Lara Feigel explains the ethical dilemma she was confronted with when she embarked on writing a book about Doris Lessing, feminist and writer. The problem was that here was a writer who had ‘abandoned’ her children. A bad mother can never be a successful person, or so goes the view.
Feigel looks at her own life to understand the extent of maternal bondage. She’s had to get away as well from time to time. Lessing was 23 when she left her young children behind for purely idealistic reasons. She suffered from what is now known as maternal ambivalence, a peculiarly female crime as fathers who abandon their children don’t suffer at least in conversation what is called paternal ambivalence. This female affliction could be the result of roles women are typecast into; a good woman is necessarily a good mother first.
If maternal freedom interests you, this article The Parent trap: can you be a good writer and a good parent? by Lara Feigel is a must-read.