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Excellent Ideas...No Way to Realistically Accomplish,
This review is from: The Motherhood Manifesto: What America's Moms Want - and What To Do About It (Paperback)
Reading this book made me really, really, unbelievably sad...but then, all books of this nature tend to do that to me. I am of two minds on this one...part of me really liked it, but the rest of me loathed it. I do think that probably all women who are in their early twenties, at the start of their career track and considering "having it all" (the career, the husband and the kids) should read this, because there is a harsh reality that comes with being a mom (or dad) AND working full time...and the alternative of one parent staying home requires sacrifices that are just as great (unless you're lucky enough to have a spouse that actually does make enough to support this...and fewer and fewer do anymore). Reading something like this would have been a real eye opener for me ten years ago...and I probably would have made different choices than I did in having our children...I went into it blindly, thinking it would all work out because we decided to undertake parenting as a joint venture, but the reality is quite different than what one might think. Parenting is expensive and hard...but mostly the expense is hard to deal with (the rest has its rewards and is therefore easier to take).
The book stresses that families NEED two full time working parents to make ends meet and doesn't seem to take into account people who choose to do with less (like one car instead of two, second hand instead of new, ect...) to have one parent stay at home and the other work full time...but the reality is that for the way most people live and the wages they can realistically pull down, both do need to work just to make a basic living wage with no bells or whistles. What got my dander up is that the book proposes that mothers WANT (or need) so much and they should get it just because they are mothers and it's the right thing to do...without any REAL ideas on how these changes could be brought about realistically. The reality is that unless you already are at a job (that has a family friendly staff) you're probably not going to be able to negotiate flex time or bring your kid to work (and how many single, or non parent people...or even parent people) WANT someone's kid at work all the time (or even occasionally)...I know when I worked, I hated it when people brought their kids in to hang out while they worked...it's disruptive even when the kids ARE well behaved...and most aren't.
The rest of it, well there are so many women (and men) out there who are vehemently opposed to any type of benefits for parents, because, well, how dare mothers or fathers demand (and get) benefits that singletons wouldn't get...and why should they have to pay for or support parents and their evil spawn...there is such a backlash against mothers out there that I am seeing seething out there these days...I don't see the manifesto being well received by men or women in general...and especially by those who have chosen not to have children. In some ways I can understand this, as ALL people parents or not, deserve to earn a living wage, have healthcare and all that stuff too, and I can see where the idea of implementing universal child health coverage would get the dander up in single people or childless couples, the same way paying taxes for schools they don't need and will never use does NOW. The same people that don't want to pay taxes for your kids to go to school, certainly won't want to pay taxes for your kids to have universal healthcare coverage.
Overall, I think it's a good book, but the reality of DOING what this book suggests is just mind-bogging. I don't see it happening anytime soon...my advice, unless you have a fantastic support system of child friendly family and friends...or a super high paying job that you're guaranteed not to lose in the next twenty years...seriously reconsider having children. Without one or the other (or, even better, both) becoming a parent will be a significant financial drain and you really will have a hard time properly parenting your kids...just read through the child care section in this book or talk to a few minimum wage working mothers with kids in substandard daycare situations if you don't believe me. Oh, yea...and I'm serious about the child-friendly part of my above statement...just because they are your family and friends doesn't mean they will actually want to help you or support you in your parenting emotionally or by offering supplemental child care and babysitting. Heck, we had a few friends that refused to socialize with us after our daughter was born...SOCALIZE, not watch our kids, just come and have dinner or play games or hang out...yea, that's right, you might actually LOSE friends by having kids because there ARE people who don't want to deal with them at all and/or who feel that somehow they'll be roped into helping with the rugrat...it does happen. I give the book B-...great ideas but I don't see the ieas here being easy to implement or widely accepted.