Resources and reporting for mothers and others who think about social change.
get active
about mmo
mmo blog
mmo Features
  • The Motherhood Papers
    Random dispatches on motherhood, culture and politics
    by MMO editor Judith Stadtman Tucker

Mothers on the tenure track
January 2009. "Another interesting and troubling finding is that even full professors with tenure had horrifying stories to tell. One would hope that with such power and security, this would exempt you from mother discrimination, but it doesn't." A conversation with Caroline Grant, Elrena Evans, and Andrea O'Reilly about motherhood and the clockwork of academic careers.
Interview by Heather Hewett

Power in a movement
April/May 2008. Enough talk, already. It's time for the mothers' movement to get organized -- or risk missing our window of opportunity.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Immigration is a mother's issue
April/May 2008. The story of immigration, and the policy debates now circling around the topic are strikingly gendered, and ignore the reality of mothers and their children. So too do the writings and public conversations on motherhood often exclude the stories of immigrant mothers.
By Gretchen Hunt

One city. One blog. A whole lotta mamas.
April/May 2008. The Activistas are ready for the revolution. Our goal? Nothing less than electing supportive legislators, improving laws and forcing better private-sector policies that affect families in Oregon and beyond.
By Lisa Frack

Solving the flexibility puzzle
April/May 2008. Flexibility is essential for the success of all the purposeful things we do, yet few communities, or companies, or even households are organized to provide working mothers with all the flexibility they need.
By Arthur Emlen

Turning the page:
Our Bodies, Ourselves Pregnancy and Birth Book

February/March 2008. An interview with OBOS director Judy Norsigian. "Maternity care is in crisis in this country… There is an enormous amount of misinformation in the media and on the internet that has created a poorly-informed public. In addition, some obstetricians who fail to keep up with the latest research misleadingly suggest to women that many routine medical interventions are completely without risks."
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Reconsidering "best birth" practices:
An interview with Lisa Gould Rubin

February/March 2008. "What's also striking to me is that through all different movements surrounding birth, we still come up with the same old dilemmas or issues that put a value upon birth as if there's a good or bad, right or wrong way to give birth."
By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

The Caring Society
December 2007. There are caring people in every society -- but not all societies are caring societies.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Democratic front-runners pledge support for working families
December 2007. Whether through first-hand hardships or as media consumers, Americans are waking up to the significant risks of raising families in a nation where protecting corporate interests takes priority over the well-being of workers and children -- and, at least among Democratic hopefuls, candidates in the presidential primary race are taking note.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Camping while black
December 2007. I've tried to keep these harsh realities from my son; however, in retrospect, I wonder if that is that wise? As his mother and primary link to black history, culture, pride and pain, I worry I am making a grave mistake. My biggest fear is I'm not fully preparing him to cope in a racist society and thus he may walk straight into harm's way.
By Deb Pleasants

Mothering in real-time
November 2007. My sons now have a far deeper and more global understanding of the lives of women and children than I did at their age. I feel certain that they would not use the word feminist to describe themselves, but nonetheless, they have a growing awareness of the fact that the welfare of children is often tied to the political power of women.
By Jane Hammons

The "mommy wars" and the good life
September/October 2007. If you've got a choice to make yourself, or you need to give advice to someone making a work-family decision, you'll need more than an attitude of tolerance. You'll actually need to broach a classic question of philosophy: what is central to living a good life?
By Jean Kazez

The opposite of choice
September/October 2007. When fused with prevailing ideals of middle-class mothering and the myth of maternal omnipotence, the formulation of "choice" as the basis for female moral action obscures important differences between mothers and the structural sources of women's complex inequality.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Taking on the Big Boys -- and how to get started:
An interview with Ellen Bravo

August 2007. "In general, the Big Boys deny there is a problem -- and if there is, they blame it on women's deficiencies or choices. The only thing they say we need to change is ourselves. This conveniently takes the heat off the root of the problem."
Interview by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Can you have a job and a life?
August 2007. Can you have a job and a life without having a wife at home full time? Sure -- but only with significant change in how business does business, how society values families and how families divide up the work. An excerpt from "Taking On The Big Boys."
By Ellen Bravo

