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7 Myths of Working Mothers: Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix Hardcover – December 23, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

SUZANNE VENKER is a former middle school English teacher. A writer and full-time mother, she lives in St. Louis.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Spence Publishing Company; First Edition edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890626538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890626532
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Don't shoot the messenger!
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.
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Format: Hardcover
The thesis of this book is simple: women can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time. That is, a woman can choose to excel at motherhood, or she can choose to excel at a career, but she cannot do both simultaneously.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent and informative book! The author packs a lot of valuable information into a relatively short 170 pages and writes in a very readable style that makes the book hard to put down (both essential qualities for a busy stay at home mom of toddlers!). Ms. Venker is not against working mothers across the board, but her premise is that a mother's work should take second place to her role as mother and be fit in around her children's schedule (for example, working while the children are home with Daddy).

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!
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