Susan Jeffers, author of the hugely successful Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and other self-help bibles, brings her attention to bear on children and motherhood. The stereotype that an unhappy adult is created by a bad mother is a fundamentally damaging misconception about just how much responsibility a mother should take for the happiness and success of her offspring, when grown.
Why not fathers? Why assume that adults cannot take responsibility for their own actions? Who says that people are entirely the product of their parenting and not their genetic make-up, or what the author calls their "sphere of being"; that is, the larger circle of their life, such as friends, teachers, media and so forth? Answer? So-called experts, who have no real evidence on which to base their assertions.
Jeffers' book is assertive and aggressive in tone, but then she is setting out to rattle the cage of a belief that has pervaded attitudes parenting since the Victorian age. It is possible to love your children and not love parenthood. Don't have children if you don't want to--it's a valid choice. Why should the mother always, seemingly automatically, get custody after a divorce?
This is a truly refreshing read for mothers--and indeed fathers--who want to hear a new and distinctive voice on these questions, among those that drone the same old repressive paradigms. --Alison Jardine