Women today struggle to make difficult choices involving their children and their careers – so why do they simultaneously criticize, undermine, and point fingers at one another? Beth Brykman taps her personal experience as well as her professional marketing skills in crafting this well-researched look at the life-transforming issue that American mothers face. Having been both a full-time employed mother and a stay-at-home mom, Brykman interviewed more than one hundred mothers. She lets these women speak for themselves about the reality of their lives, their views of the “other” mother, and how they balance the pros and cons of motherhood.
Separate chapters examine the factors that create the wall between women, stereotypes of mothers on both sides of the wall, the lives and attitudes of full-time employed mothers versus mothers who choose to stay at home, working part-time, the reality of daycare, how different women determined what was right for them and their families, coparenting and suggestions for modifying marriages, and letting go of the emotional baggage of success and guilt, including suggestions for broad cultural change.
An appendix details her research methods, including questions she posed to each mother, and a useful bibliography that points readers to other resources.
Filled with revealing quotations and stories from mothers themselves, this insightful discussion of contemporary motherhood reveals the many challenges facing women and offers creative solutions for overcoming those challenges.
“The book is so effective because it combines the two parts of life that Brykman has struggled to cultivate: She deftly applies her business experience to personal issues, tackling the delicate decisions of motherhood with both the strategy of an executive and the compassion of a seasoned parent. A uniquely unbiased look at the modern mother’s struggle for balance.” Kirkus Reviews
“[T]he most comprehensive of this year’s books on the state of motherhood.” Los Angeles Times
“This is an important book, as it gracefully illustrates the unspoken conflict so many of us have experienced. Ultimately, Brykman emphasizes how we are more alike than we are different, with the message that we must overcome the guilt that engulfs women on both sides of the wall and make attempts to understand each other.” Ruth E. Levine, MD Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch
“You can deny it or ignore it but the truth is…there is a wall and we all participate in building it. It’s our time and place in this social evolution to stop the construction.” Candace Gantt, Happy Stay-at-Home Mother and Former Ritz Carlton Vice President