In present-day society divorces became a generally accepted and habitual phenomenon. However, the prejudices concerning divorces are broken down, the narrow-mindedness as to the gender roles still is rather strong and children are always expected to stay with the divorced mothers. In the article I’m a Better Mother Since I left My Child Daylle Deanna Schwartz, the author, admits that in some situations it is better for children to live with their single father. She believes that it is not compulsory to live with a child to be a good parent and it is more important for the adults to be themselves. I appreciate the author’s will of power in opposing the public opinion and agree with the author’s point of view that parenthood means much more than living in the same place.
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The author admits that in some cases it is better for children to stay with their father after the divorce of the parents, and I agree. Schwartz writes that her small daughter was influenced by public opinion: “She sadly told me that she wished I were at home baking cookies like some of her friends’ moms” (p. 2). In this naïve claim of a nine-year-old girl, the public opinion on the household chores and care for children as the main functions of the woman in the society are reflected.
I agree that it is very difficult for a child to accept the differences between the generalized model of a happy family and the family of his/her own. It is not easy even for adults to alter their views on the accustomed gender roles, for this reason, the author was isolated in the society and deprived of the support of her friends. Leaving one’s child with a single father after divorce is considered to be shameful for a woman. Trying to save their accustomed picture of life, the members of the society deny everything that does not fit in it, without clear argumentation of their choice. Thus, it requires moral strength to oppose public opinion and make decisions being guided by the personal considerations, interests of a child but not the social prejudices.
The author admits that she could not fulfill all her parents’ functions better feeling like half a woman and a dysfunctional mother if she had not changed their life. The author states, “I bucked the traditional belief that says a mother’s place is with her child, no matter what. But I didn’t need to live with her to be a good parent” (p. 2). The author is strong enough to prove that these were not only her career perspectives but the interests of the child that made her leave her daughter with her husband.
Shifting the frames of her own picture of life, the woman managed to realize what is really valuable in this life. She understands that being caged in one’s own family, feeling deprived of the right to self-realization, and accepting care for one’s child as a daily sacrifice does not mean good parenthood. The concept of good parenthood is much broader. The author concludes that having struggled against all the difficulties, they have wonderful relations and all the members of the family only benefited from their decision. I agree with the author’s point of view that parenthood means much more than physical presence and living in the same place.
In conclusion, the authors’ moral efforts in altering the generally accepted views of gender roles after the divorce should be appreciated. Notwithstanding public opinion, moral support means much more than physical presence in the issues of parenthood. Making decisions concerning one’s family, it is very important to be guided by the personal considerations and interests of the other members of the family instead of the social prejudices.
Schwartz, D. (2002). I’m a Better Mother since I Left My Child. Newsweek.