EEM’s review of Pamela Stone’s 2007 book, Opting Out. While most mothers interviewed for the book say they “chose” to opt out, Stone’s analysis finds the contrary: work factors in fact pushed them out.
Welcome to Book Reviews! Here we highlight books which examine motherhood in America, from the experiences of working moms to mothers at home.
All Joy and No Fun is a book I would give to new parents. When I was pregnant, I read a myriad of books about pregnancy and having a baby. But it feels like as soon as you are able to keep a baby alive with relative confidence, very few books are written to help you navigate your own experience with parenthood. This book fills that gap.
In Being There, Erica Komisar pushes back against the prevailing commentary on what a mom should do once she has a baby is “find childcare and get back to life as normal.” Instead, Komisar argues that mothers should spend significant time being present with their children in the first three years of life—quitting their jobs if necessary. While this is obviously a big ask, Komisar maintains that a mother’s contribution to her children’s emotional health is invaluable, and she says that she is “not ready to give up on mothers” just yet. However, in the process she paints the commitment to “be there” in such extremes that she manages to offend just about everyone in the course of the book (including stay-at-home moms who are purportedly doing what she recommends).