Price of Motherhood

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Overview

In the pathbreaking tradition of Backlash and The Second Shift, this provocative book shows how mothers are systematically disadvantaged and made dependent by a society that exploits those who perform its most critical work. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and the most current research in economics, history, child development, and law, Ann Crittenden proves that although women have been liberated, mothers have not.

The costs of motherhood are everywhere apparent. ...

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New York, NY 2002 Trade paperback New. BRAND NEW. Excellent condition. Never read or opened. May have remainder mark. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 336 p. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In the pathbreaking tradition of Backlash and The Second Shift, this provocative book shows how mothers are systematically disadvantaged and made dependent by a society that exploits those who perform its most critical work. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and the most current research in economics, history, child development, and law, Ann Crittenden proves that although women have been liberated, mothers have not.

The costs of motherhood are everywhere apparent. College-educated women pay a "mommy tax" of over a million dollars in lost income when they have a child. Family law deprives mothers of financial equality in marriage. Stay-at-home mothers and their work are left out of the GDP, the labor force, and the social safety net. With passion and clarity, Crittenden demonstrates that proper rewards for mothers' essential contributions would only enhance the general welfare.

Bold, galvanizing, full of innovative solutions, The Price of Motherhood offers a much-needed accounting of the price that mothers pay for performing the most important job in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This stunning read addresses the harsh reality of a society that, while glorifying motherhood in theory, relegates mothers to second-class status. In fact, the author identifies motherhood as the "single biggest risk factor for poverty in old age," a chilling assertion. With a mix of outrage and sensibility, Crittenden pinpoints the failings of society toward mothers and offers suggestions for improved treatment of this marginalized sector.
From the Publisher
"Written with a fine passion, The Price of Motherhood challenges the received ideas of economists, feminists and conservatives alike and ought to be read by all of them."-Paul Starr, The New York Times Book Review

"A bracing call to arms...Crittenden rows against the ideological current and has the temerity to suggest a mind-blowingly sensible alteration of America's present parenting arrangements."-Ben Dickinson, Elle

"Fascinating...shows how women have been consistently denied social and, more importantly, monetary equality for raising their families."-Susan Straight, Los Angeles Times

"A scathing indictment of policies that cheat mothers...Crittenden turns out a fresh, persuasive argument. Sure to inspire vigorous debate."-Megan Rutherford, Time

"Powerful and important"—The New York Times

Paul Starr
Written with a fine passion and at times a biting wit, it challenges the received ideas of economists, feminists and conservatives alike . . . As informative and engaging in its details as it is compelling in its overall argument.
New York Times Book Review
Susan Straight
Fascinating . . . shows how women have been consistently denied social and, more importantly, monetary equality for raising their families. —Los Angeles Times
Paul Starr
. . . challenges the received ideas of economists, feminists and conservatives alike and ought to be read by all of them. —The New York Times Book Review
Ben Dickinson
A bracing call to arms . . . a mind-blowingly sensible alteration of America's present parenting arrangements. —Elle
Megan Rutherford
A scathing indictment of policies that cheat mothers . . . Crittenden turns out a fresh, persuasive argument. Sure to inspire vigorous debate. —Time
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Americans extol motherhood as "the most important job in the world," yet when couples divorce, mothers' and their children's standards of living usually decline precipitously, while fathers' rise. Crittenden, a former economics reporter for the New York Times, lays out the going rate for a woman's time: "$150 an hour or more as a professional, $50 an hour or more in some businesses, $15 an hour or so as a teacher, $5 to $8 an hour as a day-care worker and zero as a mother." Mothers (whose labor is not calculated in any official economic index) have no unemployment insurance to tide them over after divorce, no workers' compensation if they're injured and no Social Security benefits for the work they do, although a housekeeper or nanny paid for the same work would earn such benefits. In a breezy, journalistic style, Crittenden chronicles how the Industrial Revolution created the idea of the "unproductive housewife," how this concept penalizes women after divorce and how tax policies encourage mothers to quit work. Crittenden proposes several remedies, some available in most industrialized countries (paid maternity leave, flexible work hours for parents, universal preschool, free health coverage for children) and others seemingly utopian (Social Security credits for mothering, remedying the tax bias against married working mothers). This thoroughly documented and incisive book is must reading for women contemplating parenthood or divorce, and could prove an organizing tool for women's organizations. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Crittenden (Killing the Sacred Cows: Bold Ideas for a New Economy) draws upon hundreds of interviews to illustrate the irony of American society's praise of the "profession" of maternal love/care while undervaluing and exploiting mothers. Even as late as 1995, "married working mothers in the United States with children earned half of what their husbands earned." These economic dependents have been paying the dreaded "mommy tax": lost income (more than $1 million) owing to the "wages foregone by the primary parent." Obviously, well-educated, high-income individuals are the most severely penalized. This exemplary book covers the economic myths of motherhood through the stark testimonies of childcare hardships and financial inequality in marriage: "The pay $580 a month was barely enough to cover the bills for a family of four, but not enough for decent day care .Her ex-husband never paid a nickel in child support." A wonderful resource for students of economics, women's studies, politics, and for parents-to-be, this book should be a wake-up call to America. Kay Meredith Dusheck, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805066197
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Crittenden is the author of Killing the Sacred Cows: Bold Ideas for a New Economy. A former reporter for The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, she has also been a financial writer for Newsweek, a visiting lecturer at M.I.T. and Yale, and an economics commentator on CBS News. Her articles have appeared in Fortune, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, McCalls, and Working Woman, among others. She lives with her husband and son in Washington, D.C.

