I guess I'm unusual in that I'm a WW coming down on Thumos's side in this argument. (Though honestly, Thumos, I think your pitch would be more effective without the F-5 sarcasm and hyperbole. A Pennsylvania farmhouse with peeling shutters and a once-a-week cleaning lady is not a level of privilege that would stun the Pharaohs.)
I agree that this is a shallow, selfish woman, and I also agree that she's just the latest in a string of equally narcissistic women who see nothing wrong with discarding vows and crushing stable homes with no particular interest in what it does to anyone else. It's been an issue ever since Eat Pray Love, which I loathed when it came out. I was so disheartened by the explosive following for its "I want it, and really, isn't that all that matters?" philosophy.
And it just keeps growing. I had to turn off the television during Adele's recent interview for the same reason. Basically, her self-reflection boiled down to "Yes, it was a good life, and good for my son, but it wasn't perfect. I'm sure he'll be happier because I'm happier." I mean... aren't there enough people on your staff already whose sole reason for existence is making you happy? You were an internationally acclaimed star at the age of 19, so maybe you can work on your pleasant marriage for a few more years for the sake of your child whose life is already lived around the edges.
(I see that I'm a hypocrite here for accusing Thumos of ranting.)
As someone who did Cheerio duty for many years (in a Pennsylvania house with peeling shutters, as it happens, though my cleaning lady was biweekly), I know how hard it is to live a life that is perpetual support staff. It can be numbing to lose yourself as an individual. But honestly, this author sounds like she ordered a family from Williams Sonoma. She looked at a Pinterest board and wanted the backdrop of a handsome husband, beautiful children, farmhouse kitchen... and when they didn't live up to spec, she traded them in for a different cliche lifestyle with herself in the starring role. She's not trying to build something real. She's just unhappy that what she received wasn't the exact color it looked in the pictures. God help those kids if they have any actual problems.
I'll add that this phenomenon exists independent of gender. It's just that women are now nauseatingly celebrated for assholery that was previously only celebrated in men. There have always been plenty of male narcissists out there whose narcissism is forgiven as ambition. Unfortunately, instead of decrying that behavior from both genders, we've normalized and even championed it.
I was hit hardest by this passage:
Twice, trying to keep track of the kids in the park by myself, I lost my oldest son. He ran ahead to the playground, and I lost him. I looked and looked, and then I shouted his name, and then I panicked. One time, someone else’s husband finally helped me find him. Honey, help that poor woman, his wife probably told him. They felt sorry for me and I didn’t care—I was abject with gratitude. I knelt and took my son’s shoulders in my hands and shook him gently, and talked in my serious, quaking voice about how we needed to be safer.
I mean, there is not a shred of irony or self-reflection there as she tells her son about the danger of running away towards the shiny playground without a backward glance towards the people who love and protect you. Looking back, her interest is more in how other people may have been evaluating her. She's always the only point of every story she tells. Everyone else is a prop.