What with all the breastfeeding, diaper washing, and not smoking while pregnant, mothers have become enslaved to their “tyrant” babies. That’s the opinion of French feminist philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, who sees women giving up their lives in the service of their young ones—and risking women's liberation by becoming oppressed by their own children. “We live 80 or 85 years,” she tells the Times, “and children take up 20 to 25 years of that. Staking your whole life on 20 years is a bad bet.”
The mother of three doesn’t hate kids; they just become too much of a burden if you listen to the advice of breastfeeding advocates and environmentalists: “Between the protection of trees and the liberty of women, my choice is clear.” Did she smoke while pregnant? “Of course,” she says. "You don’t enter a religious order when you have children." Badinter’s conclusion: The French have “always been mediocre mothers.” But “we’ve tended to have happier lives.” So lighten up, break out the formula, hire a nanny, and let the good times roll.