Now that everyone in the free world knows 16 year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is up the spout, mother Lynn’s book on parenting has apparently been shitcanned by its Christian publisher. In a subtly titled article, the Boston Herald.com says "Mama Spears book on parenting aborted."
But the question of who gets to decide who a good mother is comes up with some frequency, as it did recently when Elizabeth Edwards decided to stay on the campaign trail. In addition to getting blasted by faithful husband and concern troll Jay Carney, she was on the receiving end of some mom blog rancour:
Elizabeth, I DON’T LIKE the choices you have made!
Take your kids home. Get off the campaign trail. Your husband is not going to be the candidate, and he is not going to be president. He is not ahead in the polls. He is not going to make it. We need a Democratic in office desperately, and you are harming that chance by going around saying negative things about the TOP candidates and splitting the vote. Worst of all, you are forcing your young children, who should be in school to ride in buses and talk to the press when they obviously don’t want to. This election is NOT ABOUT THEM. They deserve some peace, not time with nannies and campaign-trail daycare providers, since, as the Times article describes, you don’t have time to see them when you are busy campaigning too.
To which Elizabeth Edwards responded:
I want to be entirely clear. You don’t get to say I am a terrible mother because you think you wouldn’t make my choices in my situation. You don’t get to say that my children don’t want to be with us when you don’t know them and when, parenthetically, you know that happy children can be periodically disagreeable. You don’t get to judge me because you think you know exactly what you would do if you had my disease. I want to be really clear: you don’t know. And if the sun always shines on you — and I pray it does — you will never know.
I don’t know if Lynn Spears is a great mom or otherwise, but I imagine few of the CNN reporters who have gone all concern troll over the fate of Jamie Lynn do either. It’s a lazy, misogynistic narrative that has at its heart the notion that a woman really just better stay home and take care of the kids. I notice that CNN isn’t unwilling to exploit the situation and put the story into hyper-rotation.
There’s also a good deal of classism going on with the reporting of the story. As if southern teenagers are the only ones who get pregnant. But I find it interesting that one candidate has internalized the Steve Gilliard lesson, i.e., talk about the things people want to talk about and insert your message:
"Apparently, she’s going to have the child, and I think that is the right decision, a good decision, and I respect that and appreciate it," he told CBS News.
"I hope it is not an encouragement to other 16-year-olds who think that is the best course of action. But at the same time I’m not going to condemn her," continued Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who has been soaring in the polls lately due to increased support from Christian conservatives. "There’ll be plenty of people in line to do that and I always look for the shortest lines.
Whatever you want to say about him, Huckabee is not a stupid man — and he knows who he’s talking to.