Cover image for A mother's place : taking the debate about working mothers beyond guilt and blame
A mother's place : taking the debate about working mothers beyond guilt and blame
Chira, Susan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [1998]

Physical Description:
xviii, 318 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ759.48 .C48 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Mothers all across America are caught in a maelstrom of guilt and anxiety, torn between their devotion to their children and their fears about economic security. A Mother's Place , written by a leading New York Times journalist and mother of two, is the book they have been waiting to read -- one that exposes the backlash against working mothers in our culture yet acknowledges their own ambivalence about the new lives they are leading.

Evolving from a series of front-page articles Susan Chira wrote for the New York Times , A Mother's Place leads all mothers to safe ground. Drawing on her own experience as a mother and worker, and on interviews with dozens of mothers across the country, Chira writes with passion and compassion about motherhood in the nineties. A Mother's Place is at once a devestating expose of the distortions that have wrongfully convinced many women that good mothers stay at home, and an engaging personal account of how women can rewrite the rules of motherhood and defy the experts by striking the balance that best suits them and their children. Controversial, hard-hitting yet written in a warm and accessible style, A Mother's Place speaks to mothers across the country. Whenever working mothers pick up a newspaper or magazine, they hear how their neglect is producing a society of emotionally damaged, even criminal, youth. Chira reviews the latest scientific research to show that children of working mothers turn out just as well as those raised by mothers at home. She shows how the media, the courts and politicans have distorted this data to suit their own agendas. The reality that most experts have chosen to ignore is how much a mother's happiness, satisfaction and emotional state affect her child. Chira argues that society is trapped in the wrong debate, because whether or not a woman works is not a principal factor in determing how good a mother she is. She presents a new vision of motherhood, one that offers reassurance while insisting that all of us -- mothers, fathers and society -- fulfill our obligations to our children.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Chira, deputy foreign editor for the New York Times, here confronts the cultural image of the Good Mother, the archetypical American homemaker of the 1950s and 1960s who, in the 1990s, when more than half of all mothers with children under the age of one work outside the home, is hard to find. Chira, the mother of two school-age children, notes that she works outside the home by choice, and she attacks the "mother blaming" for children's maladjustments that can be found in contemporary writings about child-rearing. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, family court judges and the religious right receive the back of Chira's hand for ignoring evidence that working outside the home has little effect on children if mothers are sensitive to their offspring's needs, provide proper care and supervision and, importantly, are themselves content. Some research suggests that children in quality daycare score higher academically, socially and behaviorally than those who spend their early years at home, stresses the author. Among her proposals to aid working mothers are better training for daycare teachers (France, for example, requires five years), more participation by fathers in child rearing, a year's parental leave at a lower salary after childbirth or adoption and job options such as flextime and part-time hours. Chira's forcefully argued, well-documented book provides an important perspective to the debate. First serial to Glamour. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved