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Perfect Madness by Judith Warner
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Perfect Madness

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Perfect Madness by Judith Warner
Paperback $24.00
Feb 07, 2006 | ISBN 9781594481703

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    Feb 07, 2006 | ISBN 9781594481703

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  • Feb 07, 2006 | ISBN 9781440620164

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“Manifestoes blast their way into the popular consciousness on two kinds of fuel: recognition (we see ourselves in them) and rage (we can no longer tolerate the injustice they describe). Judith Warner’s ‘Perfect Madness‘ brims with both.” —The New York Times Book Review

“How did we become a nation of worry-wart, control-freak mothers? Warner does a superb job of succinctly tracing the societal evolution and parenting theories from the postwar, Dr. Spock ’50s and ’60s through the past three decades since the dawn of feminism…[Perfect Madness] is sure to stir controversy and emotions.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Perfect Madness has struck a chord among middle-class moms guilt-tripped into being time-martyrs and trying to micromanage their children’s lives.” —People

“[Perfect Madness] has struck a chord with moms across the country, who believe they’re going crazy.” —Dallas Morning News

“In the end [Warner] arrives at the controversial conclusion that mothers are not victims of outside forces but rather their own worst enemies. The bigger issue, Ms. Warner argues, is that whether working or not, moms are consumed by what she sees as a new ‘soul-draining’ perfectionism that’s turned parenting—from the first ultrasound to the last college application—into a competitive sport. Ms. Warner’s observations inject new life into what has become a long, tired debate.” —New York Observer

“In this polemic about contemporary motherhood, Warner argues that the gains of feminism are no match for the frenzied perfectionism of American parenting. In the absence of any meaningful health, child-care, or educational provisions, martyrdom appears to be the only feasible model for successful maternity—with destructive consequences for both mothers and children. Comparing this situation with her experiences of child-rearing in France, Warner finds American ‘hyper-parenting’—pre-school violin and Ritalin on demand—’just plain crazy.’ The trouble is a culture that, though it places enormous private value on children, neglects them in the arenas of public policy. She is concerned less with sexual politics than with the more persuasive effects of the ‘winner take all’ mentality, and makes an urgent case for more socially integrated parenthood.” —New Yorker

“Modern motherhood is exacting costs . . . With Perfect Madness, Warner convincingly shows the psychological damages.” —Washington Post Book World

“[Perfect Madness] has struck a chord among middle-class moms guilt-tripped into being time-martyrs and trying to micromanage their children’s lives.” —People 

“A sharply observed study of motherhood in today’s culture.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Warner argues for a saner society, where everyone would have access to a decent living and enough family time for themselves and their children.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Judith Warner’s] words have struck a nerve with modern mothers.” —Richmond Times Dispatch

“Warner has…inspired the beginnings of debate about where neurotic motherhood leads.” —London Observer

Perfect Madness is the utter madness of life in a frenzy around the children. But it also hints at the madness that is inherent in women’s attempts to be ‘perfect mothers’ and have ‘perfect’ children. As a result they give up everything that distinguished them as individual women—with a variety of wishes, desires, and interests—before they became mothers.” —Ha’Aretz

Table Of Contents

Part I: The Mommy Mystique

Preface: “This Mess”
1. Introduction: The Mommy Mystique
2. The New Problem That Has No Name

Part II: The Motherhood Religion

3. The Sacrificial Mother
4. Selfish Mothers, Forsaken Children
5. Millennial Motherhood
6. The Motherhood Religion

Part III: Ourselves, As Mothers

7. A Generation of Control Freaks
8. Running Scared
9. Winner-Take-All Parenting
10. Wonderful Husbands
11. For a Politics of Quality of Life
12. Conclusion


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