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A Mother's Work Hardcover – September, 1985

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Unfocused and uneven, this book manages to raise more questions than it answers. All concern the role of parents, business, community, and government in the lives of our children. Fallows's purpose is to show, through an analysis of child-care resources, that children are better off when their parents care for them and that parents should try harder to accomplish this. However, what comes out most clearly is the need for improved day care. There is an ambivalence in the author's discussion of feminist and pro-family views that weakens her case and denies economic realities. Whether a mother doesn't work, has to work, or wants to work, the problem remainshow to provide the best care for children. Fallows doesn't have the answer. Hilma F. Cooper, Cheltenham Twp. Libs., Pa.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T); First Edition edition (September 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395362180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395362181
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,062,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Baker-Johnson on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When it was first released, "A Mother's Work" proved to be very controversial. Feminists were unhappy with Fallow's criticism of daycare and questioned how she was able to write a book when she was "supposed to be at home with her kids." Traditionalists harrumphed over Fallows' validation of working mothers and some daycare, and fathers being just as qualified to nurture children as mothers. A book on family/work tension that both sides found fault with intrigued me. I anticipated a realistic and complicated look at the issues and I was not disappointed.

When Fallows approaches her topic from the viewpoint of what is best for children, she is not overcome with sentimentality. A major section of the book evaluates childcare--different types, politics of daycare, its effect on children, and present needs for daycare. She spent time visiting a variety of childcare providers. She describes her visits as if the reader were sitting with her, following Jill and Beth throughout the day. I felt what kids must feel in childcare, fun and joy as well as loss and pain.

Fallows concludes that, while more money is needed for daycare, no one is willing to pay for it--not parents, business or government. Her analysis of reasons why childcare has not been valued economically is an important consideration.

It has been noted that 53% of mothers with children under age 6 are employed outside the home. Fallows focuses on the very significant 47% who are not, noting that there is little difference between family incomes of $10,000 and $35,000 in determining if the mother works. Interestingly, these percentages remain the same among single mothers.
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