Join the Momasphere List
It's Free!


  Never miss an event!  

Blog Archive

 

 

Sponsors

 

   
   
   
« How Our Mothers' Work Ethic Shaped Us: Four Personal Stories | Main | Creative Outlets: Curious George Shows the Way »
Thursday
Apr292010

Momasphere Interviews Sharon Lerner, Author of The War On Moms: On Life in a Family Un-Friendly Nation

Momasphere recently caught up with award-winning journalist and author Sharon Lerner. Ms. Lerner’s new book, The War on Moms: On Life in a Family Un-Friendly Nation tells overworked, stressed-out American moms two things: that they're not alone, and they're not to blame.  According to Ms. Lerner, working and non-working American mothers are pressed for time and money, unable to find decent affordable childcare, and wracked with guilt at falling short of the mythic supermom ideal. In short, we have it harder today than they have in decades, and we’re worse off than many of our peers around the world. Momasphere will be hosting the author's first Brooklyn The War On Moms book launch, which will include a riveting panel discussion on Thurs, May 13.

 

Momasphere: You say in the introduction of the book, that in this country, women and families are under a ‘full-on attack.’ This problem is certainly not new. Was there a specific incident that propelled you to write this book?

Sharon Lerner: It was more of a gradual process. I knew I wanted to write about women, and I knew I didn’t want to rehash the same subjects, particularly the subject of whether we should work or stay home. It seemed to me that there were problems with both options, so I decided to look at the larger policy context that frames those options.

 

Momasphere: The stories you share are indeed heart-wrenching. How did you find your subjects?

Sharon Lerner:  story within the larger story. So, for the chapter on childcare, for example, I read about the issue and then chose to write about people on the waiting lists for subsidized childcare. Within that, I chose Florida because that state had a particularly long waiting list. Then I sought out the organizations that maintained the waiting lists and asked for their help contacting people who were waiting for childcare subsidies. Then I went to Florida and visited a bunch of those people, spending time with them and their children. I took similar approaches with different chapters, seeking out individuals as a way of understanding and explaining larger problems.

 

Momasphere: Here in Park Slope, Brooklyn there is a perceived ‘war’ between stay-at-home moms, and working moms that often gets played out in the playground or PA Boards. In the book, you explain how this conflict has more to do with outside forces than the women’s animosity for one another.  Can you talk a little bit about this?

Sharon Lerner: There’s been so much talk about the “mommy wars.” But, judging from the many women I’ve interviewed and my own personal experience in both of these supposed “opposing camps,” it seems that most mothers want the same things: to be able to take care of their children and also have income. Certainly, some of us are more interested in careers than others. But, given how much we have in common, the idea that the biggest threat to mothers comes from another group of mothers strikes me as absurd. Taking a step back from it all, it became clear to me that one of the biggest problems we face is a lack of decent part-time work options, which leaves many women with the choice of two inadequate options: either to work more than they’d like or not at all.

 

Momasphere: Our current President is the father of two young girls, was raised by a single,

working mother and has had the good fortune of seeing how essential maternal grandparents are, for added support. He no doubt understands first-hand the struggles of working families, particularly working mothers. Given how difficult it was to pass the healthcare initiative and the current financial climate, do you think this administration will be able to make a difference in this area? Why or why not?

Sharon Lerner: I certainly hope the Obama administration will be able to make a difference in these areas. Already, there are hopeful signs. First off, the health care law will do much to help women, not just in securing them access to care but also in freeing up some people who were tied to full-time jobs because of the health benefits and can now get them in other ways. The White House just convened a task force on flexible work, which is promising. And there were little nuggets in the 2011 budget, which hasn’t passed yet, that showed that child care is on the president’s radar. The economic crisis means that we can’t expect all the progress we might see otherwise, but I’m hopeful.

 

Momasphere: The chapter that describes the social systems in other countries can make any working American mom drool. If you had a niece or friend who had an opportunity to live and work abroad, which country would you recommend?

Sharon Lerner: It depends on how long they were going to stay, since some of the benefits you’re talking about are reserved for citizens. Still, it’s fun to fantasize about taking the year-and-a-half of partially paid leave that Sweden offers, especially since that’s followed by the option of working part-time until your child is eight. Eight! Another situation that I find very appealing is the part-time economy that The Netherlands has built. Because you can reduce the hours of pretty much any job, in many families there, both parents work part-time while the children are young. From what I saw, that made for a pretty sane and reasonable way of life.

Momasphere: You have been writing about this for many years, but I guess the book allowed you to really focus on the topic more intensively. Were there any surprises for you?

Sharon Lerner: I was struck by how easy it was to find people with stories to tell. So many people have faced difficulties staying afloat while caring for their families. It’s one of those subjects on which almost everyone has something to contribute.

 

Momasphere: There are so many issues: paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, and a real system of affordable, quality child care, just to name a few. It will be difficult to address all of them at once. If you had to start with one, which would you recommend?  

