I decided that I didn’t like Rahna Reiko Rizzuto before she even opened her mouth. I thought I knew enough about the American writer to make up my mind. To decide that she was selfish and self-absorbed. To know that I didn’t understand her. Frankly, I didn’t want to. You see, in 2001 Rizzuto decided that full-time motherhood wasn’t for her. That alone is enough to push society’s buttons. When her two boys were aged 3 and 5, Rizzuto left them with their father while she pursued her career in another country for six months. She eventually left her marriage and gave up physical custody of her young boys and instead joint-parented (the way many fathers do) from a house nearby. She says she never wanted kids and that she felt “lost” being a full-time mother. LOST. I am practically eye-rolling as I type.
Ten years later Rizzuto has written Hiroshima in the Morning, a book chronicling her decision to leave her 20-year marriage and her young children and the repercussions she experienced from friends. Rizzuto appeared on the Today Show in the US earlier this year talking about the book…
I’ve been grappling with my feelings about Rizzuto ever since I watched that interview 12-hours ago. I get the feeling of disappearing as a person when you have children. Totally understand that some days you want a break. Some time out. A freaking large scotch. The chance to have a conversation on the phone that LASTS LONGER THAN FIVE MINUTES. I get it. I’ve been there. As the mother of a nearly-three-year-old, some days I’m still there. But in my book, you stay in the room. What type of indulgence is it to decide AFTER having children that actually, “Kids, I’m just not that into you.” What kind of trauma is set into motion when a mother leaves the family home? And if you don’t want children why have one? Why have TWO?
And then I found this piece written by Rizzuto on Salon.com entitled, Why I Left My Children (click the title to read the full story). In part she writes: