In the first few paragraphs of The Awakening, Edna Pontellier's relationship with her children is presented as distant, but generally positive. The children play under the trees by themselves and display an independence that seem to suit Edna, who, at the start of the novella, is engaged in her conversations with Robert.
According to Mr. Pontellier, Edna's husband, the relationship between Edna and their children is unsatisfactory. At one point, he perceives their son to have developed a fever, and though Edna explains that the boy had gone to sleep perfectly healthy, Mr. Pontellier does not accept her explanation and scolds her for being neglectful. According to Mr. Pontellier, Edna's relationship with her children is not close enough for his liking.
Later, the narrator explains to the reader that Edna is not a woman who worships her children. Though the narrator maintains a neutral tone towards Edna's style of mothering, Edna's husband is decidedly critical, which contributes to the sense of oppression that characterizes Edna's experience as a wife and mother.