Why be political?
August 2007. How are mothers supposed to fundamentally change the world in the middle of ear infections, diapers and sleepless nights? I barely had time to take a shower.
By Kristin Teigen

Beyond bumper stickers:
An introduction to working for change

August 2007. Whatever method is applied to problem-solving, the heart and soul of social activism is making contact with other people who care about the future of the community -- whether the working definition of "the community" is everyone who lives in your neighborhood, or everyone who lives on the planet.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

The movement that has no name
June 2007. Although women's organizations and activism certainly still exist, younger women today do not always experience the direct support of a movement behind them. And without a movement behind them, the reasons women still can't have it all --fulfilling career, committed relationships, kids -- seem, as in the days before Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, merely "personal." An excerpt from Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild.
By Deborah Siegel

Mommies are people: Revisiting Free To Be…You and Me
June 2007. As discussions about the paucity of viable options for combining paid work and child-rearing -- and mothers' accounts of feeling blindsided by reality -- move into the public domain, I've noticed that women born in the late '60s and 1970s often use "Free To Be…You and Me" as a reference point in their reflections on "how it was supposed to be."
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

Men and mothering:
An interview with Andrea Doucet, author of "Do Men Mother?"

June 2007. "Many fathers come to recognize the value and the skill involved in caring work. They speak about how parenting is the 'hardest' or 'most difficult' job they have ever done. They slowly come to appreciate how vitally important, yet socially devalued, caring work is. They're adding their voices to the chorus of generations of women who have argued for the valuing of unpaid work."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Fathering: the new frontier
May 2007. We know that men can, in a sense, mother -- that is to say, nurture children, day-in and day-out. Today the real question is, can more men mother? Will the number of hours men spend on childcare continue to grow? Will we see more and more stay-at-home dads on the playgrounds?
By Jeremy Adam Smith

Can Mother-Daughter Love Last?
An Interview with Renee Schultz & SuEllen Hamkins

April 2007. "We wanted to understand the disconnection we'd experienced with our mothers, to understand why that had happened, and to figure out how to do things differently with our own daughters." Schultz & Hamkins are authors of "The Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence"
By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

The stories that make us real
March 2007. The ubiquity of birthing stories is not troubling, in and of itself. But the rite of telling such narratives sometimes serves to marginalize those mothers, like me, who lack good birthing tales.
By Melanie Springer Mock

Choice, control, responsibility
Adoption and the politics of gender selection
March 2007. I'm beginning to appreciate that gender is one of many choices adoptive parents get to weigh in on. Once you start reading and hearing other people's stories, you realize that adoptive parents review health histories and specify desired age and choose a country from which to adopt. For me, all of this choice leaves me feeling as if there's an uneasy balance between selfishness and altruism.
By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Ambassador of breast milk
February 2007. It came as something of a surprise to me when I realized that I had become a lactivist.
By Karen Oakes

Mixed messages
"Best for Baby. Best for Mom." Can't we do better?
February 2007. Advocacy groups and formula companies are each conducting somewhat disorganized but highly visible campaigns about breastfeeding that have nearly drowned out any messages from federally-funded campaigns. The overt message, even from the formula companies, is always that "breast is best," but the details of why it's best and how much better it is are seemingly dependent on the source of the information.
By Johnna Thompson

It's a medical device
Adventures in pumping on the job
February 2007. If we truly stand behind the "Breast is Best" message, why are their no protections for employees who want to do so? Or does our society only support the practice for women of privilege, those who work in/at home and those with high enough status and salaries to proceed without fear?
By Jessica Smartt Gullion

For whom is breast best?
Thoughts on breastfeeding, feminism and ambivalence
November 2006. I suppose that I most resented the ways that breastfeeding made me indispensable. …I certainly didn’t think my child should crawl to the fridge to fix his own bottle in the middle of the night, but I did think that perhaps it would be nice if Dad could feed him for a change.
By May Friedman

Love: How do you know?
November 2006. I'm occasionally accosted by well-meaning mothers and treated to the dewy-eyed question: Don't you just LOVE being a mom? I yearn for the day when some stranger will say, "How's it going? It's hard isn't it?" I yearn for that honest companionship and the sense that I'm not the only one who feels like this…or rather that I'm not the only one who doesn't feel the way I think I should feel.
By Kyndra Wilson

Maternal Desire
An interview with author Daphne de Marneffe
October 2006. "Too often in discussions of motherhood, a woman's self-assertion and her care for others have been artificially placed in opposition. This doesn't capture the way that mothering puts women in a different subjective position, in that caring for their child and meeting the child's needs and desires often comes to be experienced as a way of meeting their own desire. Connecting to their child is often felt to be a way of connecting to themselves."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

The Way It Isn't
October 2006. How did I wind up here? -- Middle aged, that is, and out of work?
By Tracy Thompson

What Children Need: An interview with Jane Waldfogel
September 2006. "There is now a greater awareness and understanding than any time in the past of how important investments in children are, and this new recognition has greatly increased the public's support for investments in children -- whether in the form of paid leave for new parents or universal preschool or more widely available after-school programs. There is also a much stronger evidence base. We now know better than ever before what programs will help."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Learning the lessons of history
September 2006. A strong mothers' movement can only succeed if we recognize that poor women have been working on these issues for decades, focus on building an inclusive movement that honors the work these women have done and learn the lessons their history has to tell us about activism, motherhood and public policy.
By Jackie Regales

Reviving the feminist mystique
On Linda Hirshman's "Get To Work"
August 2006. Hirshman's position on what constitutes a flourishing life and her uncompromising prescription for female conduct raise a number of provocative questions. Namely, how do societal conditions influence our understanding of gender roles and the moral imperatives of collective and private life? Do cultural pressures and prohibitions change undesirable behaviors -- and if so, who makes the rules? How should we measure women's progress? And above all, who speaks for feminism?
Review and commentary by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Birth, Choices
August 2006. I read Adrienne Rich's Of Woman Born years before having my first baby. Not yet a mother myself, the idea of mothers choosing to reclaim authority over their births from medical professionals seemed radical and perhaps even a bit dangerous. Yet it appealed to me as a practical act of protest available to any pregnant woman willing to insist that she maintain authority over her own body and responsibility for her own choices, and willing to require that her caregivers respect both.
By Melissa Wilkins

Time to kiss the 'Mommy Wars' good-bye
A Mother's Day reality check
May 2006. All I want for Mother's Day is peace. Not at home: as the mother of two high-maintenance divas (ages 9 and 5), I've given up on serenity there. No, this year all I want is an end to the Mommy Wars. I don't know any mom who doesn't.
By Tracy Thompson

An interview with Ann Crittenden, author of
"The Price of Motherhood"

May 2006. "My views about the potential of a grass roots mothers' movement have gone through several stages. At first I was eager to try to enlist the support of existing women's organizations behind a mothers' movement, which I believed could revitalize the somewhat stalled and defensive women's movement. Then gradually I began to think that the most effective thing to do would be to work to change attitudes and ideas. Once heads change, then all else falls into place."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Love and money
Have I paid too high a price for motherhood?
May 2006. Now that I am over 50, I think of all the successes and goals I almost achieved -- in journalism, in the theatre, in the publishing world, in a business career. I wonder where I would be today if I had persevered in any of those areas. Instead, I persevered at home.
By Elizabeth Coplan

Beyond nanny-mama drama
Day care is a challenge, yes, but not the nightmare depicted in headlines
April 2006. When was the last time you read an article about the financial struggles of women who make a living caring for other people's children? The truth is, we don't hear too much about how child care workers support themselves or their families on their earnings. We do hear a lot, in contrast, about child care workers who turn out to be mentally unhinged. Especially if they are nannies.
By Amy DePaul

