My friends and I pride ourselves on not being status-conscious suburban moms. We don’t try to replicate Martha Stewart’s cupcake icings, we don’t throw themed birthday parties with paid entertainers, and we don’t worry about whether our three-year-olds’ preschools are sufficiently rigorous to prepare them for Yale. In other words, we’re not the perfection-obsessed control freaks that Judith Warner portrays in Perfect Madness.
We do, of course, have our own obsessions. We feel guilty when our kids watch TV, and we worry over how to get them through Valentine’s Day red-dye free. We feel just as righteous when we live up to our own maternal standards of perfection, just as guilt-ridden when we don’t.