Resources and reporting for mothers and others who think about social change.
get active
about mmo
mmo blog

The Motherhood Problem
On “Perfect Madness” and other matters


1. According to sociologist Sharon Hays, the ideology of intensive motherhood “is a gendered model that advises mothers to spend a tremendous amount of time, energy and money in raising their children.” For a more detailed discussion, see The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood, 1996.
2. Even though I was born two years before Warner’s cut-off date for the first cohort of the “post baby boom” generation, my children were born in the 1990s— around the same time many women in their early and mid-thirties became mothers. It’s quite possible that the decade in which a woman becomes a mother has as much, if not more, influence on the quality of her maternal experience— and the intensity of the pressure she may feel to conform to a certain style of mothering— than her age. I also lived in Washington, DC for many years— my oldest son was born there— and the culture among young, high-achieving professionals was exceptionally competitive.
3. The list of public policies that would adequately support America’s working families is, of course, much longer than this. However, these are the policy solutions Warner specifically calls for in Perfect Madness.

4. Here's a partial list of notable or popular books on motherhood which are currently out of print. There are undoubtedly other titles that could be added here; send your suggestions to editor@mothersmovement.org

Anne Richardson Riophe, Up The Sandbox!, 1970

Sidney Cornelia Callahan, The Working Mother, 1971

Helena Znanieka Lopata, Occupation: Housewife, 1971

Angela Barron Mc Bride, The Growth and Development of Mothers, 1973 and Living with Contradictions: A Married Feminist, 1976

Shirley Rogers Radl, Mother’s Day Is Over, 1973, revised edition 1987

(Radl and McBride were the first to write about the “The Motherhood Mystique.”)

Ann Oakley, Women’s Work: The Housewife, Past and Present, 1974

Jesse Bernard, The Future of Motherhood, 1974

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Family Politics, 1984

Sandra Scarr, Mother Care/Other Care, 1985

Barbara J. Berg, The Crisis of the Working Mother, 1986

Anita Shreeve, Remaking Motherhood, 1987

Mary Frances Berry, The Politics of Parenthood, 1993

Diane Eyer, Motherguilt: How Our Culture Blames Mothers for What's Wrong with Society, 1996

page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | notes | print |

Reuse of content for publication or compensation by permission only.
© 2003-2008 The Mothers Movement Online.


The Mothers Movement Online