American Mom: Motherhood, Politics, and Humble Pie

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Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994 - Family & Relationships - 291 pages
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It could be said that children make us prematurely wise, says journalist, essayist, author, and mother, Mary Kay Blakely. Her own hard-earned wisdom fills the pages of American Mom.

Blakely's raising of her two sons exactly coincided with the women's movement--a time in which the idea of what a mother should be was being challenged. In a world that was increasingly violent and chaotic--ravaged by AIDS, drug use, anorexia, and teenage suicide--she began to notice that just about all the commonly held notions of child-raising had to be rethought.

"I'd completely lost my bearings one year," she writes, "trying to follow potty training instructions from an expert who guaranteed success in three efficient days. I was stuck on step one, which stated, 'Before you begin, remove all stubbornness from the child.'"

Learning to question the advice of experts was just the beginning. After twenty years of raising boys, after years of teaching and writing about family and women's issues, Blakely clearly sees the connection between the personal and the political.

If motherhood kept her occupied with the most humbling details of life, it also delivered profound insights. "It is being someone's mother that makes us personalize every issue from sexual harassment to toxic waste," a friend reminded her. For so many years women have been dismissed for taking things personally--but maybe that's exactly how things whould be taken, she concludes.

In American Mom, Mary kay Blakely begins to reconcile the apron-clad, cookie-baking myth of motherhood with the realities of women's lives. The personal stories, from someone who has been in the trenches of motherhood herself, also chronicle the tumultuous social and political events of our times. With insight and irreverence, Blakely makes clear why she chose to break the rules when the rules no longer fit.

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AMERICAN MOM: On Motherhood, Politics and Humble Pie

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A memoir of a woman in progress, this volume describes the 20 years spent raising two sons to be sensitive, responsible, independent—and, hopefully, to pick up their socks. "Do you mistake me for ... Read full review

AMER MOM

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Aside from the great Murphy Brown debate, motherhood and politics are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Cultural reporter Blakely has woven these two subjects into an interesting collection of ... Read full review

Contents

The Mother
20
Two Just a Housewife
36
Three Becoming Outlaws
54
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Mary Kay Blakely's essays and articles on social and political issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, Life, and Mirabella. She is a contributing editor at both Ms. magazine and the L.A. Times Sunday Magazine. Author of the critically acclaimed memoir Wake Me When It's Over, Blakely lectures frequently to community groups and on college campuses. She is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and has been on the faculty of Indiana University / Purdue University and The New School for Social Research in New York City.

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