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Ayelet Waldman's Quotes

Ayelet Waldman profile photo

Born: 1964-12-11
Profession: Novelist
Nation: Israeli
Biography of Ayelet Waldman

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As a novelist, I mined my history, my family and my memory, but in a very specific way. Writing fiction, I never made use of experiences immediately as they happened. I needed to let things fester in my memory, mature and transmogrify into something meaningful.

Tags: Family, History, Writing

Because of my bipolar disorder, I tend to these mixed states, which are depressed but loud and agitated. So I can be terribly irritable. I go to cognitive behavioral therapy in order not to yell at my children.

Tags: Children, Depressed, Order

Before I was married, I didn't consider my failure to manage even basic hand tools a feminist inadequacy. I thought it had more to do with being Jewish. The Jews I knew growing up didn't do 'do-it-yourself.' When my father needed to hammer something he generally used his shoe, and the only real tool he owned was a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Tags: Failure, Father, Real

But I really feel strongly that our kids do way too much homework. The research is on my side. It's easy to make a fuss when you're right. That can be the tagline of my life: 'It's Easy To Make A Fuss When You're Right.'

Tags: Easy, Kids, Life

By presenting a faithful and honest record of my experience as a mother, I hope to show both my readers and my children how truth can redeem even what you fear might be the gravest of sins.

Tags: Experience, Hope, Truth

By the time the children go to bed, I am as drained as any mother who has spent her day working, car pooling, building Lego castles and shopping for the precisely correct soccer cleat.

Tags: Car, Mother, Time

Despite the fact that in America we incarcerate more juveniles for life terms than in any other country in the world, the truth is that the vast majority of youth offenders will one day be released. The question is simple and stark. Do we want to help them change or do we want to help them become even more violent and dangerous?

Tags: Change, Life, Truth

During the periods in my marriage when I chose to stay home with my kids rather than work as an attorney, it caused me no end of anxiety. Despite the fact that I knew I was contributing to our family by caring for our children, I still felt that my worth was less because I wasn't earning.

Tags: Family, Marriage, Work

Everyone knows now how early a fetus becomes a baby. Women who have been pregnant have seen their babies on ultrasounds. They know that there is a terrible truth to those horrific pictures the anti-choice fanatics hold up in front of abortion clinics.

Tags: Everyone, Truth, Women

Gym class was, of course, where the strongest, best-looking kids were made captains and chose us spazzes last. More important, it was where the figures of supposed authority allowed them to do so. Forget the work our parents did molding our minds and values. Everything fell apart as soon as we put on those maroon polyester gym suits.

Tags: Forget, Parents, Work

How many straight men maintain inappropriately intimate relationships with their mothers? How many shop with them? I want a gay son. People laugh, but they assume I'm kidding. I'm not.

Tags: Gay, Laugh, Men

I always tell my kids that as soon as you have a secret, something about you that you are ashamed to have others find out, you have given other people the power to hurt you by exposing you.

Tags: Hurt, Others, Power

I am an adamant feminist. It never occurred to me to take my husband's name when we married. I am a supporter of abortion rights, of equal pay for equal work, of the rights of women prisoners, of all the time-honored feminist causes, and then some.

Tags: Husband, Women, Work

I am consumed, or I have been consumed, with these issues of motherhood and the way we act out societal expectations and roles. So both my nonfiction and my fiction have been pretty much exclusively about that.

Tags: Act, Both, Pretty

I certainly don't think it's inevitable that we don't love children who don't carry our own DNA. If that were true we wouldn't have millions of successful adoptions to consider. I do think that it's harder to love a child when you come into that child's life after the unrequited passion of infancy and early childhood has passed.

Tags: Life, Love, Successful

I did not want to raise a genetically compromised child. I did not want my children to have to contend with the massive diversion of parental attention, and the consequences of being compelled to care for their brother after I died. I wanted a genetically perfect baby, and because that was something I could control, I chose to end his life.

Tags: Care, End, Life

I feed my kids organic food and milk, but I've also been known to buy the odd Lunchable. My kids are not allowed to watch TV during the week, but on weekends even the 2-year-old veges out to 'The Simpsons.'

