New PDF release: Chatterbox Annual

By J. Erskine Clarke

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Taking time off from a demanding profession could place them hopelessly behind their 34 Mother-Employers peers. 51 Some mother-employers, in addition to citing economic need, mentioned the importance of the stimulation and sense of self they gained from having a work life. Carol was the most vocal about the “right” to work, not out of economic need but because work was of inherent value to the self. Interestingly, she also had the least economic justification for working, since her salary represented only 15 percent of her family’s household income.

Much of the power of the cultural ideal of the good mother as omnipresent and personally responsible for all aspects of childrearing lies in the fact that, by definition, it cannot be tested. 22 Not surprisingly, first-time mothers were the most anxious, and those with flexible schedules or those who worked part-time were the least. All the mother-employers, though, worried that by deviating from the at-home norm, they risked being seen as bad mothers and therefore as having failed at one of the primary responsibilities of adult womanhood.

She was energetic, compliant, and completely in love with Sammy. But Jessica described feeling a “deep, deep hurt that even to this day, Sammy wants Anabel, or he wants Steve, and I’m third. And I worry. I feel like, ‘Is our relationship ever gonna recover from that? Is he ever gonna be more mommyoriented? ’ ” From her perspective, she was failing on two fronts. She was no longer the unencumbered worker that her male-pattern career demanded, and she felt she was not present enough in her son’s life to establish herself as his Mother-Employers 19 “primary attachment,” as the advice books she read told her she should.

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Chatterbox Annual by J. Erskine Clarke


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