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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Motherhood is Driving Moms Crazy

Author Judith Warner's new book, Perfect Madness, is the cover story in this week's Newsweek. In her book, Warner talks about the struggles that today's mothers face in trying to raise families, hold down jobs and be the "perfect" moms. She notes that, 30 years after the feminist movement, our culture still does not support working parents (who, by the way, are working by necessity, not choice):

Women today mother in the excessive, control-freakish way that they do in part because they are psychologically conditioned to do so. But they also do it because, to a large extent, they have to. Because they are unsupported, because their children are not taken care of, in any meaningful way, by society at large. Because there is right now no widespread feeling of social responsibility—for children, for families, for anyone, really—and so they must take everything onto themselves. And because they can't, humanly, take everything onto themselves, they simply go nuts.

Warner also offers some solutions to help support parents... namely government- and business-driven initiatives. However -- and Warner acknowledges this -- the problem is a deep one within our culture. In the history of humanity, "working mothers" are nothing new, dating back to our hunting and gathering ancestors. But in the 20th century, we became affluent enough to allow women to stay at home full-time with their children. In a way, we've reverted back to the normal scheme of things. But the problems that Warner points out are very real, and will take a long time and a lot of work for our culture to solve.

Source: Newsweek