Tags: Food, Kids, Week

I had a second trimester abortion. I was pregnant with a much-wanted child who was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality. I made a choice to terminate the pregnancy. It was my third pregnancy, and I was very obviously showing. More important, I could feel the baby move.

Tags: Baby, Child, Choice

I hate homework. I hate it more now than I did when I was the one lugging textbooks and binders back and forth from school. The hour my children are seated at the kitchen table, their books spread out before them, the crumbs of their after-school snack littering the table, is without a doubt the worst hour of my day.

Tags: Children, Hate, School

I have made so many mistakes as a mother. But the one thing that I know I do is I make sure my children know how much I love them and they are absolutely secure in that.

Tags: Love, Mistakes, Mother

I love the novel of 'The English Patient'; I think it's a profoundly beautiful novel. I love the movie of 'The English Patient'; I think it's a profoundly beautiful movie. And they're totally different. You accept each on its own terms, and that's kind of the ideal.

Tags: Accept, Beautiful, Love

I mean, I absolutely call myself a feminist. And by that, I mean a woman who believes that your opportunities should not be constrained by your gender, that women should be entitled to the same opportunities as men.

Tags: Men, Woman, Women

I mean, I do actually think there is a qualitative difference between aborting in the early part of the first trimester and in, you know, the middle or later part of the second trimester, in a way that you feel about it in that you grow attached.

Tags: Actually, Between, Mean

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Much more quotes by Ayelet Waldman below the page.

I pity the young woman who will attempt to insinuate herself between my mama's boy and me. I sympathize with the monumental nature of her task. It will take a crowbar, two bulldozers and half a dozen Molotov cocktails to pry my Oedipus and me loose from one another.

Tags: Nature, Woman, Young

I tell myself that after four children my belly is already so stretched and flabby that I have to do origami to get my pants buttoned. One more pregnancy and I'd be doomed to elastic waists for the rest of my life.

Tags: After, Children, Life

I tend to approach giving interviews with the same sense of circumspection and restraint as I approach my writing. That is to say, virtually none. When asked what I made of blogs like my own, blogs written by parents about their children, I said, 'A blog like this is narcissism in its most obscene flowering.'

Tags: Children, Parents, Writing

I think I wish I had never spanked my children, but I have. And they remember every instance like they tattooed it on their palms. I think it's a terrible lesson, to use physical punishment to make a point about not behaving, not being kind to their siblings, to other people. I mean that's just absurd. But I've lost it, I understand it.

Tags: Children, Lost, Mean

I used to refer to myself as a 'theoretical anorexic,' just as crazy when it came to body image, but saved by a lack of self-discipline. My daughters do everything better than I do - they're smarter, more beautiful, happier. What if they end up better at anorexia, too?

Tags: Beautiful, Crazy, End

I was born in Israel, to Canadian parents. My father immigrated in 1948, part of a wave of young men and women who came as pioneers, to fight for a Jewish homeland. Their motive was in large part a reaction to the Holocaust, and their slogan was 'Never Again.'

Tags: Father, Men, Women

I wish I could view the belly that oozes over the top of my pants as a badge of maternal honor. I do try. I make sure that the women whose looks I admire all have sufficient fat reserves to survive a famine, and I make a lot of snide comments about the skeletal likes of Lara Flynn Boyle and Paris Hilton.

Tags: Try, Wish, Women

I wrote three novels in six months, with a clarity of focus and attention to detail that I had never before experienced. This type of sublime creative energy is characteristic of the elevated and productive mood state known as hypomania.

Tags: Creative, Energy, Focus

I'm sure there are people who survive tragedy without humor, but I've never met any of them. Nor would I be particularly interested in writing about them if I did meet them.

Tags: Humor, Sure, Writing

I've sometimes thought that it's only by recalling that desperate devotion my kids once felt for me that I can maintain my own desperate devotion in the face of their adolescent sneering.

Tags: Kids, Sometimes, Thought

If only shame were a reliable engine for behavior modification. All it does is make me feel bad, which inspires me to bust open a bag of cheese popcorn, which then makes me feel crappy about my weight.