Like I said:
Loving and loathing Caitlin Flanagan
April 2006. Caitlin Flanagan's long-awaited book on "modern motherhood" is finally out -- but you can put the flame-proof suit back in storage. Flanagan's chief preoccupation seems to be the importance of having a pleasing dinner ready at a reasonable hour, although she makes it clear that cooking -- along with routine housework, full-time child tending and doing laundry -- is really not her thing. Plus: Caitlin Flanagan Watch 2003 - 2004, a collection of earlier essays on Flanagan's work in the Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker

The secret life of mothers
Maternal narrative, momoirs, and the rise of the blog
February 2006. The proliferation of shared experience as seen in blogs is a powerful way to unite women who might not otherwise feel as though they had anything in common.
By Andrea Buchanan
The Blogging Mom Clique: Anyone can join
February 2006.Mother-written weblogs are as diverse as the women who write them.
By Asha Dornfest
A weblog of one’s own
How to start blogging
February 2006. Are you ready to start your own blog? It’s easy, no matter what your level of geek savvy. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection and something to say.
By Asha Dornfest

Beyond the motherhood mystique
An interview with Angela Barron McBride,
author of "The Growth and Development of Mothers" (1973)

February 2006. "Because becoming a mother is such a profound experience, the role regularly brings to the fore a host of emotions and unresolved ambiguities. In confronting this assortment of thoughts and feelings, one moves away from the simplicities of 'they lived happily after' to the hard-won maturity of dealing with difficulties as best you can."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Fair means fair
My fight for equal access to education for teen moms
December 2005. I wanted the world to be fair and I wanted to do my part. But how could a single mom who had a long way to go to work up to subsistence living help anyone else? First, I had to learn to fight for equal access to education.

By Katherine Arnoldi
Everybody hates Linda
December 2005. Linda Hirshman's dispassionate analysis of child-rearing as a shameful waste of human capital -- and her uncompromising playbook for putting women on top -- managed to offend just about everyone. But once the defensiveness dies down, we need to renew the dialog on motherhood and women's leadership.
Commentary by Judith Stadtman Tucker
Brown people
Parenting, racism and the politics of elementary school

November 2005. The day my daughter told me she did not like brown people, I explained that race doesn't matter. And yet, in our daily choices, race matters very much.
By Rachel Ida Buff
Mothering, Race, Ethnicity and Culture
The Ninth Annual Conference of the Association for Research on Mothering
November 2005. ARM conferences frequently provide a critical forum for feminist research and theory left out of the dominant academic discourse, and the 2005 annual conference was no exception.
Reported by Judith Stadtman Tucker
Telling it like it is
Rewriting the "opting out" narrative
October 2005. "Perhaps the popularity of the opt-out story suggests that our country still prefers to think about family and motherhood in terms of personal values and choices and not in socioeconomic or political terms; and that to do so, many believe, would require us to adopt very un-American, European-style social policies interfering with our competitive capitalist edge."
By Heather Hewett
Being Family Magazine
The journey of my testimony

September 2005. I realized that I had ambition to be more than a mother. I wanted to leave my mark on the world. I wanted to work toward something that would touch many lives. So, began the search for work to compliment my life and my personal mission of strengthening, celebrating and supporting Black families.
By Rochelle Valsaint
A sort of perfection
An interview with writer Jane Lazarre

July/August 2005. "It saddens and angers me that the literature that helped my generation of feminists to understand our condition in both political and deeply intimate ways is now so often untaught, unread, unknown by young women. Women friends, whether in personal relationships, informal groups or more formal discussion/reading groups, do not have to reinvent the wheel. …We can begin, as we always did, with our own stories, but if the stories and narratives that have gone before are not used, then we are truly sabotaging our own possibilities."
special report:
NOW plans action on
Mothers'/Caregivers' Economic Rights

July/August 2005. The resolution, which was presented for consideration at the organization's 2005 National conference and passed by a unanimous vote, authorizes national, state and local branches of NOW to take action to "educate the public on this issue, build coalitions with feminist activist groups that advocate for mothers' and caregivers' economic rights and lobby for appropriate federal and state legislation to create programs such as quality universal childcare, Social Security and tax credits for caregivers, and paid family medical leave insurance."
Brave new dads
The MMO interviews Brian Reid of Rebel Dad

June 2005. "On a macro level, I think we’re beginning to see the reality of egalitarian marriages catching up with the promise. For a lot of couples, one career can’t be prioritized over the other, which frees up the decision over who stays home.
Fathers' Fight
What every mother should know about the fathers' rights movement

June 2005. "Depending how your divorce goes, you may end up being at war. That much, all sides can agree upon. A follow up question is this one: whose rights matter most? That's currently up for debate.
An investigation by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser
War of the wounds
What's wrong with the father's rights movement
June 2005. "The core debate about fathers' right to equal custody is not simply about protecting women and children from domestic violence, or the difference between "good" dads and "bad" dads, or even the contradictions of liberal feminism. It's about preserving male privilege in and outside of marriage, and whose needs and emotional well-being take precedence when parents in disrupted families just can't get along."
Commentary by Judith Stadtman Tucker
Mama, you rock
An interview with documentary filmmaker Jackie Weissman about her work in progress, “Rock N Roll Mamas”
May 2005. ”Seeing these women go to school, go on tour, go to work, take their kids places, perform, and establish networks of friends is very empowering to me. It makes me see that anything is possible.”
Interview by Margaret Foley

The Playground Revolution
An interview with Miriam Peskowitz, author of “The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars”

April 2005. " I think the gap between growing up and feeling like we’re in charge of our lives, and the reality of becoming a mother right now in our society can be debilitating, and depressing. It makes us feel ashamed, and it makes us frustrated and angry, and these emotions are hard to give voice to... We’re mad, and it’s hard to know who or what to be mad at, so we take it out on other women, because we know they’re as vulnerable as we are."
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker

Judging Mothers
How and Why Feminists Can Stop

April 2005. What exactly is going on in mother’s judgments of each other, and how is feminist community-building possible within this all woman sphere of critique? I think these are essential questions for feminists because as I see it, judgmentalism among women is one of the primary things keeping us from truly bettering the social position of mothers.
By Faulkner Fox

“Go Home!”
When discrimination forces moms out of a job
April 2005. Workplace discrimination based on widely-held stereotypes about how women will or should act as mothers has continued unquestioned— until now.
By Kimberly Tso

The Motherhood Problem:
On “Perfect Madness” and other matters

March 2005. Are all American mothers so hopelessly preoccupied with conforming to a manic, misery-inducing style of over-parenting that they’ve lost the capacity to imagine a more mother-friendly alternative? Probably not, but Judith Warner, author of “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety,” would like us to think so.
Review and commentary by Judith Stadtman Tucker
Shaping the pro-mother agenda
An interview with Joanne Brundage, founder and
Executive Director of Mothers & More

March 2005. In connecting with so many mothers across so many miles, it became almost immediately apparent to all of us that the issues we were dealing with were more than personal issues; that our society and culture had a lot to do with what we were grappling with. It really brought home the saying “the personal is political.” …But we have been more successful at providing support services to mothers than at defining and advocating for societal change.
February 2005. The importance of a woman’s reproductive freedom has justifiably been framed in terms of her rights to self-determination, to personal choice, to the inviolability of her body. But in framing the argument almost solely in those terms, pro-choice rhetoric has forsaken a more inspirational discussion of the profound necessity and liberating potential of a desired motherhood. An excerpt from "Maternal Desire."
By Daphne de Marneffe

Motherhood and the Quest for Reproductive Justice
An interview with Loretta Ross and Marlene Gerber Fried, co-authors of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice
February 2005. “To create a strong mothers’ movement, you’d have to talk about class and race, about access— focus on the right to be a mother— and of course, this builds the reproductive rights agenda right into the organizing. Motherhood is not single issue or monolithic. Without class and race consciousness, a movement specifically about mothers can’t go far.”
Interview by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Poverty and the politics of care
December 2004. America abandoned the War on Poverty. Now we’re waging a War on Welfare, and on the mothers who depend on it to support their families. Reviews of Sharon Hays’ Flat Broke With Children and other recent works on women, work and welfare, plus commentary by MMO editor Judith Stadtman Tucker

What’s next for women?
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, author of The F-Word: Women, Politics and the Future, talks about what it will take to get mothers’ issues on the national agenda
November 2004. “Today’s women have a chance to turn the country on its ear. Not that all women share the same views, or the same political parties, but simply that the act of adding millions of missing votes into the electoral process could move mountains— and bring critical issues forward. ...It’s time to start talking again. It’s time to share the burden of the economic, social and political hurdles we face, instead of facing them alone.”
Interview and introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker
Shame & Body Image
November 2004. What we think, hate, loathe and wonder about the acceptability of our bodies reaches much further and impacts far more than our appearance. The long reach of body shame can impact who and how we love, work, parent, communicate and build relationships.
By Brené Brown, PhD
Mothering and Feminism
MMO Editor Judith Stadtman Tucker reports on the
8th annual conference of the Association for Research on Mothering

November 2004. When the Association for Research on Mothering was founded at York University in 1998, it was the first and only research association in the world devoted to advancing scholarship on motherhood and mothering. Now, ARM provides an essential forum for discussion and dissemination of research on motherhood through its conferences and journals.
Is motherhood a class privilege in America?
An interview with historian Rickie Solinger, author of Beggars and Choosers

October 2004. “I have thought a lot about the limitations of 'choice' as women’s special guarantee. I worry about the consequences of this: the promise that women can decide for themselves whether and when to become mothers is expressed by the individualistic, market-place term, 'choice.' How can users of such a term avoid distinguishing, in consumer-culture fashion, between a woman who can and a woman who can’t afford to make a choice? I worry about what aspects of “rights” are masked or lost when the language of choice replaces the language of rights at the heart of women’s special guarantee.”
Introduction by Judith Stadtman Tucker
We Can’t Go Back But We Can’t Stay Here
A Call for a New Model for Working Mothers

September 2004. Perhaps we have been trying to fit a square peg into a round whole for a couple of decades now, and for most of us, it’s just too exhausting for words. Can I say that? Can I have a new revolution now?
By Kristin Teigen
Motherhood, shame and society
An interview with Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of Women & Shame

July/August 2004. “If you think about issues like work and motherhood, labor and delivery options, breastfeeding, disciplining and sleep strategies, we often stay quiet when we disagree or have alternative ideas or opinions and/or we say what we think we are supposed to say in order to not jeopardize our connection with other mothers and/or sometimes, we use shame in response to our own threatened feelings. Unfortunately, these strategies often move us deeper into shame.”
The face of homelessness
July/August 2004. “Although it was easy to find a job as a waitress on the coast of Maine during the summer, it wasn’t easy to afford and apartment or child care. Every night became a struggle to find a place to sleep—sometimes in a campground, but usually in the parking lot down by the ocean. My own oceanfront property, except that my house was a car.”
By Michelle Kennedy
Doing the math on earnings inequality
June 2004. A comprehensive analysis of earnings and occupational data from the U.S. Census 2000 reveals “there is a substantial gap in median earnings between men and women that is unexplained, even after controlling for work experience, education and occupation” and that higher education for women “contributes little toward equality between men’s and women’s median earnings.” Includes summary tables comparing men’s and women’s earnings in selected occupations.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker
Speaking out for teen moms
MMO interviews Deborah Davis, editor of You Look Too Young to be a Mom

June 2004. “Many of the young mothers I’ve heard from say that the greatest challenges they face are the negative attitudes and assumptions, nasty stares, and discrimination aimed at them by others... Other mothers have said it’s the lack of support, lack of information and resources, lack of positive role models, lack of respect, and lack of access to education.”
Motherhood in Black
MMO interviews Cecelie Berry, editor of
Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood

May 2004. “Black and white women are in comparable places and face many of the same dilemmas. But you wouldn’t know it. Why we are not framing the work/stay-at-home issues cross-culturally, to be inclusive of all women, is a question that I reflect on. I think it has something to do with the status of having choices being assumed, still, to be a ‘white’ thing.”
The Mommy Wars: The Case for a Cease Fire
May 2004. If we’re going to have a war, it should be on how society ignores caregiving roles and the people who fill them.
By Kim Pleticha
An interview with Jennifer James
Founder of Mommy Too! Magazine, the first full web magazine for mothers of color

April 2004. “The lack of mothers of color seen in parenting magazines and elsewhere in media and advertising was really the sole reason for starting Mommy Too! Magazine. I had to really ask myself some honest questions about how mothers of color, especially black mothers, are depicted in America. We’re really not seen as mothers at all, or if we are viewed as mothers we aren’t afforded the same treatment as other mothers.”
Family Values as Political Concept
April 2004. The rhetoric of “family values” is consistently used as a wedge in a larger effort to reduce women’s freedom and discourage gender equity.
By Louise Bishop

2004 National Women's History Month Feature:

Another Mothers’ Movement, 1890 to 1920
The role of women’s voluntary organizations in Progressive Era social reform

March 2004.
The long struggle to win the vote for women is only one example of the extraordinary fortitude of 19th century woman activists—even women who openly rejected the appeal for women’s suffrage were poised to expand their social influence beyond the boundaries of the domestic sphere.
By Judith Stadtman Tucker.

Dispatches from a not-so-perfect life
MMO interviews Faulkner Fox about her new book on
motherhood, feminism, and the search for the self

December 2003. “My take on new motherhood is basically this: It’s a time when you’re likely to be incredibly challenged, overwhelmed, and sleep-deprived. In a way, there’s no worse time to level a bunch of blame and guilt on a woman. And yet this, in my opinion, is precisely what our culture does. It kicks us when we’re down, so to speak. I simply wasn’t as interested, as a writer, in the ‘being down’ as I was in who was doing the kicking, why they were doing it, and how to make them stop.
The Rhetoric of Motherhood
December 2003. The language of mothering wipes out any recognition that it is actual women—real human beings with their own needs, interest and obligations—who mother.
By Abby Arnold
Social Security and Today’s Mother
What mothers don’t know about Social Security can hurt them

October 2003. In spite of the potential for huge financial impact, Social Security is rarely one of the host of factors families consider when making decisions about balancing work and family. For the sake of your family’s finances and your financial health in old age, it pays to understand how your work patterns will impact your benefits so you can consider both short-term and long-term impacts.
By Kristin Maschka
The mother and the magazine
Sociologists Deirdre Johnston and Debra Swanson discuss their recent research on the representation of mothers in popular magazines with the MMO

August 2003. “The expectations presented in the popular culture of magazines persist in presenting the “ideal American mother” as White, at-home, and removed from involvement in public issues. In effect, a traditional motherhood ideology is preserved, and those who fall outside of the “cult of good motherhood” – on the basis of race, employment status, or community involvement – are suspect.”
An interview with Enola Aird
The Director of the Motherhood Project at the Institute for American Values
shares her insights with the MMO

June 2003. “We recognize that some mothers will want to focus on mothers’ rights, some will want to devote their energies to addressing children’s needs, and others will prefer an approach that combines the two concerns. There is more than enough work for all of us.”
The brains behind Brain, Child Magazine
An interview with Jennifer Niesslein and Stephanie Wilkinson

May 2003. "I have this fixed idea that motherhood is the most misunderstood and/or misrepresented life role out there. There’s a fairly monolithic stereotype about what motherhood is like, and many books and magazines and advertisements just perpetuate it. And it’s just so easy to fall into cliches when we talk about mothering. But by offering real, in-depth, eloquently expressed stories about what it’s really like, maybe we can bring about more empathy, respect, understanding—maybe even affect some policies, who knows."
An interview with Janna Malamud Smith
MMO talks with the author of A Potent Spell: Mother Love and the Power of Fear

April 2003. "One way to undercut the power of any group is to obscure the truth of their experience. We typically think about that as a silencing of voices. You might say it’s against the interests of the dominant culture to let groups who are marginalized or oppressed own a vibrant language to describe their reality. Instead, we construct descriptions and expectations of motherhood based on ideologies and stereotypes that preserve the status quo. "

Everyday Acts of Resistance
Profiles of mothers and others who resist cultural stereotypes of motherhood
through small, meaningful acts

February 2004. An interview with Ann Allen, founder of the Feminist Mothers At Home newsgroup.

