Moms and kids
is an article by Lori Gottlieb some quarters are all abuzz about, called, Marry him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough.
Lori Gottlieb is an author, commentator for NPR, and single mother who conceived thorugh artificial insemination by donor in desperation to have a child when she was 40 and unmarried.
It's ve-e-e-e-ry pragmatic, funny, witty, and terribly sad.
I'm obviously not an expert on the dating/romance scene in America. Point of fact, I haven't dated an American woman in almost 20 years. And last time I was single and living in America, my luck was pretty rotten.
Now I'm looking at what Gottlieb says and realizing I'm the archtype of her big disappointment, and most painful episode of Sex in the City
Mr. Maybe Good Enough who she didn't settle for and now sees married to a younger woman with kids of his own.
And she realizes that back then she saw a guy who didn't make enough money and never remembered he'd told that joke a zillion times before, and now she sees a guy who is on balance kind, thoughtful, changes diapers and actually likes spending time with his kids.
What I'm hearing in Gottlieb's essay is what I and many others felt 20 years back, that it's a bad time for lovers in our culture today.
How did this happen to us in the otherwise luckiest county on earth?
Some blame the rise of militant feminism, but my gut tells me this is a symptom rather than a root cause.
Was it that our culture had arrived at a place where it seemed that good times would go on forever, and that we were free to experiment with the fundamental institutions of our society? Heck, of any society.
My parents generation had many people who started families because it was expected of them and it didn't occur to them that they might be happier without kids.
There are quiet obviously, more men in this category then women.
But back then a man with kids was expected to stick around and pay for the groceries, and faced pretty severe social oprobium if he didn't.
My generation won the freedom to say, "Like wow man, this fatherhood trip isn't my thing, I'm off. Hey write when the kids are grown won't you?"
Nowadays I know a lot of single mothers who I think are doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstance. But I don't think there's a one of them who doesn't think it sucks.
And, is there anyone out there that thinks that a large and growing demographic of kids raised by single parents will have no undesirable long-term consequences, or only trivial ones?