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Read an Excerpt

A newspaper reporter told me that his wife used to be his boss before she quit to raise their two children. She now makes one-fourth of his salary, working as a part-time consultant. "It was her choice," he says.

But mothers' choices are not made in a vacuum. They are made according to rules mothers didn't write. Married working mothers pay the highest taxes in the country on their earned income, which powerfully affects their choice of whether to work or not. And what many mothers really want is a good part-time job, yet there is no rich and vibrant part-time labor market in the United States.

To most women choice is all about bad options and difficult decisions: your child or your profession; taking on the domestic chores or marital strife; a good night's sleep or time with your child; food on the table or your baby's safety; your right arm or your left.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ..... 1
1: Where We Are Now ..... 13
2: A Conspiracy of Silence ..... 28
3: How Mothers' Work Was "Disappeared": The Invention of the Unproductive Housewife ..... 45
4: The Truly Invisible Hand ..... 65
5: The Mommy Tax ..... 87
6: The Dark Little Secret of Family Life ..... 110
7: What Is a Wife Worth? ..... 131
8: Who Really Owns the Family Wage? ..... 149
9: Who Pays for the Kids? ..... 162
10: The Welfare State Versus a Caring State ..... 186
11: The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love ..... 202
12: An Accident Waiting to Happen ..... 218
13: "It Was Her Choice" ..... 233
Conclusion: How to Bring Children Up Without Putting Women Down 256 Notes ..... 275
Acknowledgments ..... 305
Index ..... 309
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Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about The Price of Motherhood are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach The Price of Motherhood.

About the Book

In the pathbreaking tradition of Backlash and The Second Shift, this provocative book shows how mothers are systematically disadvantaged and made dependent by a society that exploits those who perform its most critical work. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and research in economics, history, child development, and law, Ann Crittenden proves definitively that although women have been liberated, mothers have not.

Bold, galvanizing, and full of innovative solutions, The Price of Motherhood was listed by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Top Ten Feminist Literary Works since the publication of Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique. This "bracing call to arms" (Elle) offers a much-needed accounting of the price that mothers pay for performing the most important job in the world.

About the Author

Ann Crittenden is the author of Killing the Sacred Cows: Bold Ideas for a New Economy. A former reporter for The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, she has also been a financial writer for Newsweek, a visiting lecturer at M.I.T. and Yale, and an economics commentator on CBS News. Her articles have appeared in Fortune, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, McCalls, and Working Woman, among others. She lives with her husband and son in Washington, D.C.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Good title for the information provided.

    This book was purchased for a college research paper, and although I did not use all of it, I did quote some of the topics. The book is very interesting and every mother should read this book. It repeats the premise in modern times of the worth of the mother, and her what happens to her career. Great topic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2003

    Great book! Read it!

    This book tells it like it is. When women become mothers, there are great rewards, but also great costs. Our society puts most of those costs on mothers, to the detriment of the children, women, and society itself. This book is important reading for all parents, women, and policy makers in government and business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    Socialism not the answer - from a responsible mom

    This book is about creating a socialist society which takes away individual responsibility. Single parent families are NOT good for kids even if there is enough money. A better route is to enliven and educate people about healthy relationships, esp. male and female ones to create working marraiges...AND to get info. out about what makes a HEALTHY family. Also helpful would be disseminating info. about saving for the future before having kids, etc. The government's role in all this is to LOWER all taxes so FAMILIES can use their earnings for themselves and chosen charities. If the gov. would stop taking away so much of our paychecks, more moms could stay at home!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2002

    What my mother always tried to tell me...

    My experience first as a daughter watching her mother struggle, then as mother of three of her own sons bears witness to the correct application of every economic idea and principle the author discusses. Amy Crittenden does not suggest that women NOT bear and raise children, but that women consider those costs--as the vast majority of those costs will be set squarely on women's shoulders by men and society. Crittenden provides an accounting of the costs of motherhood with which her readers may easily determine their own opinions. She also gives examples of how other nations have taken steps to reconsider the value and the price of motherhood. Crittenden's assertions do not entertain gender or economic bias, which make this clear, concise book a most sane read. Every student, but especially women students need to encounter this book in curriculum somewhere between junior high and college--but preferably receive it from the hands of her own mother or father first. This book would be excellent reading for every sociology, business, and economics major...

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