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The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation

The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation
Author: Sharon Lerner
ISBN 13: 9780470177099
ISBN 10: 470177098
Edition: 1
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: 2010-04-01
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 224
List Price: $25.95

In most states, the average cost of keeping one infant full-time at a child-care center is greater than tuition at public college—or the average family's food budget.

Only 42 percent of working mothers in the United States stay home for the first twelve weeks of their infants' lives.

Because of their desperate need for income and flexi-bility, moms make up the vast majority of people who get caught up in multilevel-marketing schemes.

Throughout the country, it is harder, rather than easier, for women to get health insurance once they're pregnant.

There may not be any shooting going on, but plenty of American mothers feel like they're under siege. Between inadequate and, in many cases, nonexistent maternity leave, prohibitively expensive child care, and employers who are neither required nor inclined to make any concessions to the needs of working mothers, the American mom is routinely forced to choose between caring for her family and keeping her job—and the desperately needed income and benefits that go with it. These are not simply the problems of individuals; they have a serious negative impact on America as a whole.

In The War on Moms, respected journalist Sharon Lerner reveals the great sea of beleaguered and overburdened people in America—mostly women, but some men, too—stuck between the need to support their families and the desire to live a decent life with them. Single or part of a couple in which both partners work, they have no one at home to handle the inevitable overflow of domestic responsibilities, leaving them impossibly squeezed by the combination of work and family that constitutes everyday life. Lerner connects this dismaying trend with the fact that the remarkable three-decade trajectory of women's advances in the working world has begun to flatten out, stall, and even decline in the United States in recent years. Lerner combines compelling and heart-wrenching interviews with stressed-out, struggling, financially-strapped moms—she had plenty to interview—with convincing statistical evidence of the size, severity, and impact of this growing problem. She exposes some of the most popular assumptions about the imbalance of work and life in this country as oversimplifications—and sometimes outright fictions. Perhaps the most insidious are that women are to blame for their problems; that male partners alone are the root of the problem; and that high-end employers could solve everything if they wanted to. She also exposes the myth of the feud between working mothers and stay-at-home moms.

What do America's moms need that they're not getting? According to Lerner, guaranteed paid maternity leave; decent, affordable child care; health coverage; and good, flexible work options would make a huge difference. She shows that generous policies to support women in other industrial nations have increased fertility as well as women's participation in the work force—and makes the case that these supports could lessen both the depression among mothers and the financial stresses that many families experience after childbirth in the United States.

Nobody officially declared a war on motherhood, but the result couldn't be much worse if they had. Read The War on Moms and find out what must be done to stop the fighting.