The Wall between Women: The Conflict Between Stay-at-Home and Employed Mothers by Beth Brykman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Wall between Women: The Conflict Between Stay-at-Home and Employed Mothers

The Wall between Women: The Conflict Between Stay-at-Home and Employed Mothers

by Beth Brykman
     
 

Women today struggle to make difficult choices involving their children and their careers - so why do they simultaneously criticize, undermine, and point fingers at one another? Beth Brykman taps her personal experience as well as her professional marketing skills in crafting this well-researched look at the life-transforming issue that American mothers face.

Overview

Women today struggle to make difficult choices involving their children and their careers - so why do they simultaneously criticize, undermine, and point fingers at one another? Beth Brykman taps her personal experience as well as her professional marketing skills in crafting this well-researched look at the life-transforming issue that American mothers face. Having been both a full-time employed mother and a stay-at-home mom, Brykman interviewed more than one hundred mothers. She lets these women speak for themselves about the reality of their lives, their views of the "other" mother, and how they balance the pros and cons of motherhood.

Separate chapters examine the factors that create the wall between women, stereotypes of mothers on both sides of the wall, the lives and attitudes of full-time employed mothers versus mothers who choose to stay at home, working part-time, the reality of daycare, how different women determined what was right for them and their families, coparenting and suggestions for modifying marriages, and letting go of the emotional baggage of success and guilt, including suggestions for broad cultural change.

An appendix details her research methods, including questions she posed to each mother, and a useful bibliography that points readers to other resources.

Filled with revealing quotations and stories from mothers themselves, this insightful discussion of contemporary motherhood reveals the many challenges facing women and offers creative solutions for overcoming those challenges.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is so effective because it combines the two parts of life that Brykman has struggled to cultivate: She deftly applies her business experience to personal issues, tackling the delicate decisions of motherhood with both the strategy of an executive and the compassion of a seasoned parent. A uniquely unbiased look at the modern mother’s struggle for balance."
Kirkus Reviews

"[T]he most comprehensive of this year's books on the state of motherhood."
Los Angeles Times

"This is an important book, as it gracefully illustrates the unspoken conflict so many of us have experienced. Ultimately, Brykman emphasizes how we are more alike than we are different, with the message that we must overcome the guilt that engulfs women on both sides of the wall and make attempts to understand each other."
Ruth E. Levine, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch

"You can deny it or ignore it but the truth is...there is a wall and we all participate in building it. It's our time and place in this social evolution to stop the construction."
Candace Gantt, Happy Stay-at-Home Mother and Former Ritz Carlton Vice President

Publishers Weekly
Imagine a coffee klatch of upper-middle-class women with nuclear families, asked to discuss the barrier the author believes separates stay-at-home and employed mothers. Some might say there aren't problems because the two types of women's paths simply don't cross. Some might air grievances about the flextime or part-time work policies of their employers. Others might recount the demeaning remarks ("you stay home all day-what do you do with yourself?") made at cocktail parties by dressed-for-success career moms. Imagine a few more comments, and you can skip reading this tiresome pseudo-survey. Brykman, a mother who's worked in marketing, says she questioned some 100 moms about their feelings concerning this "wall" between women. She neither includes a copy of her survey nor describes how she located her contributors; and the book is rife with run-on sentences and grammatical errors. Still, Brykman's basic message-that women should define success for themselves, not feel guilty about it and be supportive of other women's choices-is a useful conclusion. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Brykman, who has been both a marketing executive and a stay-at-home mother, examines the barriers and hostility between mothers who work outside the home (a majority) and those who do not. Are stay-at-home mothers dimwitted, self-righteous, and lazy? Are employed mothers arrogant, selfish, and unkind to their children? Using market research techniques, Brykman formally interviewed 101 mothers and conversed with dozens more in an attempt to understand the barriers between these two groups. Using her study as the backdrop for this book, she explores such factors as education, insecurity, misperceptions, and schedules as well as the circumstances that lead women to their mothering and employment decisions, including day-care availability, career status, family and community support, and part-time work options. She then makes suggestions for breaking down the barriers by redefining success, abolishing guilt, and changing cultural perceptions. Although the many examples of women's lives, choices, and thoughts, with numerous quotations from those interviewed, add interest to the work, the text lacks drive, and Brykman's argument and commentary, with proposed solutions that range from dropping guilt to coparenting to broad cultural change, become repetitive. Recommended for some public libraries.-Erica Foley, Flint P.L., MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591023944
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
03/28/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.49(d)

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

Candace Gantt
Happy Stay-at-Home Mother Former Ritz Carlton VP of Corporate Worldwide Reservations
You can deny it or ignore it but the truth is...there is a wall and we all participate in building it. It's our time and place in this social evolution to stop the construction."
Alison
"The wall is most apparent when women find out that I am working; the warmth instantly goes away. Ninety-nine percent of them never even ask what I do."
Connecticut
Sally
"When people ask, 'What do you do?' the question makes me feel so small, that wall comes right up. Working moms ... make me feel like I have nothing to contribute just because I am not punching a time clock. I work; I just don't get paid for it. I raise twins"
North Carolina
Sharon Russo
Part-time Faux Artist
Somehow over the years, the choices which were supposed to liberate women actually tore them apart. Reading this book is the first step to breaching the Wall that separates full-time working moms and stay-at-home mothers, no matter which side of it you find yourself on.
Ruth E. Levine MD
MD, Professor of Psychiatry,University of Texas Medical Branch
This is an important book, as it gracefully illustrates the unspoken conflict so many of us have experienced. Ultimately, Brykman emphasizes how we are more alike than we are different, with the message that we must overcome the guilt that engulf women on both sides of the wall and make attempts to understand each other.
Adela Gondek
Columbia University
A candid approach to a provocative question. Women from all major regions of the USA address whether there is a Wall-both defensive and offensive-between at-the-office and at-home moms. Brykman reveals where the newly won choice of a woman’s place in meeting family obligations leads. Is the Wall permanent or permeable? A discussion so stimulating, you are drawn to continue it with those in your own life."

Meet the Author

Beth Brykman has been both a stay-at-home and full-time employed mother. She has held senior marketing positions at Kraft General Foods and the Pittsburgh Brewing Company; was in product management for Ralston Purina, HJ Heinz, and Frito-Lay; worked as a sales representative for Proctor and Gamble; and managed her own part-time marketing consultant business.

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