The number of children who are being shuttled back and forth between households, and the heartrending problems that this engenders in their lives, is a sin. Laura fields multiple calls having to do with transporting reluctant children across vast distances so that court-ordered visitation agreements can be honored.
Whereas an article in Parents magazine or the relentlessly upbeat family-life columns in Time might list some mild and generally useless tips for dealing with such a situation (have the child bring along a "transitional object," plan regular phone calls home, and so forth), Laura throws out the whole premise. "Yes, you can," Laura always replies, and when you think about it, she's right.
The show tanked because it stank.) And she used to be an avid proponent of fathers who stayed home with their children while their wives worked; she didn't care which of the parents raised the kids, so long as they didn't resort to daycare.
But The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands gives me the impression that she's taken the final step toward conventional ultra-conservative thinking: there isn't a single mention of a stay-at-home dad this time.
I didn't always agree with her: she opposes legal abortion, which I support; she's against premarital sex, of which I dimly recall being distinctly and unapologetically fond.
She once harangued a mother who was clearly at sheer wits' end that she shouldn't hire an afternoon babysitter—advice I could hardly bear to listen to, I felt so keenly the mother's desperation and exhaustion.
Men need to be breadwinners in a marriage, she says, although she makes millions of dollars a year while her husband—whose career had faltered so severely before his wife's success that the couple was on the verge of bankruptcy—is employed only as her manager.
Women ought to cook for their men, but it has been widely reported that her husband does all the cooking (he also converted to Orthodox Judaism; the possible switch back could be a load off for him in the kitchen).This is a bit of a letdown, since it makes her less of an iconoclast.The book is also undermined by her old bugaboo, hypocrisy.What in the world are the parents doing living so far away from each other? The first time I heard her tell a divorced father that he should give up on his first chance at real love—he had met his soul mate during a trip out of state and wanted to move and marry her—so that he could stay close by his children, I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing.She actually wanted the man to drop by his ex-wife's house every afternoon to help with homework and the yard work and play some ball with his sons, which struck me as a radical notion—as indeed it is.The newest book combines the "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" philosophy with the "Surrendered Wife" ethos. That a married woman has sexual obligations to her husband once went without saying; now the very notion is radical in the extreme.