The Motherhood Papers

Random dispatches on motherhood, culture and politics by MMO editor Judith Stadtman Tucker

The writing on the wall
March 2007. The explosion of excellent media coverage on women and work-life issues, and what it means for the mothers' movement

The builders of new myths
Friedan, feminism and the future

March 2006. The task before us now is to decide what we wish to be free from, and how that liberty can best be achieved.

Why we need time to care:
The gap in U.S. family policy

October 2005. I've come to understand caregiving not only as a core social and economic issue, but also as a deeply ethical practice. Not because caring for others requires exceptional self-sacrifice -- under more equitable circumstances, it shouldn't -- but because caregiving is one of the few activities of contemporary life that routinely grounds us in our humanity.

Motherhood made me do it!
or, How I became an activist

September 2005. I have a pretty good idea of how I ended up here, but when I actually stop and think about it, it still surprises me. Because before I became a mother, I wasn't much of an activist, or even much of a feminist.

The New Future of Motherhood
May 2005. Mothers don’t “choose” their way into the motherhood problem, and we can’t choose our way out of it. So where do we go from here?

Doing Difference:
Motherhood, gender and the stories we live by

September 2004. Over the last decade, writers and researchers—from both pro- and anti-feminist camps—have attempted to tease out why the high-speed train to liberty, equality and justice for women has rusted onto the tracks at the half-way point. Conflicting theories abound, but most can be distilled down to a fairly simple formula: Is it nature or culture that continues to divide the fortunes of men and women—or some of each, and if so, how much and what should we do about it?

The least worst choice:
Why mothers “opt” out of the workforce

December 2003. Why don’t women run the world?” work-life columnist Lisa Belkin ponders in her cover story for the “New York Times” magazine. “Maybe it’s because they don’t want to.” Or maybe it’s because the world doesn’t want women running things.

Motherhood and its discontents:
Why mothers need a social movement of their own

April 2003. Some of the most prevalent concerns for mothers are workplace standards which create insurmountable obstacles to “balancing” paid work and care work, husbands and fathers who don’t pick up their fair share of the countless details and endless tasks of family life, and the dismal failure of public policy to address the basic needs of Americans with caregiving responsibilities. Mothers are beginning to realize that something in our society is badly out of whack, and it all boils down to the fact that — despite the tantalizing promise of the women’s rights movement — mothers are still held accountable for the heaviest burden of family care.

Morality or equality?
Maternal thinking and the social agenda

June 2003. Agitating for services and legislation to protect the health and safety of children and the world they will inherit is not only worthy -- it is necessary, particularly in a wealthy nation that has demonstrated an astonishing disregard for the welfare of its youngest citizens... But maternalist ideology also relies on the culture-bound assumption that the public and private actions of socially responsible mothers are in all ways care-driven and child-centric; this leaves little room for the acceptance of any alternative ideology that suggests the full and normal experience of motherhood involves much more than a preoccupation with tending and mending the world for someone else.

The care conundrum:
On motherhood, caregiving and equality

December 2002. Although we openly recognize the need for care as intrinsically human, and respect both giving and receiving care as a natural right, our society only attributes real value to the time, effort and resources devoted to market work. As a result, the social and economic importance of caregiving is severely underestimated in the public mind, and individuals who routinely provide care as part of their daily lives are presumed to be less productive — and are considered less socially and politically significant — than other active citizens.

For more great reading, visit the Essays and Books sections of The Mothers Movement Online.
Reuse of content for publication or compensation by permission only.
© 2003-2009 The Mothers Movement Online.


The Mothers Movement Online