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My dream for the Time cover

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  May 11, 2012 04:07 PM

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Here is what I want for Mother’s Day: Silence. Not from my kids, who are physiologically incapable of silence, but from other mothers — the ones who publish self-aggrandizing quasi-confessional books, who attack each other in comments at the bottom of blog posts, and who appear on the covers of magazines, with perfectly coiffed hair and perfectly-applied lip gloss and perhaps a preschool-aged son attached to their breasts, gazing at the camera with a look that says, “You got a problem with this?”

Yes, I have a problem: I do not want to hear about your parenting style. I don’t care where your children sleep, what they call their private parts, when they learned to play the violin, what they eat and for how long, whether you discovered your discipline ideas in China, France, kindergarten, or the belly of a spaceship.

Don’t get me wrong — this kind of stuff can make for entertaining reading, and it’s great fodder for satire. (It’s also a challenge: When I was writing “Milkshake,” my novel about the breastfeeding wars, my biggest problem was inventing outrageous things for characters to do that hadn’t already happened real life.) People love to get worked up, which is why magazines and publishers try so hard to get them angry.

But I think we’ve hit our limit. We aren't helping each other or helping ourselves; we're simply making noise. So I’m hoping that the current cover of Time, carefully calibrated for to freak out the most people possible, represents some sort of high-water mark for parental exhibitionism.

Yes, that’s a pipe dream. And yes, of course, I still want you to post this on Twitter. But if you are one of the 3.9 million mothers who have read or commented on a mommy blog in the past month, and if you are now wondering when it will be your turn to cash in, here are some simple questions about that photo in Time:

  • Would they have put this woman on the cover if she didn’t look like a supermodel?
  • What will her son think when he’s in junior high and somebody digs up this picture and posts it on Facebook?
  • Is there such a thing as a natural act that is also an intimate act? Or are we too busy sharing to care about that?
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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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