Tags: Bad, Behavior, Makes

If producing a regular column is living out loud, then keeping a daily blog is living at the top of your lungs. For a couple of months there, I was shrieking like a banshee.

Tags: Daily, Living, Top

In every union roles are assumed, some traditional, some not. My husband used to pay his own bills, I used to call my own repairman. But as marriages progress, you surrender areas of your own competence, often without even knowing it.

Tags: Husband, Often, Used

Look, if you ask a child, 'Would you rather have a fulfilled mother or a stay-at-home Sylvia Plath,' they'll pick Sylvia Plath every time. But I think it's really important that children don't feel their parents' emotional lives depend on their success.

Tags: Mother, Success, Time

My kids are incredibly secure. More and more of their friends' parents are divorcing, but my kids have absolute confidence that we'll stay together forever. That goes a long, long way.

Tags: Confidence, Parents, Together

My own husband was divorced when we met, but without kids. I don't know what I would have done if he'd had them. I got the message very early on that the worst mistake a woman can make is marrying a man with children.

Tags: Children, Husband, Woman

Personally, I think four is the perfect number of children for our particular family. Four is enough to create the frenzied cacophony that my husband and I find so joyful.

Tags: Children, Family, Husband

Roaring like a tiger turns some children into pianists who debut at Carnegie Hall but only crushes others. Coddling gives some the excuse to fail and others the chance to succeed.

Tags: Chance, Children, Others

So many women today have become so focused on their children, they've developed these romantic entanglements with their children's lives, and the husbands are secondary. They're left out. And the romantic focus is on the children.

Tags: Romantic, Today, Women

The biggest challenge for any craft person or artist is to accept the constraints of their medium and make something beautiful despite them. That's kind of fun, actually.

Tags: Beautiful, Challenge, Fun

The capacity for extravagant emotion that my husband finds so attractive in me can be exhausting, especially to a child. My moods are mercurial, and this can be terrifying. I know, because I was a daughter of a mother with a changeable temperament.

Tags: Child, Husband, Mother

The Q I loathe and despise, the Q every single writer I know loathes and despises, is this one: 'Where,' the reader asks, 'do you get your ideas?' It's a simple question, and my usual response is a kind of helpless, 'I don't know.'

Tags: Question, Simple, Single

The stereotypical gay man is someone whose company I enjoy, someone who makes me laugh, someone I'd want my kid to be. The stereotypical gay woman makes me insecure, conscious of my failings as a feminist.

Tags: Gay, Someone, Woman

The thing about youthful offenders is that no one seems to care about them. Most people don't like adolescents - even the good ones can be snarky and unpleasant. Combine the antipathy we feel toward the average teenager with the fear inspired by youth violence, and you have a population that no one wants to deal with.

Tags: Care, Fear, Good

The thing is, my fantasies about being a parent always involved fighting for my unpopular child, doing for her what my own parents couldn't do for me when I was a girl. I am so ready to be that little girl's mother.

Tags: Girl, Mother, Parents

Well, you know, I was raised by a 1970s feminist. My mom had a consciousness-raising group. I used to sit at the top of the stairs and listen to them.

Tags: Group, Mom, Used

When my first daughter was born, my husband held her in his hands and said, 'My God, she's so beautiful.' I unwrapped the baby from her blankets. She was average size, with long thin fingers and a random assortment of toes. Her eyes were close set, and she had her father's hooked nose. It looked better on him.

Tags: Beautiful, God, Husband

When the babies were very young, I found it difficult to write. I told myself each time that it would be different, I was used to it now, but with every child, for the first four months, I would accomplish nothing.

Tags: Difficult, Time, Young

When we choose to have an abortion, we must do so understanding the full ramifications of what we are doing. Anything less feels to me to be hypocritical, a selfish abnegation of reality and responsibility.

Tags: Less, Reality, Selfish

Where would the memoir be without bipolar writers? I mean, that's what - that whole oversharing thing is really a very clear symptom of bipolar disorder. And I'm not saying that every, you know, I'm not accusing every memoirist of being bipolar. But I think in a way it's kind of a gift.

