The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation

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en Limba Engleză Carte Hardback – 28 Apr 2010
"A stinging account of how public policy and private businesses have failed to adapt to working mothers." ––Jennifer Ludden, NPR Why life is harder on American families than it′s been in decades—the book that takes the blame away from moms and puts it where it really belongs Pressed for time and money, unable to find decent affordable daycare, wracked with guilt at falling short of the mythic supermom ideal–working and non–working American mothers alike have it harder today than they have in decades, and they are worse off than many of their peers around the world. Why? Because they′re raising their kids in a family–unfriendly nation that virtually sets them up to fail. The War on Moms exposes the stress put on families by an outdated system still built around the idea that women can afford not to work. It tells the truth that overworked, stressed–out American moms need to hear—that they′re not alone, and they′re not to blame. Exposes a lack of reasonable and flexible work opportunities as the real cause of the supposed rift between employed and stay–at–home mothers Explodes the myths about supermoms, slacker dads, opt–out moms, bootstrap moms, daycare options, and make–money–from–home scams Uncovers the widespread, brutal reality of having no paid maternity leave Offers portraits of real women—across social classes and across the country—who are struggling with issues that will strike a familiar chord with most Americans Explains why American women have it hard and why it′s not going to get any easier until the country dramatically changes course The War on Moms turns the "mommy wars" debate on its head by arguing that a mother′s real "enemy" is not other women, but a nationwide indifference to the cultural and economic realities facing parents and families in the United States today.
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ISBN-13: 9780470177099
ISBN-10: 0470177098
Pagini: 216
Dimensiuni: 145 x 216 x 23 mm
Greutate: 0.30 kg
Editura: Wiley (TP)
Locul publicării: Hoboken, United States

Public țintă

Motherhood polemics garner media attention and traffic in the bookstore, frequently generating 20,000 or more in hardcover sales.  This one especially taps into the Zeitgeist as the myth of the supermom crumbles, working mothers and stay at home mothers both find themselves financially flailing, and coming up short on prized ideals seems to be going around.  The lastest batch of books––on bad moms, bad days, and bad secrets––acknowledges how hard it has become to stay perfect.  This is the first entry in the "mommy wars" that doesn′t point the finger entirely at other mothers.

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Advance Praise for "The War Moms"

"Sharon Lerner has turned her guns on the futility of the swanky 'Mommy Wars' to reveal that the real war on mommies has little to do with wealthy women who opt out or the quest for the perfect au pair. The real war on American mothers isn't cute and it's not making the front page of the nation's newspapers. Lerner tracks a war on mommies that is external, systemic, and brutal, and it stems from maternity leave, to child care, to part-time employment policies that have made balancing work and family virtually impossible for real women. Every mom who worries about managing a workload, a home, and a family needs to read this book. The laundry can wait."
--Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, "Slate"

"Packed with information and firsthand reporting, "The War on Moms" is eye-opening reading for anyone who cares about what's happening to women, children, and families in the current economic crisis."
--Katha Pollitt, author of "Learning to Drive and Virginity or Death!"

"Out of over 170 countries, there are 4 countries that have no paid leave for new mothers: Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia, and the United States of America. Shocking. "The War on Moms" tells us about the huge challenge mothers and families face in this nation. It is time for U.S. policy and business practice to catch up with the rest of the world and make it possible for all parents to both care for their children as well as support them."
--Joan Blades, President,


Acknowledgments v Introduction 1 1 Falling: When Needs Bring Families Down 6 2 Supermom Returns: Doing It All without Having It All 23 3 ’Til Dishes Do Us Part: The Problem with Blaming Men 37 4 The Problems We Wish We Had: A Couple of Choices, None of Them Good 57 5 Testing the Bootstraps: What Exactly Is Keeping the Women of Mississippi Down? 76 6 Congratulations, Now Back to Work: Keeping Mothers and Babies Apart 93 7 Good Day Care Is Hard to Find: The Working Mom Crisis 121 8 The Elusive Part–Time Solution: The Stay–at–Home Mom Crisis 141 9 Baby Strike: The International Motherhood Experiment 160 10 The Blame Game: How and Why We Wound Up in Last Place 172 Epilogue 188 Notes 197 Index 211


