When Mothers Work

Joan K. Peters, Author, Donada Peters, Author
Joan K. Peters, Author, Donada Peters, Author Perseus Books Group $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-201-12794-2
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7382-0028-6
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With this thought-provoking, tough-minded book, Peters, coauthor of Love, Honor, Negotiate, forcefully enters the polarized fray surrounding the topic of working mothers. She argues persuasively that ""mothers should work outside the home. If they do not, they cannot preserve their identities or raise children to have both independent and family lives."" But doing so requires a sea-change on the parts of fathers, who need to be more involved in child care, and American business, which needs to loosen its expectation of overlong hours. Mothers, too, need to change. Pointing out that there are more choices available than only the ""devoted mother"" or ""cold careerist"" modes, Peters suggests that mothers ""relinquish some of their personal responsibility for nurturing the young and demand that others--fathers, extended family, caregivers, the American workplace, and the government--take on more."" Weaving in recent research on the American family, Peters presents twelve families (including a gay couple and two single mothers) who display a variety of parenting attitudes and work/family juggling techniques. While her arguments may not change the minds of hardcore traditionalists who believe children are best raised by stay-at-home moms, Peters's well-supported stand on this emotionally charged issue demands thoughtful consideration. Author tour. (Sept.)
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