When Mothers Work: Loving Our Children without Sacrificing Our Selves

When Mothers Work: Loving Our Children without Sacrificing Our Selves

When Mothers Work: Loving Our Children without Sacrificing Our Selves

When Mothers Work: Loving Our Children without Sacrificing Our Selves


"In When Mothers Work, Joan K. Peters argues that such sacrificial motherhood isn't good for children, much less for marriages or for mothers. The real question is: why haven't we adapted motherhood and work to accommodate our vastly changed lives?" "Drawing on the latest research and discussions with prominent psychologists, Peters explains our deep-seated resistance to mothering (and fathering) in new ways. She makes the case that, given sensible working conditions, a mother's employment means a richer parenting experience, stronger marriages, and more balanced children. With portraits of a dozen real families - corporate and blue collar, religious and secular, step- and single parents, urban and suburban - Peters illustrates the strategies that make this new family life succeed." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Book after recent book has examined the current work-family dilemma, but none proposes a solution. In writing When Mothers Work, I may have discovered why. Proponents of what are inevitably radical solutions must be unfashionably prescriptive.

While current political correctness dictates that feminists support stay-at-home motherhood as a valid choice for women, I argue that mothers should work outside the home. If they do not, they cannot preserve their identities or raise children to have both independent and family lives. But I also argue that women can do so successfully only if men take half the responsibility for child care--accepting the same financial and professional sacrifices women have always made.

And there's more: if women are to cultivate their independent identities along with their mothering, they must relinquish some maternal control to partners, grandparents, godparents, and caregivers. I also propose that they consider having fewer children, later in life.

Women cannot have it both ways: be equal citizens with political parity, have 50 percent enrollment in professional schools and access to the best-paid jobs, while expecting to take five to ten years off to raise their children. In short, equality means that women can no longer use motherhood as an excuse to drop out of public life and men simply cannot have it all.

This may seem like strong medicine. I hope, though, that I can convince readers--particularly new mothers and others contemplating parenthood--how much richer this approach to parenting is for themselves and their children. To make the case, I have drawn on the latest research, quoted various feminist psychologists, and consulted with four . . .

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