In a strange way, Louise Erdrich is perhaps our least famous great American writer; she is not reclusive, but she is reticent, and her public appearances give the impression of a carefully controlled performance. But Erdrich has also shared many of her most intimate emotions and experiences, in some form, in her novels.
I think that in the cultural imagination, motherhood has a primacy that fatherhood just doesn't; and that's not to say that there aren't many fathers who are active and engaged and for whom that is their life's passion. But somehow, in the imagination, there's something different about maternity.
Kids are the ultimate trump card: a way to get out of co-op board meetings or lunch with a friend you don't want to see or your brother-in-law's set at a comedy club. It's fair to use your kids as an excuse to sidestep what you don't want to do; it's less fair to blame them for not being able to achieve what you do want to do.