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Even Diapering Can Be a Beautiful Thing

May 09, 1997|MICHELLE WILLIAMS

If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Recognizing this to be true, we've spent this week sucking up to Ma with excerpts from the latest books on motherhood as we count down to Mother's Day on Sunday.

Today's selection comes from "Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner: Personal Discoveries of a Mother of Twelve" by Jaroldeen Edwards (Pocket Books). She discusses what it was like to be a mom during the 1970s, when the role of motherhood was characterized by Madison Avenue and others by the phrase "dirty diapers and dirty dishes":

"Now there's a smart strategy. In a single phrase, they had captured two of the universally necessary but unappealing activities of mothering, had stripped motherhood to what they (and many others) considered to be its lowest common denominator, and by doing so had neatly denigrated the role and diminished mother and child by reducing their precious relationship to its most menial functions.

"If there is one thing in this world about which I am an expert, it is probably changing diapers. So, when I was confronted with this ad-campaign level of thinking, I evaluated for myself what it really means to change diapers. . . .

"In my analysis, I acknowledged that it can be a distasteful task, but also unquestionably one of service, of love, and of cleanliness. . . .

"As anyone who has ever done it will attest, when you change a baby's diaper, it is necessary to look the baby squarely in the eye, to talk, to charm, to woo, to distract, to entertain--to do everything within your power to keep the baby contented, happy, and entertained while you perform the tricky maneuver. . . .

"I have witnessed a mother diapering her baby and being so charming, adorable, vivid and exuberant that she and the child rang with laughter as beautiful as the sound of golden bells. Only those who have never analyzed the real value and purpose of such activities can look at them with contemptuous eyes."

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