The current Newsweek magazine makes being a mother look pretty awful — in fact, the author of the piece, Judith Wagner, opines that in America motherhood is “an awful burden” rather than “a joy.”

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz is a father rather than a mother, but his close look at the piece is well worth reading:

“Warner offers pop social-science evidence in the form of terrifying but highly dubious pseudo-studies: ’Thirty percent of mothers of young children reportedly suffer from depression…909 women in Texas recently told researchers they find taking care of their kids about as much fun as cleaning their house.’

“She interviews an articulate woman who is hurled into inarticulate despair as she tries to make sense of her life: ’What I’m trying to remember…Is how I ended up raising this princess…How I got into…How to get out of…this, this, this, this mess.’

“This is not a woman living in Darfur, fearful that her children are about to be butchered by the Junjaweed. This is not a Sri Lankan woman trying to make sense of her life after the tsunami. She’s a newspaper editor with a supportive husband — and someone in desperate need of some perspective….”

Why is motherhood suddenly being portrayed in such harsh terms? Maybe, says Podhoretz, it’s a generational thing:

“Those of us who have young children were all raised to be self-actualizing, self-possessed, self-supporting. It’s safe to say we think more, and more deeply, about ourselves and our own needs than any other people at any other time in the history of the world. But at 3:30 in the morning, a crying baby or a sick child doesn’t care about your needs. She needs you. You have to put somebody else first.

“For some of us, being a parent is a liberation from the tyranny of the self. Others seem to cling to the shackles of their solipsism. Tragically, they have been unable to wrest free from a worldview more suitable to childhood, and therefore sadly denied themselves the particular satisfactions that come from embracing adulthood in all its glorious mundanity.”