Breaking News: Moms Enjoy A Break From Their Kids And Time For Themselves
Moms living the bachelorette life? Apparently so, according to the New York Times . Just imagine a sort of reverse Mad Men, where women spend the summer frolicking around town while their husbands watch the kids in their country houses.
Some professional New York women who work full-time year-round send their kids and husbands away to the countryside for a few weeks in July and August, allowing these tired mothers to focus on themselves and their careers. And yes, it's pretty much all The Nanny Diaries, with an amazing job (think: fashion designer) thrown in — girls' nights out, yoga, drinking wine, and watching Notting Hill. The New York Times enlightens us as to what these lovely ladies do with all their newfound free time:
Along with alcohol and apps, many of these moms are finding their bliss in actual work, which they can do for once without the anxiety of rushing home to begin the “second shift.”
The New York Times calls these women "Mom Ewells," after the character in The Seven Year Itch who stays alone in his Manhattan apartment while his family is away (he ends up flirting a lot with sexy neighbor Marilyn Monroe).
It seems these women need work as an excuse to take time for themselves:
Perhaps Mom Ewells relish their solitude because it is so fleeting. In a culture that expects parents to be beholden to the needs of their children, mothers are not expected to demand, much less desire, time away. A working vacation is a socially sanctioned way for them to get it.
OK, first things first. What the New York Times is getting at here (something that is never mentioned explicitly in this, arguably, fluff piece) is that everyone, no matter how much they love their families, can benefit from some me-time. Everyone could become a better parent by taking good care of themselves.
One husband explains that he and his bachelorette-lifestyle wife “want to show our children what modern relationships and modern gender roles should be. If you’re really supporting equality, it can’t be, ‘I make 75 percent of the income, and therefore she does 75 percent of the child care.’ Equality is not bean counting, and it’s continually renegotiated.”
The New York Times doesn't really delve into this idea of gender equality and how it allows women to take time for themselves. The missing pieces leave some glaring gaps in this idealistic portrait of relaxed moms. How do the dads feel about being the main caregivers for a few weeks? How do they even manage to take so much time off work? It's all fine and dandy for these ladies, but what can they teach the average mothers and fathers about getting some R&R without the country house and nanny? Because, let's be honest, you shouldn't need to send your family to the Hamptons to have the occasional girls' night out.