Tags: Mean, Saying, Whole

Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

Tags: Good, Husband, Love

You can take the babushka off the Jewish mother and dress her up in a pair of Seven jeans and Marc Jacobs sling-backs, but she's still going to expect a passel of grandkids.

Tags: Her, Mother, Off

A good mother remembers to serve fruit at breakfast, is always cheerful and never yells, manages not to project her own neuroses and inadequacies onto her children, is an active and beloved community volunteer. She remembers to make play dates, her children's clothes fit, she does art projects with them and enjoys all their games.

Tags: Art, Good, Mother

I went from resenting my mother-in-law to accepting her, finally to appreciating her. What appeared to be her diffidence when I was first married, I now value as serenity.

Tags: Her, Married, Serenity

There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you'd be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.

Tags: Job, Life, Nature

I believe that mothers should tell the truth, even - no, especially - when the truth is difficult. It's always easier, and in the short term can even feel right, to pretend everything is okay, and to encourage your children to do the same. But concealment leads to shame, and of all hurts shame is the most painful.

Tags: Children, Short, Truth

If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

Tags: Good, Love, Mother

Most writers spend their lives standing a little apart from the crowd, watching and listening and hoping to catch that tiny hint of despair, that sliver of malice, that makes them think, 'Aha, here is the story.'

Tags: Here, Lives, Makes

Perhaps my children will one day pledge their loyalty to the Republican Party. Or perhaps they'll dismiss my liberalism as mild pap, and become anarchists. Either way may well be a reaction to my manipulation, my values. We are all the product of the indoctrination we received at the hands of our parents, even when we are repudiating that ideology.

Tags: Children, Loyalty, Parents

As a parent, the only thing I am absolutely certain of is my own fallibility.

Tags: Absolutely, Parent

I expend far too much of my maternal energies on guilt and regret.

Tags: Far, Guilt, Regret

I have two daughters and I have done everything in my power to prevent them from assimilating, even being aware of, my idiocy about my weight.

Tags: Daughters, Done, Power

I love reader mail, and I do read it, but I won't read hate mail.

Tags: Hate, Love, Read

I was a lesbian for a semester at Wesleyan - it was a graduation requirement.

Tags: Graduation, Lesbian, Semester

In a perfect world, probably we'd never yell, we'd just be firm and dispassionate. But of course, everyone yells at their children.

Tags: Children, Everyone, Perfect

Is Valentine's Day a day to make cupcakes with your children? No, Valentine's is supposed to be a day about romantic love.

Tags: Children, Love, Romantic

My father is sure that Israel keeps the Holocaust from happening again. I worry that it might hasten its recurrence.

Tags: Again, Father, Worry

My new novel 'Red Hook Road' began many years ago as a short article in the newspaper.

Tags: Novel, Road, Short

The first inkling my husband had that I was thinking about suicide was when he checked my blog.

Tags: Blog, Husband, Thinking

There's nothing I find quite as annoying as the phrase 'I told you so.'

Tags: Annoying, Phrase, Quite

You know, I feel like my job is to write a book. Then filmmakers come and they make a movie. And they're two really different art forms.

Tags: Art, Book, Job

I learned that I suffered from bipolar II disorder, a less serious variant of bipolar I, which was once known as manic depression. The information was naturally frightening; up to 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder will commit suicide, and rates may even be higher for those suffering from bipolar II.

Tags: Depression, Learned, May

It's hard to separate your remembered childhood and its emotional legacy from the childhoods that are being lived out in your house, by your children. If you're lucky, your kids will help you make that distinction.

Tags: Children, Emotional, Help

Listen to the pregnant woman. Value her. She values the life growing inside her. Listen to the pregnant woman, and you cannot help but defend her right to abortion.

Tags: Help, Life, Woman

One of the darkest, deepest shames so many of us mothers feel nowadays is our fear that we are Bad Mothers, that we are failing our children and falling far short of our own ideals.

Tags: Bad, Children, Fear

Aborting my baby is the most serious of the many maternal crimes I tally in my head when I am at my lowest, when the Bad Mother label seems to fit best. Rocketship was my baby. And I killed him.

