The Mommy Wars
Books and Articles
Our shared reading list, plus additional articles that may be of interest.
In the summer of 2007, our reading group read and discussed the following three books:
"Get to Work" by Linda Hirshman
"To Hell With All That" by Caitlin Flanagan
"Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" by Judith Warner
- A good summary of Hirshman's argument is contained in her editorial: "Off to Work She Should Go" by Linda Hirshman NYT April 25, 2007
- A fair summary of some of Warner's points are in her editorial: "The Full-Time Blues" by Judith Warner NYT July 24, 2007
In the summer of 2008, our reading group read and discussed the following books:
"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan
"The Feminine Mistake" by Leslie Bennetts
"Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself" by Amy Richards
"I Don't Know How She Does It" by Allison Pearson
"The Time Bind" by Arlie Hochschild
Articles on the "Opt-Out" Revolution
- "The Opt-Out Revolution" by Lisa Belkin NYT Oct. 26, 2003. Belkin coins the phrase "opt-out" to describe a new trend of highly educated, wealthy women who choose to leave the workforce for the home.
- "The Case for Staying Home" by Claudia Wallis Time March 22, 2004
- "The Opt-Out Revolution Revisited" by Joan Williams The American Prospect March 5, 2007
- A longer report by Joan Williams "Opt-Out or Pushed Out? How the Press Covers Work/Family Conflict: The Untold Story of Why Women Leave the Workforce"
- "The Wives of Others" by Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker April 16, 2007
- "The Invisible Mommies" by Sharon Lerner Salon May 23, 2007
- "Stretched to the Limit, Women Stall March to Work" by Eduardo Porter, NYT March 2, 2002
- "Mommy Books: More Buzz than Buyers" by Mokoto Rich NYT April 25, 2007
- "After Baby, Boss Comes Calling" Lisa Belkin NYT May 17, 2007
- "Exploiting the Gender Gap" by Warren Farrell NYT Sept. 5, 2005
- "Married and Single Parents Spend More Time with Children, Study Shows" by Robert Pear NYT Oct. 17, 2006
- "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" by Amy Sutherland NYT June 25, 2006
[this article is actually irrelevant to the topic of working moms, but is a fun piece about how to mold husbands using techniques from animal trainers]
Women, Parenting, and the Academy
- "Alone in the Ivory Tower: New Study Shows Female Professors Least Likely to Have Babies Among Fast-Track Professionals." University of Utah study by Nicholas Wolfinger shows female professors have a lower birth rate than female lawyers or doctors.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education has several articles on the "balancing act" of career and parenting. Note: You must be a subscriber to view these articles.
- Study by Mary Ann Mason and Marc Goulden "Do Babies Matter: The Effect of Family Formation on the Life Long Careers of Academic Men and Women".
A Women Defends Housewives in the 1970s, then is divorced in the 21st century and rethinks her life choices. Paging Leslie Bennetts . . .
- "The Satisfactions of Housewife and Motherhood in an Age of 'Do Your Own Thing'" by Terry Martin Hekker NYT Dec. 20, 1977
- "Paradise Lost, Domestic Division" by Terry Martin Hekker NYT Jan.1, 2006
- "You Want it Clean? You Clean It" by Lisa Belkin, NYT April 9, 2006
- "When Mom and Dad Share it All" by Lisa Belkin NYT June 15, 2008. Article on couples who commit to sharing housework and childcare 50/50
- "Mad at Dad" by Martha Brockenbrough, Parenting Magazine. This might be one for the Journal of Obvious Studies, but a national survey reports 46% of moms get irate at their husbands once a week. Moms think dads don't notice what needs to be done around the house, and they are clueless about kids' needs, they can't multitask. Close to 1/3 of moms say that even though dads do chores, on the whole they generate more net work for moms. The biggest sources of anger seems to be that moms think husbands get more time to themselves.
Working Women Worldwide
- "Career Women in Japan Find a Blocked Path" by Martin Fackler NYT Aug. 6, 2007
- [Germany] "Quoth the Raven: I Bake Cookies Too" by Mark Landler NYT April 23, 2006
- "No Babies" by Russell Shorto NYT June 29m 2008. Report on the European baby shortage.
- "Good News and Bad News on Parenting" by Bryan Caplan, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Note: You must be a subscriber to view this article. Research on how children are affected by the amount of time parents spend with them. This study concludes nature trumps nurture, and parenting style (within a reasonable range) and time spent with children have less to do with their eventual success than genetics.
- "Till Children Do Us Part" by Stephanie Coontz, NYT, Febr. 4, 2009. Overspending time with children can be hard on a marriage.
- "Baby Food" by Jill Lepore, New Yorker, Jan. 19, 2009. Are breast pumps a technology crutch to avoid true maternity leave?
- "The Case Against Breastfeeding" by Hanna Rosin, Atlantic Monthly, April 2009. Rosin argues that the benefits of breastfeeding have been exaggerated to the point that mandatory breastfeeding is one more way to shame and burden women into putting their lives on hold to overinvest in childrearing.
- "Ban the Pump" Judith Warner, NYT, April 2, 2009. Warner agrees with Rosin. The comment section contains a wide variety of responses.