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The Mommy Mystique: The Anxiety of Modern Motherhood cover image

The Mommy Mystique: The Anxiety of Modern Motherhood 2006


Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by ABC News
Director n/a
DVD, color, 20 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Gender Studies, Parenting, Women's Studies

Date Entered: 07/13/2007

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

When Judith Warner’s book, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, was published, there was an explosive response by women who saw their lives mirrored in this book about the competitive lifestyle coupled with hectic pace that is American motherhood today. Upper and middle class young women who came of age in the ‘70s went to college and pursued careers rather than jobs. When they moved into parenting they found it harder than they expected. Society’s lack of support leaves most of them “on the edge” as they try to create children who can compete. They find middle class life harder to maintain—what used to be considered basics are now luxuries. Women drive themselves crazy trying to be perfect, getting their children from play dates to soccer to music lessons, trying to do it all.

Mocha mothers is the name given to women of color who stay at home to raise their children. They talk about the clash between what they expected and what they actually found. They grew up having always had equality, but now, as mothers, they find it extremely hard to balance everything. If they stay at home, then they feel they need to do everything—cooking, cleaning, total care of the children. They feel tremendous cultural pressures. They know how lucky they are, yet they struggle to remain centered. They try to be perfect in mothering just as they tried to be perfect in their careers.

Women generally agree that there still remains a difference in gender expectations. Even if they have a husband who helps share in parenting, they struggle with their own expectations: they want to be the person who reads their child a bedtime story every night, for example. Men, on the other hand, can give that up—fathers don’t have to do it all.

Technical aspects of audio and video are good. This news segment would be suitable for school and academic library collections with collections related to women’s studies, parenting. Recommended.