Relationship maven sees ‘generational angst’

Relationship maven sees ‘generational angst’

For Iris Krasnow, "surrender" is not a dirty word or a sign of weakness. Krasnow, author of "Surrendering to Motherhood," "Surrendering to Marriage," and "Surrendering to Yourself," says "surrendering is total victory, yielding to a higher power," whether to one’s true nature, the joy of raising children, or the commitment made by couples on their wedding day.

On Tuesday, March ‘7, when Krasnow addresses the National Council of Jewish Women Bergen County Section, she will discuss her "signature theme " — generational angst. A self-described "boomer, 5’-year-old mother of four, writer, and daughter of a Holocaust survivor mother and a father born in Chicago to Russian immigrants," Krasnow describes the condition as "something in our gut, a tug in our souls, as women, trying to be everything to everybody."

Author Iris Krasnow will speak in Teaneck to the National Council of Jewish Women.

"No one is perfect," says Krasnow, "and we should not expect perfection of ourselves or of others." And not only are we not perfect, she says, but few people, "even the Dalai Lama," are truly at peace. At the NCJW meeting, she says, she will offer both "healing and humor" as she discusses the challenges faced by women in different stages of their lives.

According to the author, "Real freedom and power comes from knowing exactly who you are, and that it is only you who can make yourself whole and happy. Trying to please everyone else just waters down your voice of truth, and that’s the voice you need to be listening to."

"It’s never too late to become who you were meant to be all along," she adds. "You get only one lifetime to get it right."

Contending that "the way we relate to our mothers has a dramatic effect on how we are able to love, play, and work," the author will also talk to NCJW members about her latest book, "I Am My Mother’s Daughter: Making Peace with Mom — Before It’s Too Late."

"This is the most important relationship [for a daughter] to get right," she said, "and it’s urgent to get it right in this lifetime. You can’t say you’re sorry at the cemetery."

"Everyone has a mother," she said, and since women in their 80s and 90s are the fastest-growing segment of the aging population, "your mother could be showing up at your doorstep for dinner for the next ‘0 years."

Krasnow is particularly struck by the unprecedented possibility of "growing old together with your mother, growing gray together," and, possibly, becoming "girlfriends."

"Forget the worst," she advised. "Reinvent yourselves as mother and daughter in this moment. When you make up while mom is still spunky, you get years more of a supportive friendship with the woman who knows you better, and perhaps loves you more, than any other human on earth."

In her previous books, Krasnow mixed interviews with anecdotes to explore the theme of coming to terms with life — as an individual, a marriage partner, and a parent.

Her book on marriage, for which she interviewed some 300 husbands and wives over the course of three years, left her with a simple philosophy: "Marriage can be hell, but the grass is not greener on the other side. So you may as well love the one you are with — especially if you have children."

"Being married happily ever after doesn’t guarantee that you get to be happy, and we shouldn’t expect constant happiness or we’ll constantly be disappointed," she wrote.

Krasnow’s views on "surrendering" to motherhood were not universally hailed, she writes on her Website (, defending her position that mothers should savor the time when their children are young.

"We can always go back to our big jobs," she wrote. "We can never go back to the times when our children were young and needy…. So be there, now, as much as you can."

"Friends with big jobs accused me of abandoning my feminist ideals," she said. "[But] there is nothing I can do that is more powerful or liberating as a women than to surrender to being there, fully and forcefully, for my children."

Formerly a national feature writer for United Press International in Washington, in the course of her career Krasnow had interviewed such personalities as Yoko Ono, Ted Kennedy, and Queen Noor of Jordan. She says her favorite subjects were Elie Wiesel and Billy Graham.

"They both were guided by spirit," she said, noting that the two men’s focus on spirituality resonates strongly with her.

A longtime journalism professor at American University in Washington, Krasnow is also the "relationship correspondent" for Fox Morning News in Baltimore, fielding questions from callers with interpersonal troubles. In addition, she has made guest appearances on "Oprah," "Good Morning America," and "The Today Show," among other venues.

For further information about the NCJW program, call (’01) 385-4847 or visit

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