Charles Martel pointed out an article in the NY Times written by a woman who takes time to cook for her daughter because she, like so many post-feminist children, grew up in a domestic vacuum. Actually, her childhood reads like one of straight up neglect beyond that suffered by most “latchkey kids.” She hints at malnutrition and psychological scarring:
Once upon a time, I had a mother who inhabited the kitchen with care. The bliss of licking drippy, sweet things off the mixing spoon after she had stirred pudding or poured cake batter into a pan was often mine. I believed my mother loved those moments, and our entire home-based family life, as much as I did.
Yet by the time I turned 9, my brother and I lived in a post-divorce household, with Dad in a new home and Mom in full feminist revolt. Dinners of chicken cordon bleu and baked desserts gave way to oven-roasted meats that were deemed done whenever my mother could tear herself away from making art and selling it — or, when she wasn’t home, to no dinner at all, unless you counted the banana I nibbled while crouched in my closet, hoping any would-be attackers couldn’t see me through the window as darkness fell.
For my mother, the kitchen felt like a trap. When the women’s movement blossomed in the late 1960s, she was ready. She vanquished the spirit of homemaking the way Virginia Woolf had killed her “Angel in the House.”
And then a tidal wave of rage, disappointment and raw desire overtook her. I saw it in her vehemence toward my father and in the raucous consciousness-raising groups that met in our living room. I saw it in the changed contents of our dinner plates: a dried-out chicken leg, a potato collapsed inward from overbaking.
When my mother banged out work correspondence on an electric typewriter way past bedtime, my needs had no standing. On other nights I would lie awake for hours, unable to sleep until she came home at midnight.
Complaining got me nowhere. My mother was an unstoppable force, powerful, beautiful and finally happy. As her days and nights expanded to include solo shows, romance and the founding of feminist organizations, I could see in her radiant face and laughter that she was fulfilling her potential. Her red hair grew ever upward, a hood of curls that shouted out her freedom.
She had suffered and struggled. She was talented. She deserved to thrive
That last part sounds like some form of Stockholm Syndrome.
And the following portrays her mother in an almost satanic light:
But my body spoke my devastation. I went from being well fed and popular in third grade to near skeletal and often mocked in fifth. I wasn’t anorexic; I just didn’t know how to cook. I turned sallow and hollow-eyed and suffered headaches, eczema and stomach pains. On the windy playground, other children would crow, “She’s so skinny, she’s going to blow away.”
And I was lonely. On weekday afternoons I would let myself in using the key around my neck. If my mother was home, I would find her in her basement studio, wielding a torch of blue flame, shaping metal into sculpture. She wore a leather apron, elbow-high gloves, a polka-dot cap, a breathing mask and a plastic face visor. Her bushy red hair burst out the back of the cap, a sign of her uncontainable passion.
“Mom!” I would yell, keeping my distance, because even the sparks could burn you. She would look up, turn the knob to stop the gas, pull down the breathing mask and tilt back her visor, showing her freckled face.
When you’ve got a mother like that, passive resistance is the only resistance you can get away with.
If I had a plan, I told her: “I’m going to Phyllis’s house.” Or “I have homework.” But when I had social troubles at school, I wanted her company. “I’m bored,” I said. “I have nothing to do.”
“Boredom is an opportunity,” she would say. “You’ll find something.” Then she would concentrate on melting metal for another several hours. Later I would learn she was right about boredom. I got great training in being creative and alone.
But back then, on many afternoons, I would return to my bedroom, sit on my pink shag rug and cry. It seemed I mattered to no one anymore. My heart shrank into a knob of hurt and yearning.
I wonder how much therapy this woman has been through. Perhaps her return to the kitchen to cook for her daughter is a continuing form of therapy — a sort of refuge where she can go back to the comfort of her early childhood, before her mother went full-feminist.
Because of my history, I know how much the mundane care of children matters. That is why I stop work when the school day ends and greet my daughter with a hug. I may be tired, stressed out or grumpy; I may bemoan the confinement, the repetition, the career limits. But I do it anyway. I pull away from paid pursuits and open myself to the opportunity to delight in my daughter.
My delight comes freely, inspired by a leggy girl with rich brown eyes who has just come home. But our time together is about more than delight. When I hand her a snack and look into her face, seeking the stories of her day, I intend for her to feel how much she matters. She matters more to me right then than anything I could be doing without her. And we will not have these afternoons forever.
When she told me on Mother’s Day that she loves what I do in the kitchen, I realized why I love it, too. For as I stir and chop and bake while she studies, sings, draws, chatters, rides a scooter and does an exceptional job of being young, I am drinking in some of the pleasures I missed.
My husband also cooks. He is generous and competent in the kitchen. But for me, the kitchen is a place of healing. And when my daughter and I play our roles there contentedly, it is as if we have stepped into a feedback loop that sends good feelings cycling between us. We are bathing in a mutually enhancing sort of love, a larger version of the circle that breastfeeding or cuddling a baby can create: a give-and-take that affirms our value as parent and child.
This article, although carefully-worded, is a searing indictment of the monster created by radical feminism. According to feminists themselves, nothing excuses a father for not providing for his children, so what on earth could excuse a woman for failing to care for hers?