Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-1459-0 • Hardback • September 2019 • $105.00 • (£81.00)
978-1-4985-1461-3 • Paperback • October 2021 • $41.99 • (£32.00)
978-1-4985-1460-6 • eBook • September 2019 • $39.50 • (£29.00)
Michelle Napierski-Prancl is professor of sociology and faculty director of the Women's Institute at Russell Sage College.
Chapter One: The Mommy Wars: An Imaginary Battle over Mothers(’) Work
Chapter Two: Listening to Their Side of the Story: Introducing the Moms
Chapter Three: Mothers Work: Nostalgia, Language, and the Myth of Eating Bon Bons
Chapter Four: The Dreaded Question: So What Do You Do? Stay-at-home Moms, the Issue of Identity, and the Decision to Stay Home
Chapter Five: Supermoms, Daycare, and Family Friendly Policies: Full-time Working Mothers
Chapter Six: The Best of Both Worlds? Part-time Working Moms
Chapter Seven: Moving Forward: Mothers as Agents of Social Change
In this volume, Napierski-Prancl (Russell Sage College) uses in-depth focus group research from a diverse group of mothers, including those working in the paid labor force and those who are stay-at-home moms, to share these women's experiences of, perspectives on, and understandings of motherhood. She combines this data with an evaluation of relevant media to broadly assess the institution of motherhood in American society. A unique aspect of the book is that Naperski-Pranci intersperses her own experiences as a working mother with the voices of the mothers she met. This helps to connect her experiences to the women she interviewed, along with understanding her own positionality. Foregrounding the voices of interviewees, the author challenges the cultural assumption of the “Mommy Wars” and uses a sociological perspective to demonstrate how women’s similar and different experiences of mothering can be used to foster structural change that values women’s work in both the paid and unpaid labor force. She ultimately argues that change can be driven by mothers themselves.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
— Choice Reviews
Mothers Work is a timely exploration of the Mommy Wars: battles predicated on the opposition between (largely middle-class) stay-at-home mothers and mothers who pursue careers outside the home. Created in and by the media in the late twentieth century, the Mommy Wars continue in the twenty-first century to divide women from each other and, ultimately, from their own sense of self. Professor of Sociology Michelle Napierski-Prancl deftly traces how the Mommy Wars, albeit fictional, rhetorical constructs, influence in very real—and often toxic—terms the life choices women make. Drawing on her own experiences as an academic and mother, as well as on conversations with mothers in her focus group, she pushes for a crucial cultural shift that takes seriously how structural problems associated with policy, the economy, and the workplace affect the potential for maternal self-determination and fulfillment. Napierski-Prancl makes a vital intervention in the study of motherhood by calling for an end to the Mommy Wars; by underscoring the value of women’s paid and unpaid labor; and by urging that mothers be recognized as empowering agents of social change.
— Elizabeth Podnieks, Ryerson University, editor of Mediating Moms: Mothers in Popular Culture