policy

Here’s what we don’t talk about when we talk about having it all: mothering less. Not willful child negligence, but simply having one kid, and no more.

I’ve watched most of my friends tread into the tunnel of second children, few of them to emerge as how I remember their former engaged selves. They tell me there’s hardly the time to even consider maintaining a self.  “You don’t have any idea how hard it is—it’s more than twice as hard,” many of them say repeatedly, impatient and dazed. It’s true. Our family life, busy with plentiful travel, the delights of urban living, late night rock shows and dinner parties, and the frequent freedom to binge on a novel over a …

imgres

For the first time in five years, I rang in the New Year without a child to put to bed before midnight, or to wake me before dawn. In fact, I spent the last several days of 2012 giddily cramming in consecutive nights of bad behavior, drinking shots of whiskey in dirty bars, dancing the night away in platform shoes, eating to excess in downtown restaurants, all rarities in my post-maternal life. My husband felt guilty he was so deeply enjoying our time away from our daughter. I didn’t. My remorselessness was underscored within an hour of our daughter returning home from her grandparents, when her first tantrum began, which she opted to stage naked, on the toilet. Perhaps she …

7/22/12
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china

You would think it’s the just the One Child Policy that maintains the high number of single-child families in China. But talking to parents, and studying the research, a very different story emerges.  It turns out that many people in China find the reality of second children just as impossible as anywhere else. Plus the common belief that stopping at one kid is the only way to ensure that child’s achievement in this land of fierce competition has made the policy a personal mandate, as well as a state one. Certainly, one can’t discount that decades of state propaganda pitching the virtues of only children has infiltrated the culture.  But when you look at the lives of Chinese citizens—what is …