Ayelet Waldman’s celebrity quotient shot up considerably Wednesday after she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about her provocative New York Times article on loving her husband more than her children.
Looking well-coiffed and made up – her red curls bounced sprightly and her makeup was both subdued and flattering – Ayelet explained how she really does love her children – but the relationship she has with her husband, Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon is primary.
Oprah reduced the meaning of Ayelet’s article to one fact – that she has a sizzling sex life – despite her four children. That’s a contrast to all those tired mamas who refuse to put out for their husbands. (There was one woman on the show who admitted she watched television – Oprah or the Price is Right – while her husband "did his business.") It seems Oprah put Ayelet on the show to argue the importance of maintaining an intimate relationship with your significant other.
BUT THAT argument was not what infuriated mothers around the country. (Apparently, even Star Jones of The View took Ayelet to task). What women objected to was Ayelet’s insistence on ranking her love. Instead of saying she loves her husband and children differently, Ayelet declared that she loved her husband more. Ayelet even wrote that she could imagine continuing life if all her children had been killed, but not a life without Chabon.
But Ayelet may have had a change of heart. During the show, she admitted that she could not say out loud to her 10-year old daughter that she loved her husband more.
“I started to say (to her 10 year old) that I wrote about how I love Daddy more than I love you – because I say that in the piece – and there was this catch,” Ayelet explained on television. “When I started to say that I realized I didn’t want to say those words to her because at 10 I don’t trust that she can understand that…
In that admission, Ayelet acknowledges why her piece provoked so much controversy. Is it necessary to say out loud all our secret thoughts? Isn’t discretion necessary at times, particularly to shelter our children?
But not to worry. Ayelet continued, “But I do trust she (Sophie) knows she is loved. She knows absolutely and profoundly how much I love her. I have made many mistakes as a mother but one thing I know is I do make sure my children know how much I love them. They are absolutely secure about that.”