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7 Myths of Working Mothers: Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix Hardcover – December 23, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The tendency to shoot the messenger if you don't like the news, is evident in the negative reviews of Suzanne Venker's excellent book. She has the courage to tell the truth even though a book telling working mothers what they want to hear - which is that they are doing the best thing for their children - would probably have a better shot at being a best seller. It is evident that her love for children, and her concern for how the care they receive will affect society, is her motivation in writing, not any political or traditionalist axe to grind.
As Ms. Venker points out in Myth #5 (I'm a Better Mom for Working), however unpopular the idea may be, children's needs do not change based on their parents' economic status. As an educator and a former director of a non-profit day care center I can personally vouch for what Ms. Venker says about it being a myth that a small amount of quality time is a substitute for spending most of the day with a child. Children do just need quality time, and they need large quantities of it. They will starve on one bite a day of emotional filet mignon.
I also had ample opportunity working in day care to see children's perspective on what was important in their lives. I vividly remember a mother trying to soothe her children who were upset at being left in the morning by saying, "Mommy is working so we can afford a trip to the snow on the weekend. You like trips to the snow, don't you?" With tears in his eyes the older boy, age 4, said solomnly, "No, we'd rather have you, Mom."
In teaching elementary school age children, my current work, it is obvious to me which children have been raised in situations where their needs were met, and which were not. Aggression and lack of empathy are just two of the problems.Read more ›
As such, this book attempts to burst the bubble of the super-mom myth, the idea that one can juggle both tasks, and succeed at both. Indeed, according to Venker, a working mother comes close to being a contradiction in terms.
Of course a mom can work part time, and some moms, especially single moms, may have no choice about full-time employment, but for the average woman, to think that one can excel in a fantastic career path, and produce great, well-developed kids at the same time is simply wishful thinking.
The first myth, "Men can have it all, so why can't we" is just that: a myth. Most men who work full time do not spend an equal amount of time with their children. In any set of relationships there are always trade-offs. Men in full time jobs trade off the privilege of having the lengthy, intimate moments with their children that a stay-at-home mother has. And it is the same if it is the mother who is working full time.
Indeed, the term "working mother" in this regard is misleading. If a mother chooses a full-time paid career, she is basically leaving the job of mothering to someone else. She is paying someone else to mother her children.
Another myth is that the roles of dads and moms are fully interchangeable. They are not, because men and women are not the same. There are inherent, biological differences. As Venker demonstrates, "fathers will never be parents in the same way mothers are". Thus the androgyny ideal is a furphy.
To speak about completely equal roles in marriage therefore is nonsense.Read more ›
This book is a breath of fresh air to me! I was an excellent student in college whose professors fully expected and encouraged me to plunge ahead in the academic and professional world. However, I knew that once I had children, they would become my first priority. Since that decision, I have felt the pressure and disdain of the media and of fellow mothers who believe that being a stay-at-home mom is a demeaning and foolish role. It's hard not to buy into the lie that your mind will atrophy and your professional abilities will shrivel and die while at home with your children!
Ms. Venker restores my sense of equilibrium with her book. She counters the myths that the media and "gender-feminists" have tried to feed us (many of whom never had children or had them but never even tried to stay home full-time with them):
1. "Men can have it all. Why shouldn't we?"
2. "I could never stay home full-time!"
3. "You're so lucky you can stay at home!" (which disregards the substantial financial sacrifices many of us have made to do so!)
4. "I could balance work and family if I had more support."
5. "I'm a better mom for working." (I hear this one in every major woman's magazine.)
6. "My children just love daycare." (One of my working friends used this one just last weekend.)
7. "I have it all planned out."
I wish every mother in America had the courage to read this book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good book to read. She is right on that women, children and having a paycheck job all at the same time does not work.Published 7 months ago by Diane
I wanted to learn the truth of daycare's effects on babies as we have a 10 week old. I'm staying home with her, but I wanted to understand what daycare is like for infants. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Me
I tend to agree with Venker that ideally children would have a full time mother, meaning that Mom either doesn't work for pay outside the home or does so only part time. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by Paula L. Craig
My mother was a stay at home mom when I was growing up, and I remember thinking at an early age that being a stay at home mom was the last thing I wanted to do. Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by missy mo
I found this book extremely well written and helpful in my decision to take some time off from practicing law to raise my young son full-time. Read morePublished on March 24, 2012 by J. Brown
Doesn't mean other women can't. This is complete drivel. There are thousands of happy children of working moms (myself included) who would disagree with the author that working... Read morePublished on January 4, 2012 by Julie
I am a 28 year old male college graduate and i seriously recommend this book for any current/past college student. Read morePublished on July 17, 2011 by maroon_tiger