Motherhood, Womanhood, and Self

“Contemporary family problems do not originate with the behavior of mothers, as is often claimed by the media and some scholars; rather, they originate with our failure to support the caretaking work that mothers do, which remains virtually unrecognized in our social policies.”

– Demie Kurz, from Doing Parenting: Mothers, Care Work and Policy, 1997

Dispatches From a Not-So-Perfect Life,
or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child
Faulkner Fox, 2003. A highly personal and offbeat account from a writer who approaches her journey into and through motherhood with a determination to preserve a satisfactory sense of self

The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother
Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk about It
Susan Maushart, 2000. Maushart investigates the personal, psychological and practical conflicts women typically experience when they enter the realm of motherhood, and she examines cultural conditions that contribute to maternal stress.

The Mommy Myth:
The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Undermines Women
Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels, 2004. Douglas and Michaels use examples of media portrayals of motherhood as the springboard for a lively discussion of the ascendancy of an intensely idealized version of motherhood they dub “the new momism.” The Mommy Myth also links the rise of the new momism to the steady rightward drift of U.S. politics and explores the range of social problems that follow in its wake.

Mother Shock:
Loving Every (Other) Minute of It
Andrea Buchanan, 2003. Mother Shock compares the plunge into motherhood to the experience of culture shock; all the familiar landmarks of a woman’s life are replaced by unknown territory and a new set of rules about how she is supposed to think, feel and act. Buchanan suggests that greater authenticity about the experience of motherhood is in order — both to change social attitudes about mothers and mothering and to prepare first-time mothers for the disorientation and self-doubt they are likely to feel.

The Price of Motherhood:
Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued
by Ann Crittenden, 2001. Economics journalist Crittenden details how prevailing practices and existing policies undermine the economic well-being of mothers, and proposes progressive solutions.

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