective.

Many of us mothers with children under the age of 70 living at home are having trouble finding time to read; we're busy cutting our children's steaks and setting out their Lipitor. That's why I'm proposing that Mothering be introduced as an Olympic event. This will allow us to watch while we breastfeed our retired interns. The French team, fortified with Burgundy and Gauloise, would be pitted against Team America, with children of all ages attached to them in Snuglis. The panel of judges might have difficulty defining who deserves the most points. Right-wingers would likely see the winners as those mothers who produced the fewest gays, while left-wingers may choose to measure who's produced the fewest right-wingers.

As we and our children get older, we continue to learn and love. What I've learned so far:

Having a child is risky and it will make you more anxious and cause you to wash your hands more.

If the child is carrying an attaché, it's time to stop breastfeeding.

When they need to separate, backing off should replace being there.

What the card says on Mothers Day means less than what they say to the therapist.

Have a child because you want to give, not to get.

They're more computer savvy than we are.

The day they move out is sad... even if they're moving from your home to "the home"

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