The baby is the best ally of masculine domination.A statement that is both true, in that sense that motherhood is the greatest obstacle to a world in which men and women are treated the same, and absolutely useless, since the only alternative to motherhood is the extinction of the species.
Badinter is a French intellectual whose latest book is a rant against "green" motherhood. Badinter thinks that pressure to do everything "naturally" -- give birth without pain medication, breast feed, use cloth diapers, eat organically, cook at home, and so on -- makes women's lives much harder and interferes with their careers. Some of the details are wrong (birth and recovery are both faster without an epidural), but of course there is something to what she says. The more energy you put into one thing, the less you have for other things. If you assume that career success is the highest good, then motherhood is one of the biggest possible obstacles to fulfillment, and anything that makes parenting more time consuming is a waste.
Ergo, Elisabeth Badinter should not have children. Ditto everyone else who would rather have a corner office than a family. (The old notion that parenting is mainly a burden for women is no longer true; mothers do more parenting work, but fathers do a lot, and men are more likely to say they don't want children because of the work involved.) My objection to Elisabeth Badinter is the same complaint I have with Linda Hirshman and all the other feminists who think work is the greatest thing in life and can't understand why everyone else doesn't feel the same way. Work is necessary for most of us, both financially and psychologically, but that doesn't make it the be all of life. I think, on the contrary, that our society puts far too much emphasis on careers and money. The cult of motherhood can be weird sometimes, but it is one of the few counter-weights to the worship of money and success that otherwise dominates our world.
It is hard to balance parenthood and career. But everything worth doing is hard, and for some of us nothing is more worth doing than raising children.