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Unworkable Lives

Working Women, Workable Lives
Linamen and Holland
1993

This is another of those books that attempts to help women solve their problems with juggling home and family obligations against those of one’s career. I should make these books their own special category. Check out a couple of examples here, here, here, and here.) They all have suggestions like:

  • Stay more organized
  • Take time for yourself
  • Hire a babysitter
  • Talk to your husband
  • Meditate

I feel like I read most of the ones published between 1989-1995 when I was trying to to get a handle on my life. None of these books have any real solutions. Even the privileged mother with lots of cash, supportive family, and a staff would find these suggestions ridiculous. The reality is that none of these books go after the real problems or working women. You know, those pesky problems like wage inequality, lack of childcare, sexism, racism, worker exploitation, poor management, etc. You know, the problems that plague 99% of working families.

complete guide for the working mother

A step in the right direction?

The Complete Guide for the Working Mother
Albrecht
1967

This book is handy for all those women with money, household help, resources, etc. Even for 1967, this book is out of touch. Even though it probably only applies to less than 1% of working mothers, it does assert that household chores are not the sole responsibility of the mother and that parenting is a family responsibility. I think the author is trying hard to talk about some equality and parenting issues, but not quite ready to take it up a notch. Given the 1967 publication date, that is hardly surprising.

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Mother Guilt

Crisis of the Working Mother
Resolving the Conflict Between Family and Work
Berg
1986

Well this little book was geared to my generation as we hit the job market in the 80s. For most working mothers, you got the choice of being a bad mother or a bad (read unreliable) woman. (Sadly, not much has changed for most women, especially in terms of compensation and benefits.) It took me until my kids were in middle school that I quit caring about my standing as a good mother. A school staffer mentioned to me that my kid was in trouble because I was a selfish working mother. I reminded said staffer that my kid is a 12 year old boy whose life mission is to drive others to drink on his way to becoming an evil genius. I wish I’d had the guts to ask her if she called my husband to complain about my kid.

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Bad Mommy

Mommy, Where are You?
What could be more important than investing in the lives of your children
Mills
1992

Working moms, this book is for you. Did you know you are doing your children a disservice by being selfish and working outside the home? They will probably become criminals all because you put your selfish need to work above your kids. Lucky for you, this author is here to straighten you out.

I just want to laugh/snap at the author for thinking that all women have a choice in working. The author suggests that women with income challenges should take in sewing or sell baked goods. Of course this begs the question, if they are working at home, are they still giving their children the most of their time? Equally infuriating is implying that fathers just can’t do parenting as well as a mother.

How to Have a Child and Keep Your Job cover

Working Parents

Submitter: I found the following advise book in my local public library, giving out parenting and career advise from 1979. Probably a great choice for 1979 since many women were going back, or staying in the workforce. 2015? I don’t think so.

Holly: The statistics cited in the introduction date this book right from the start. I like the page on role-sharing and household responsibilities [p.62, below], and I’m sure there some other nuggets of good information here. The rest, like the list of examples of quality television for children, are just outdated. Not a bad book, just not current enough to warrant keeping. Weed and update!