Rahna Reiko Rizzuto and her controversial new memoir, "Hiroshima
in the Morning," in which she details her decision to walk away from her 20-year marriage and her two sons, who were just 5 and 3 at the time.
She never wanted to be a mother in the first place, Rizzuto admits. "I had this idea that motherhood was this really all-encompassing thing," she explained on the Today Show. "I was afraid of being swallowed up by that." A fellowship to study in Japan for six months made it clear to her that she needed to change her life.
Her relationship with her sons survived her leaving, she says, and she thinks it may even have been improved by it. "In my part-time motherhood, I get concentrated blocks of time when I can be that 1950s mother we idealize who was waiting in an apron with fresh cookies when we got off the school bus and wasn't too busy for anything we needed until we went to be," she writes in an essay at Salon.com. "I go to every parent-teacher conference; I am there for performances and baseball games."
But that 1950s mother she describes as ideal had to cope with parenthood 24/7—she didn't get to pick and choose which parts to be present for. The idea that a mother could love her children and still choose to leave them to pursue her own goals is the antithesis of being a "Tiger Mother"—the omnipresent, perfection-demanding, Eastern-style parent described by Amy Chau. It also goes against our culture's definition of motherhood. But it shines a light on a glaring double standard: When a man chooses not to be a full-time parent, it's acceptable—or, at least, accepted. But when a woman decides to do so, it's abandonment.
The decision isn't an easy one to make, no matter how you feel about parenting. "It took me about a year to decide once the idea came to me," says Talyaa Liera. In 2008, after a decade as an attachment-parenting stay-at-home mom, she chose to move 3,000 miles away from three of her four children (her oldest is an adult and out on her own).
There's much more; click here to read the entire post at Yahoo!'s Shine. The idea of choosing to leave your children is one that strikes a nerve in many people (as evidenced by the 110+ comments already on the hours-old post).
Edited to add: As of March 9th, the discussion at Yahoo has really grown—16,100 comments and counting. Did the story touch a nerve (or several)? Read the entire post and decide for yourself.