Angie Kim on the Myth of the Good Mother
On Reading Women with Kendra Winchester and Autumn Privett
On this week’s Reading Women, Autumn and Kendra talk with Angie Kim about her new book Miracle Creek, which is out now from Sarah Crichton Books.
From the episode
Autumn Privett: Can you talk about this concept of being a bad mother that shows up in the book?
Angie Kim: I have this huge thing about how we, as a society, expect women to be Good Mothers. I think there’s this myth of the good mother, the perfect mother, the self-sacrificing mother who never has a stray thought, any thoughts other than of pure love for their child and perfect self-satisfaction in their role as a mother. I think we have such unrealistic expectations for mothers, and what that does is it makes it impossible for mothers to talk about the difficulties. Because you don’t want to be that Bad Mom who’s complaining, who isn’t grateful to have a child and to be a mother and to have that be the center of your life, the most important thing in your life.
So for me it was really important for me to highlight these mothers who are at the extremes of self-sacrifice. So we’re talking about the parents who are 24/7 caregivers to their disabled children, as well as someone like Young Yoo, the Korean mother who came with her daughter to the country not speaking English well, and basically worked as a slave in a dangerous grocery store in Baltimore before they move to the Virginia suburb where Miracle Creek takes place. So we’re talking about giving up your normal life. For immigrants—Young gave up her family and friends and language in Korea, and came here to a completely foreign land, knowing no one. And for other parents who are caregivers, they’ve given up their “normal” lives, and they are now doing nothing but trying to help their children, and I think that when you look at that situation and scrutinize every move as they do in the courtroom scenes, and call out all the tiny acts or thoughts people might have had and try to paint them as bad mothers. I see that happening all the time in society and I wanted to call that out.
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