I don’t usually write book reviews, even though I read a ton and probably should, but the one I read over the last few days has irritated me to such a level that I find I must pass on the love.
I read To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife by Caitlin Flanagan. While I thought that there would be some good validation for stay-at-home moms such as Flanagan herself, or a look at her struggle to become one, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
In a nutshell, this is a look at a pampered woman who does nothing for herself, and then has the cajones to call herself a housewife. It starts out that a non-working woman gives birth to twins. Although she states she is a writer, one of the statements in her book makes me think that she was as surprised at her career as I am…it doesn’t seem like she was necessarily “working” on anything at home. (This seems to be backed up as she didn’t actually have anything published until the twins were more than two years old…what was she doing before then? Just waiting to get knocked up? Is that a profession these days??)
Anywho, the twins come along, and although she and her husband live in a small rented apartment, she decides that she needs a nanny 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and can’t seem to cope with the children when the beloved nanny (who she eventually fires) isn’t around.
At least she had a nice meal for the breadwinner when he gets home, and a nice, clean house, right? Well, yes….cause that’s the nanny’s job too, and later she just goes ahead and gets a maid. Oh, and don’t forget the professional organizer that she has a once-weekly standing appointment with.
Throughout this book, I wondered how I was able to ‘have it all’ with no household help whatsoever. Granted, our place is a bit smaller, but I feed myself and my husband everyday, and we clean our own house. And still have time for our full time jobs and other activities. We must be super people! And why do I do all of this? Oh, that’s right…because I’m oppressed!!!
While I was seriously irritated during the entire book, I think the point at which I wanted to throw it against the wall was the last few pages in which she talks about her breast cancer (I’m not going to say suffer, because I’m sure for her the most painful part was missing her weekly meeting with the organizer when that silly chemo got in the way). She talks about going through treatment in only the vaguest terms (seriously, the whole cancer section is about five pages, versus the over 20 for the nanny issues) and then comes out and says that even though her kids were five when she had cancer, she finally felt like a real mom once she came through her treatment, because she wanted to live for her children.
Really? You didn’t feel like a real mom? Is because you don’t do jack shit for your own children? Even though you exploit them for your own “literary” purposes? I mean, you wouldn’t want to get rid of the little darlings, since they are helping to pay for their own hideously expensive schooling and household help. Maybe you should spend a little bit more time hugging your children instead of the hosts of the Today Show.
(Or maybe not. That nanny did seem awfully nice. Maybe she should be their mom from now on.)