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

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 ...
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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.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591023944
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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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Table of Contents

1 Is there a wall? 15
2 The dynamics of the wall 27
3 The stereotypes : myths or reality? 37
4 The reality of being a full-time employed mother 43
5 The reality of being a stay-at-home mother 75
6 Part-time employment : utmost or dismal? 103
7 Daycare - it can make or break you 117
8 Shifting lifestyles 133
9 Why not co-parent? 149
10 Cultural change necessary 161
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    A wonderful insight into the conflict between moms

    The book does a wonderful job of reveiling somthing that has existed but not always recognized for a long time-The wall between stay at home moms and working moms.It was extremely interesting and insightful to explore the feelings of other moms who have experienced motherhood as a career woman and a stay-at-home mom. Brykman does a wonderful job getting candid answers from moms all over the country as to what they have experienced traveling through the journey of raising kids, socializing, and living the life of a mom who works versus stays home to raise her children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006

    Good read!

    This is a very insightful book. It was very enjoyable & easy to read. I look forward to talking about it with my friends. An excellent book for a book club to spark a lively discussion!

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    Posted December 12, 2009

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