Sharon Lerner: I really don’t want to choose. But I’ll say this: paid leave is pretty straightforward. Given that almost every other country in the world has figured out how to get women some guaranteed paid time off after having a child, I’m confident we can do it out, too.

 

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: mulberry sale
    [...]Momasphere > Whole Women Make Whole Moms - Momasphere Blog - Momasphere Interviews Sharon Lerner, Author of The War On Moms: On Life in a Family Un-Friendly Nation[...]

Reader Comments (4)

As one of the major elements in the clutch system,clutch pressure plate play a vital role in car operation as well as the turbo charger. And the clutch cover is also an important clutch component.Cylinder gasket and engine mounting are both essential part in automotive systems which are critical to car moving. Brake sensor is a main part of the braking system. And tie rod end is what can connect the important auto parts.

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterturbo charger

"Authorized the joint to the scene to a the north face is." A protoss who still knew it puzzling said.Next to the quick response of the protoss to immediately think of a problem. " true religion brand jeans, the north face Russia protoss forgot. Although most the the north face, but start a ring of commandments commandments when running even if one party does not give permission could not be started??Listening to that guy a explained, all God finally is are reaction came has. had to prevent a party abuse commandments of ring,

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrue religion jeans cheap

<h1>nfl jerseys suppliers</h1> your style
<h1>wholesale coach bags</h1> best choice to buy
<h1>coach outlet</h1> Happy rules
<h1>coach outlet store</h1> Fashion leisure new
<h1>wholesale designer handbags</h1> Cheap and fine
<h1>coach handbags outlet</h1> supply the products
<h1>cheap coach</h1> for cheap
<h1>coach outlet store</h1> real Bull New
<h1>coach handbag outlet</h1> very substantial
<h1>authentic nfl jerseys</h1> Unique style
<h1>cheap authentic nfl jerseys</h1> The wave

December 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfdgdfg

Mulberry Handbags has become the first line of the brand Mulberry Bags, and their success is not measured in Mulberry UK action, Mulberry Sale has had a long investigation and analysis, continuous Mulberry Handbags Sale improvement and enrichment has Mulberry Bags UK a huge trend Mulberry Alexa in the world as the most representative and Mulberry Bayswater critical success factors that Mulberry Clutch Bags pattern bags may not interchangeable, other Mulberry Cross Body Bags, and there's no doubt about Mulberry Hobo. Monogram bag has a recognizable Mulberry Shoulder Bags pattern combinations initials Mulberry Messenger Bags and floral patterns, everyone knows Light-Grey Mulberry Bayswater Anthracite Ostrich Holdalls Bag change that difference, regardless of the Mulberry Daria Clutch Purse Black and no matter what happens, Mulberry Slim Brynmore in Navy Smooth Touch is important to be ignored, and although there are a variety of styles, patterns Mulberry Handbags Charm Roomy Dark Orange is still the center of the design Mulberry Daria Soft Leather Cross Body Bag Purple that will be mainly divided into several obvious reasons.
<p>Own more than 100 years history, Mulberry Bag is most people’s favorite for it’s real leather material and exterior originality. Fashion mulberry design with more pockets, buckles and more beautiful with practical with rivets, make the mulberry popularity worldwide. Specialized in the leather, forged by masterly craft, Mulberry Factory Shop sale Mulberry Handbags, Mulberry Alexa,Bags, Mulberry Bayswater Bags, Mulberry Clutch Bags, Mulberry Purse, Mulberry Hobo Bags,etc. Top quality Mulberry sale in the Mulberry UK Shop, combined with the practical, creating original and leather tactility, Mulberry Handbags UK try to be unique creative design. Full collection of Mulberry Bags with different leather materials and sizes in the Mulberry Bag online shop, mulberry calf leather bags, mulberry ostrich leather bags, mulberry buffalo leather bags,etc. Mulberry oversized, Mulberry big size, Mulberry small size,etc. Welcome to our store, mulberry outlet all kinds of high quality mulberry bags to you, free shipping! </p>
<p>To find a suitable handbags is very important to people’s image, and where to find the most suitable bag to enhance self image? Mulberry Factory shop have full collection of Mulberry Bags let you choose. Luxury British top brand Mulberry own more than 100 years history and has long been recognized for its highly crafted fine leather goods. Use different materials design various Mulberry Bags to meet different people’s need, mulberry calf leather bags, mulberry patent leather bags, Mulberry Buffalo leather bags, Mulberry ostrich leather bags,etc. From oversized mulberry bags to small size mulberry bags, Mulberry Bags are very popular around the world. All kinds of Mulberry leather Bags with stylish style and fashion season, Mulberry Alexa Bags , Mulberry Bayswater Bags , Mulberry Mitzy Hobo , Mulberry Clutch Bags , Mulberry Handbags , Mulberry Mens Bags ,etc. Mulberry bag always keep pace with the trends of the times, so take mulberry leather bag will let you never out of date. </p>
<p> </p>

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterqiulin

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>