Tags: Bad, Best, Mother

Another parent's different approach raises the possibility that you've made a mistake with your child. We simply can't tolerate that because we fear that any mistake, no matter how minor, could have devastating consequences. So we proclaim the superiority of our own choices. We've lost sight of the fact that people have preferences.

Tags: Another, Fear, Lost

I'm never satisfied, man. I'm Virgo. We overanalyze and we're never satisfied. So I'm gonna keep going 'til the wheels fall off.

Tags: Fall, Keep, Off

The first thing that's important is to really have people believe in you. If you have that, you can do anything.

Tags: Deep, Time, Understand

I don't wanna sound pretentious talking about myself.

Tags: Sound, Talking, Wanna

I don't want to be one of those guys that you see who made $4 million, invested $3.5 million, and now you work at Wendy's.

Tags: Guys, Million, Work

I go out, but not too much. When I'm on tour, I just write a lot of music and sleep.

Tags: Music, Sleep, Write

In terms of 'Seinfeld', I think there's lot of reality in a show that's supposed to be about nothing.

Tags: Reality, Show, Supposed

No days off. I'm a workaholic.

Tags: Days, Off, Workaholic

All the rappers my age are getting Audemars and Rolexes. I want to find my own thing. That's why I travel the world - for me, that's my B-side, why we go places. I have a Hublot on from time to time but I want a home base watch - something that's elegant but has got a little pizzazz to it.

Tags: Age, Home, Time

Basically, the Internet is just the way now. It's the end-all, be-all of self-promotion. It's not like you got to burn CDs and pass them out or sell them. The Internet is a tool that reaches billions and billions of people. It's like a no-brainer to tie it in with self-promotion, or even label promotion.

Tags: Internet, Pass, Sell

Everything's pretty consistent in the industry, you know. There's a couple of naysayers, whatever, people who don't agree. But for the most part a lot of people believe in the new class of MC's that coming to the game.

Tags: Game, Pretty, Whatever

Hip-hop is all about impact, baby. You can sell records, you can be two-times platinum, you can be gold... but if you lame, you lame, man. We try to provide the exact opposite of that. It's style, individuality, confidence. We exude that.

Tags: Baby, Confidence, Try

I dated all these girls and ended up not liking them and thought to myself, 'What was it that all of them had in common?' They had too much time on their hands. Even though they were pretty, they lacked something. A woman could be less attractive but with ambition and drive, that's the most beautiful thing.

Tags: Beautiful, Time, Woman

I never had money; I like nice things, but I don't let that run my life. At the same time, I have to let something drive me... so now I let the money drive me.

Tags: Life, Money, Time

I worked at a hot dog place, a bagel place, the Jersey Store and the hottest fashion joint around. I was getting too famous to work there anymore. I was almost showing up as a joke. I made $2,000 on my show the previous night and I'm going to go shopping during my five-hour shift.

Tags: Famous, Night, Work

I'm at like 325 pairs right now, give or take. But I've given away about 200 pairs of sneakers. I'm not as big of a collector as I used to be, because I think the game just got weird. Everybody likes to collect now, so it's kind of corny. But I got the essentials.

Tags: Big, Game, Give

I'm learning as I go. I don't know everything. I never had anybody to look at, nobody ever taught me, and where I'm from I didn't have any famous role models.

Tags: Famous, Learning, Nobody

I'm very proud of my Nigerian heritage. I wasn't fortunate enough to be raised in a heavy Nigerian environment, because my parents were always working. My father was with D.C. Cabs and my mother worked in fast food and was a nurse.

Tags: Father, Food, Mother

Mix-tapes are something that have been going on for a while. They've been pretty important to hip-hop for the past 10 years. It's the way we advertise our music to the public for free.

Tags: Music, Past, Pretty

Sometimes I'm happy - you can tell via Twitter. Sometimes I'm pissed off - you can tell via Twitter. I just think, at the end of the day, I don't want them to see me as a celebrity; I just want them to see me and say, 'He's like a regular person at his job right now who's mad.'

Tags: End, Happy, Job

The Web is the new way to figure out who's hot and what's not. You can't let TV dictate because it's so polished, so political. It is what they want you to know. The Internet is the raw.

Tags: Hot, Internet, Political