with Talyaa Liera
I'm Talyaa, the poster child for the concept that there's no one right way to be a parent. I went from stay-at-home attachment-parenting mom of four to being the non-custodial parent, working as a professional writer and channel-psychic. Let's talk about throwing away the parenting manual and exploding the myths and mystique of motherhood!
Check out my personal blog at Juxtapositioning.
Nora Ephron made the 90’s. She created Meg Ryan out of thin air (sorry about how the lips turned out). At least, in my head she did.
I miss Nora Ephron already. You’ve probably heard the news that she died yesterday — the pseudofeminist screenwriter and playwright responsible for the phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
The 90’s are over. Meg Ryan’s lips now have their own orbits.
Nora’s most memorable characters mostly weren’t mothers. In fact, it’s safe to say that any of her characters played by Meg Ryan would have made awful mothers. Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally…? Terrible mother, if she had been a mother. Julie from Julie & Julia? A trainwreck of a mother. If she had been one.
Still, Nora Ephron totally got what motherhood was. Or more specifically, what motherhood had become — not a state of being as much as a thing that you did:
Parenting was not simply about raising a child, it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving.
–”I Feel Bad About My Neck”
And now, motherhood is reduced to what we do:
Here’s what a parent is: A parent is a person who has children. Here’s what involved in being a parent: You love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the salad fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework. – “I Feel Bad About My Neck”‘
The 90’s changed the face of parenting. Mothering. Baby Mozart. Prenatal preschool applications.
Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting. Parenting meant playing Mozart CDs while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural, and breast-feeding your child until it was old enough to unbutton your blouse. –”Heartburn”
Maybe Nora Ephron didn’t write mothers into her screenplays because she was telling women to be something different, to do something else with this idea of motherhood.
I like to think about what might have happened to mothering had more women heard the message Nora Ephron delivered in her commencement address to the Wellesley’s 1996 graduating class. Here’s how she ended it (but read the whole thing):
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women. Thank you. Good luck. The first act of your life is over. Welcome to the best years of your lives.
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