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Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

by

Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A lively and provocative look at the modern culture of motherhood and at the social, economic, and political forces that shaped current ideas about parenting.

What is wrong with this picture? That's the question Judith Warner asks after taking a good, hard look at the world of modern motherhood — at anxious women at work and at home and in bed with unhappy husbands.

When Warner had her first child, she was living in Paris, where parents routinely left their children home, with state-subsidized nannies, to join friends in the evening for dinner or to go on dates with their husbands. When she returned to the States, she was stunned by the cultural differences she found toward parenting — in particular, assumptions about motherhood. None of the mothers she met seemed happy: Instead, they worried about the possibility of not having the perfect child, panicking as each developmental benchmark approached.

Combining close readings of mainstream magazines, TV shows, and pop culture with a thorough command of dominant ideas in recent psychological, social, and economic theory, Perfect Madness addresses our cultural assumptions, and examines the forces that have shaped them.

Working in the tradition of classics like Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism, and with an awareness of a readership that turned recent hits like The Bitch in the House and Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It into bestsellers, Warner offers a context in which to understand the way we live, as well as ways of imagining alternatives — actual concrete changes — that might better our lives.

Review:

"For Warner, coauthor of Howard Dean's You Have the Power, the phrase 'overinvolved parenting' accurately describes the mess we're in. In the modern culture of motherhood, Warner says, mothers feel constant pressure to 'facilitate' for their kids, to 'be doing something with or for them.' She describes how she practically turned herself into a 'human television set' with 24-hour-a-day programming to entertain her own newborn. Once we finish (over)stimulating our infants, she explains, we start testing our toddlers to determine if there are subtle developmental delays that could be remedied with 'occupational therapy,' since the best schools only take perfect children. Micromanaging our children feels right, because modern women like getting things 'under control,' and since they often haven't got much control over their own lives, they obsess over their children's lives. No surprise, then, that they frequently produce spoiled, academically precocious children who lack even minimal social graces. Warner argues for a saner society, where everyone would have access to a decent living and enough family time for themselves and their children. People could still 'choose' fast-lane careers demanding 80-hour work weeks, but why not design our social policy for the majority, who don't have those options? Warner is better at describing the problem than detailing the solution, but a similar imbalance didn't stop Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique from making waves. Agent, Lisa Grubka. (Feb. 17) Forecast: If Warner gets enough publicity, her clever book could sell well. Its subject has been popular lately, with articles appearing in New York Magazine and elsewhere." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Warner presents the comprehensive and entertaining social history of parenting.

Synopsis:

A lively and provocative look at the modern culture of motherhood and at the social, economic, and political forces that shaped current ideas about parenting

What is wrong with this picture? That's the question Judith Warner asks in this national bestseller after taking a good, hard look at the world of modern parenting--at anxious women at work and at home and in bed with unhappy husbands.

When Warner had her first child, she was living in Paris, where parents routinely left their children home, with state-subsidized nannies, to join friends in the evening for dinner or to go on dates with their husbands. When she returned to the States, she was stunned by the cultural differences she found toward how people think about effective parenting--in particular, assumptions about motherhood. None of the mothers she met seemed happy; instead, they worried about the possibility of not having the perfect child, panicking as each developmental benchmark approached.

Combining close readings of mainstream magazines, TV shows, and pop culture with a thorough command of dominant ideas in recent psychological, social, and economic theory, Perfect Madness addresses our cultural assumptions, and examines the forces that have shaped them.

Working in the tradition of classics like Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism, and with an awareness of a readership that turned recent hits like The Bitch in the House and Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It into bestsellers, Warner offers a context in which to understand parenting culture and the way we live, as well as ways of imagining alternatives--actual concrete changes--that might better our lives.

Synopsis:

Be sure to visit the official Web site at perfectmadness.net!

The paradigm-shattering bestseller that investigates how women have fallen into the trap of "total motherhood," and how that mind-set damages them and their relationships with their husbands and children.

Manic cookie-baking at midnight. Play dates as complicated as peace summits. Mother-of-the-birthday-boy meltdown. Ambien nights and Ritalin days. No sex. No nights out. No sleep. Ever. It's madness. Now, in one of the most controversial books of the year, Judith Warner blows the lid off American mothers dirty little secret by interviewing those American mothers across the country to try to better understand what's wrong with the culture of American parenting.

