There’s no ‘I’ in mom

By Anita Doberman: Local Columnist

USAToday published an
article about a freelance
writer, Helen
Kirwan-Taylor, who wrote an
essay on how her children bore
her to death, and how she would
rather do anything than spend
time with them.

Having five children, I had
many thoughts after reading this
article, not all of them nice.

Apparently many readers in
England, where the piece first
appeared, were appalled.
First, I want to invite Kirwan-
Taylor to my house. I have an
antidote to her boredom. It consists
of keeping up with cooking,
cleaning, kids playing and fighting,
and endless diapers. I think
one afternoon at my house should
do it.

Second, I thought about the sadness
of her statements. She said
she begged the nanny to read to
her children when they were little.
She also said that she hated birthday
parties and school events, and
found other mothers boring.
Sorry, but if Kirwan-Taylor cannot
see the privilege in watching
her children grow and has a hard
time making friends, she is probably
the boring one.

Third, I was angry. More than
anything, this writer, who works
from home but has a full-time
nanny and lives in a prestigious
London neighborhood, was talking
as if she were entitled to a life
of endless fun. Her children are
simply another box to check,
marked on some list out there that
says you need a couple of kids to
be a proper adult, but that there’s
no expectation to actually care for
them.

I have met many women like
Kirwan-Taylor, especially from
affluent liberal backgrounds. In
fact, before having children I too
felt that “I” was the most
important person. But after getting
married and having little ones, I
realized that the “I” becomes the
“we” and family comes first.

When I chose to stay home
with my children, I willingly
made the sacrifice to put my
career on hold. I love to write and
there are days when I would like
nothing better than to go out on
assignments for a newspaper.

Yet, I sit down with my
youngest daughter, Eva, and we
play “Dora Meet Diego.” Hearing
her little voice beginning to form
sentences and telling me how to
save “baby jaguar” gives me more
happiness than any newspaper
assignment.

As mothers, we are “bored”
with our children when we put
ourselves first. My family life
works much better when I put my
husband and my children first, and
not so well when “I” want to be
first.

It is sad that in this society the
“I” has become so important
to overshadow the “we” of the
family, which becomes lost in the
liberal discourse highlighting
personal fulfillment above all else.

Kirwan-Taylor may have
forgotten what it means to make
sacrifices. Motherhood can be
difficult and challenging but the
rewards far outweigh what you
give up.

I hope Kirwan-Taylor stops by
my house sometime soon. We’ll
start with changing the baby’s diapers
and feeding the 10-monthold.
I am certain she will forget all
about her boredom.

Anita Doberman is a freelance
writer, mother of five and
wife of an Air Force pilot stationed
at Hurlburt AFB in
Florida. The family expects to
be moving to Cannon Air Force
Base in the next year. Contact
her at:
anita@anitadoberman.com