Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Barouche Mothers

On Monday, I volunteered to assist on a school field trip. We visited the Children's Museum on a yellow school bus. I may have permanent hearing loss as a result; I have never heard such a din in a confined space before. To say that the kids were excited would be like stating that the sun rises in the east. This was my first such outing, and I was sideswiped by the intense, hyper-competitive parenting of the mothers who'd accompanied the kids.

(Meh. Let your children live a little, explore, invent, discover for themselves, or learn from each other. They'll learn resiliency and flexibility—good life skills.)

This got me thinking. Stepping back 200 years, Barouche Mamas™ would be the Regency equivalent of these modern-day helicopter moms. However, since most of us write about the aristocratic classes, nurses, nannies, and governesses abound. Children were to be only seen between the hours of three and four and never heard. There're stories about neglect rather than coddling, fear and anger rather than spoiling and pampering.

Have you ever read of an alpha hero who, over the course of the novel, breaks free of the silken web of maternal smothering to find himself? To grow from a gamma to an alpha?

How about a heroine who's brought up to a cushy life, but decides to make a bid for independence, not because of circumstances, but rather a realization of her own shallowness?

We read of external impetus for internal change, but no epiphanies through observation, conversation, reading, etc. Where were the self-help gurus of yesteryear?

Romanistas, if you have any recommendations for books that have self-motivated heroes and heroines, I'm all ears.


Diane Gaston said...

Keira, I'll bet your little munchkin was beside herself! I like your parenting instincts.

I also sorta like the fantasy of a coddled heroine who faces adversity for the first time and must discover strength inside herself to overcome it. I suppose that was my heroine in Scandalizing the Ton.

A coddled hero? that one doesn't work as well....

Keira Soleore said...

Diane, yes, she had led a sort of a sheltered life, but she bore up well and grew in the face of her circumstances. Do you wonder if she'd stayed within the confines of her former life, she wouldn't have changed much?

Stephanie J said...

I'm with you on the parenting bit...and I'm not even a parent! What a fun day for them tho -- that was the life!

My memory is terrible so I can't name anyone at the moment. I would love to see this though.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, laughed at you developing industrial deafness from the kiddy outing!

Actually a couple of my heroines have had to develop strength after a coddled life. Although thinking about it, it's usually in the backstory rather than the actual story. Perhaps less so for Charis, the heroine of CAPTIVE OF SIN, the November release. Her short sharp shock in life is pretty close to the start of the book but she really grows through the story. I like that story arc. Definitely Grace and Olivia have had moments of being coddled, whatever has happened to them since! Suspect Matthew had a very happy loving relationship with his parents before they died but that's way back in his early childhood so a bit of coddling doesn't go astray at that stage in a hero's life.