New book tackles mommy wars and stay-at-home mothers

Partial cover of Stay-at-Home Mothers book

A new book by Demeter Press looks at the “mommy wars” and the discussion around stay-at-home mothers.

Edited by Elizabeth Reid Boyd and Gayle Letherby, Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates includes voices from around the world weighing in on why mothers still choose to stay home with their children.

Stay-at-Home Mothers book coverIn an interview by Demeter Press, Reid Boyd talked about the importance of the new collection and why she wanted to pull it together. “Stay-at-home mothers and the ‘mommy wars’ are a continuing phenomenon worldwide. Battle lines continue to be drawn. This book is an international edited collection that explores debates and issues surrounding mothers returning to/staying at home from a variety of countries and perspectives,” she said, adding the book is “an international exploration of mothers staying at home.”

What this global exploration does is open the door to different perspectives and a more robust discussion. Some of the questions addressed in the book, said Reid Boyd, are why mothers are still staying at home, which mothers are they, in which countries and under what conditions?

“What debates do they provoke? This is an international conversation we need to have. Only by listening to both sides will we be able to move forward,” she said.

As Julie Stephens of the College of Arts at Victoria University, says the book “explores with sensitivity and insight some of the deep cultural, personal and policy tensions around stay-at- home mothering. Elizabeth Reid Boyd and Gayle Letherby draw together contemporary social science research, media analyses and reflections on the lived experience of mothers. This book is distinguished by its openness, moving beyond familiar stereotypes and toward a different way of thinking about this important issue.”

Alison Bartlet, discipline chair, gender studies, at the University of Western Australia, says “This collection addresses an important sphere of debate about which everyone has an opinion and many have experience but rarely has it been the topic of thoughtful reflection and research. The conundrum of maternity in the present globalizing post-industrial neo-liberal world offers difficult dilemmas and often contradictory flows of emotion, ethics, and economics which impact us all. This volume goes some way to begin seriously addressing these quandaries, appealing to a range of subject positions and maternities.”

For Reid Boyd, the book is also an attempt to end the mommy wars that make mothering more difficult and often isolating.

For more information, visit the Demeter Press website.