How employers make child–rearing an emotional and financial burden for women The joy of having a baby quickly morphed into logistical panic when Devorah Gartner learned her newborn had suffered a prenatal stroke and needed daily physical therapy. So the computer software manager asked her employer for a month′s leave to care for her daughter. The answer was no, which meant Gartner had to quit her job to care for her child. She lost her health insurance and spiraled into debt. This is not an individual tragedy, writes Sharon Lerner in "The War on Moms: On Life in a Family–Unfriendly Nation," but a national fiasco. The U.S. is failing its mothers. The happy event of a birth often presages disaster for women in this country, the majority of whom get little support in the form of affordable, quality childcare or guaranteed paid maternity leave. Lerner wants to get the revolution started, and her book is a direct appeal for federal intervention to help moms struggling to hold jobs and raise kids at the same time. Dads have challenges too, and increasingly pitch in with housework and childcare, but it′s mothers who still, on average, weather the financial and domestic impact of raising children. After becoming parents, most women′s incomes go down, while for men, salaries go up. Giving birth, writes Lerner, is "the new financial turning point in many women′s lives." She even digs up one study that finds each child a woman has increases her probability of being poor by 5.4 percentage points. The debate of the past decade over whether women should choose to work or stay home with kids is a perverse diversion, argues Lerner persuasively. There is, in fact, no real choice. Women usually neither "opt out" of work, nor do they gamely pump breast milk while typing on BlackBerrys in executive suites, since so few occupy those suites to being with, and so many are pushed out by employers hostile to flex–time or part–time work. One of Lerner′s most important contributions here is to remind working parents that the out–of–control feeling is not their fault: It′s a policy problem. Women may be working more, but families somehow have less to work with, as the cost of food, gas, housing and healthcare increases. This leads to situations such as that faced by Gartner, who was compelled by a sick child and no flex–time to quit the very job that provided her family′s insurance. The recently passed healthcare bill may soon ease the burden, especially for women who will no longer be denied insurance because of the "pre–existing condition" of pregnancy. But getting companies to step up won′t do, Lerner writes. There is no widespread economic justification for corporations to initiate flexible workplace provisions for hourly workers, the majority of whom are women. Even the few family–friendly companies that do honor flex–time cover only a small percentage of full–time salaried workers. The solution? Lerner calls for more government intervention, in the form of mandated paid maternity leave, paid sick leave and a national system of affordable, accessible childcare. Without these supports, working parents can face emotional and physical agonies. Take, for example, the issue of maternity leave. It′s not just a nicety to allow women to coo in seclusion with their newborns. Often, it′s a medical necessity. Women who have had Caesarians are told by doctors to rest for several weeks — but the majority go back to work sooner than that, at risk of losing wages or even their jobs. (Shockingly, only 42% of working mothers stay home for the first 12 weeks of their babies′ lives.) What really makes a working mother want to weep, however, is knowing how good it is elsewhere. The United States is one of just a handful of countries that do not offer paid maternity leave. Nations such as Germany or Australia dole out money just for having kids. And after infancy is over, there is free, high–quality childcare in France, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. In the United States, on the other hand, childcare centers are often costly or dicey, with few regulations and low pay for teachers. Lerner idealizes the Europeans′ solutions, without getting into the more controversial economic trade–offs. Nor is she terribly concerned with the gritty details of political solutions at home. For a better primer on getting quality preschool for every 3 and 4–year–old, look at another recent book, "The Promise of Preschool" by Elizabeth Rose, which dissects the push for public preschool in the United States, as well as incremental policy transformations over decades. Instead, Lerner wants change, and she wants it now. "The War on Moms" is an infuriating, galvanizing read — a page–turner for working moms. ( Los Angeles Times , May 7, 2010) "An infuriating, galvanizing read — a page–turner for working moms." —The Los Angeles Times

Notă biografică

SHARON LERNER writes regularly about women and politics for the Nation. A former public–radio producer and Village Voice columnist, her written work has appeared in the New York Times , the American Prospect , and Slate .