American Morning

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June 12th, 2009
06:25 AM ET

Is "bad" parenting in?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Donna Reed starred in 'The Donna Reed Show'."]

From CNN's Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

Back in the day, it was a cinch to know what a good mom was: the ideal TV mom, Donna Reed. Reed embodied 1950's motherhood. Always there, wise and involved from afar. And exceedingly well-dressed. Today it's difficult to define what exactly an "ideal mother is."

It's as if we've taken Donna Reed's image and put it on steroids. Carl Honoré, who wrote the book “Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From the Culture of Hyper-parenting," says this generation has “kind of professionalized parenting. There’s a feeling now that on the frontline of child rearing, that raising a kid now is all or nothing."

For Melissa Chapman, a woman from Staten Island who works at home to care for her two children, it was time to get off the parental fast track. Shuttling her daughter back and forth to activities every day of the week, the family was stressed out and exhausted.

“Monday was dance. Tuesday was art. Wednesday was piano. Thursday was gymnastics,” she said. The family had little time to talk and [her daughter] was often too tired to finish her homework.

“My whole schedule was revolving around, you know, where I was taking her, when I was picking her up,” Chapman adds. “There was no quality family time, just getting in the car, getting out of the car, packing up the car, unpacking the car."

So this year, Chapman cut back. Now her daughter, 8, has only one after school activity a week.

Yet she still wondered whether she was a good mother. And she's not alone. So many mothers feel her pain. Blogs like “Her Bad Mother,” and “Real Bad Mommies” have started popping up, rebelling against the notion moms have to be perfect to raise perfect children. On “Her Bad Mother,” one mom writes: "...I have left my children alone in the bathtub. I have spanked my daughter. I drink. I curse..."

But Ayelet Waldman, author of “Bad Mother,” says over-parenting is certainly not over. “We're not going to turn on the dime here but I do think there's a backlash to over-parenting.”


Filed under: Just Sayin'
June 12th, 2009
06:09 AM ET

What's on Tap – Friday June 12th, 2009

Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation examine a bullet ridden door at the entrance to the Holocaust Memorial Museum June 11, 2009 in Washington, DC. Getty Images
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation examine a bullet ridden door at the entrance to the Holocaust Memorial Museum June 11, 2009 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

  • Big tobacco – on the ropes.  Congress has granted the FDA the power to change the way cigarettes are made and sold in America.  We're paging Dr. Gupta – to find out what this new law means for our health and our healthcare costs. We’re also talking to the man who first asked the question: Is nicotine a drug? He’s Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler.
  • The enemy within.  After the man accused of the Holocaust Museum killing is officially charged with murder, we take a look at hate groups, hundreds of them, springing up all over America.
  • A CNN exclusive: Is al Qaeda shifting away from Afghanistan and Pakistan, for a new power base in Africa?  Barbara Starr reports U.S. officials are keeping a very close eye on Somalia, for more than pirates.
  • Mercy for Madonna.  The pop superstar wins her adoption appeal in Malawi for a three-year-old orphan girl – named mercy.  A lower court had ruled she could not adopt again in April, but now the high court has ruled in her favor.  We'll go live to Kenya for the latest.

Filed under: What's On Tap
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