About the Author

Judith Warner writes about women's issues and politics for The New Republic and Elle magazine. She is the author of Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story and coauthor of books about Grace Mirabella and Newt Gingrich. A former special correspondent for Newsweek in Paris, Warner lives with her husband and their two small children.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Mommy Mystique

Preface: "This Mess"

1. Introduction: The Mommy Mystique

2. The New Problem That Has No Name

Part II: The Motherhood Religion

3. The Sacrificial Mother

4. Selfish Mothers, Forsaken Children

5. Millennial Motherhood

6. The Motherhood Religion

Part III: Ourselves, As Mothers

7. A Generation of Control Freaks

8. Running Scared

9. Winner-Take-All Parenting

10. Wonderful Husbands

11. For a Politics of Quality of Life

12. Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573223041
Subtitle:
Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
Author:
Warner, Judith
Publisher:
Riverhead Trade
Subject:
Sociology - Marriage & Family
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Parenting - General
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Parenting - Motherhood
Subject:
Motherhood
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060207
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.46x6.30x1.15 in. 1.19 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Mothering

Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573223041 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "For Warner, coauthor of Howard Dean's You Have the Power, the phrase 'overinvolved parenting' accurately describes the mess we're in. In the modern culture of motherhood, Warner says, mothers feel constant pressure to 'facilitate' for their kids, to 'be doing something with or for them.' She describes how she practically turned herself into a 'human television set' with 24-hour-a-day programming to entertain her own newborn. Once we finish (over)stimulating our infants, she explains, we start testing our toddlers to determine if there are subtle developmental delays that could be remedied with 'occupational therapy,' since the best schools only take perfect children. Micromanaging our children feels right, because modern women like getting things 'under control,' and since they often haven't got much control over their own lives, they obsess over their children's lives. No surprise, then, that they frequently produce spoiled, academically precocious children who lack even minimal social graces. Warner argues for a saner society, where everyone would have access to a decent living and enough family time for themselves and their children. People could still 'choose' fast-lane careers demanding 80-hour work weeks, but why not design our social policy for the majority, who don't have those options? Warner is better at describing the problem than detailing the solution, but a similar imbalance didn't stop Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique from making waves. Agent, Lisa Grubka. (Feb. 17) Forecast: If Warner gets enough publicity, her clever book could sell well. Its subject has been popular lately, with articles appearing in New York Magazine and elsewhere." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Warner presents the comprehensive and entertaining social history of parenting.
"Synopsis" by ,
A lively and provocative look at the modern culture of motherhood and at the social, economic, and political forces that shaped current ideas about parenting

What is wrong with this picture? That's the question Judith Warner asks in this national bestseller after taking a good, hard look at the world of modern parenting--at anxious women at work and at home and in bed with unhappy husbands.

When Warner had her first child, she was living in Paris, where parents routinely left their children home, with state-subsidized nannies, to join friends in the evening for dinner or to go on dates with their husbands. When she returned to the States, she was stunned by the cultural differences she found toward how people think about effective parenting--in particular, assumptions about motherhood. None of the mothers she met seemed happy; instead, they worried about the possibility of not having the perfect child, panicking as each developmental benchmark approached.

Combining close readings of mainstream magazines, TV shows, and pop culture with a thorough command of dominant ideas in recent psychological, social, and economic theory, Perfect Madness addresses our cultural assumptions, and examines the forces that have shaped them.

Working in the tradition of classics like Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism, and with an awareness of a readership that turned recent hits like The Bitch in the House and Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It into bestsellers, Warner offers a context in which to understand parenting culture and the way we live, as well as ways of imagining alternatives--actual concrete changes--that might better our lives.

"Synopsis" by ,
Be sure to visit the official Web site at perfectmadness.net!

The paradigm-shattering bestseller that investigates how women have fallen into the trap of "total motherhood," and how that mind-set damages them and their relationships with their husbands and children.

Manic cookie-baking at midnight. Play dates as complicated as peace summits. Mother-of-the-birthday-boy meltdown. Ambien nights and Ritalin days. No sex. No nights out. No sleep. Ever. It's madness. Now, in one of the most controversial books of the year, Judith Warner blows the lid off American mothers dirty little secret by interviewing those American mothers across the country to try to better understand what's wrong with the culture of American parenting.

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