Mothers Work: Confronting the Mommy Wars, Raising Children and Working for Social Change by Sociology Professor Michelle Napierski-Prancl, Ph.D., was published in September by Lexington Books.
The ‘Mommy Wars’ refers to the socially-contrived division that pits mothers against each other over choices related to raising children, Napierski-Prancl said. “The Mommy Wars are a constant source of conversation, from whether you work in the paid labor force to if you breastfeed to diaper choices,” she continued. “All of these are conversations that the public has about moms. I wanted to talk to the moms and get their side of the story.”
Mothers Work emerged from several years of research and includes excerpts from focus groups Napierski-Prancl conducted, her analysis of how mothers are portrayed in media and popular culture and reflections on her own experiences.
“The Mommy Wars distract us and shift our attention toward the differences between mothers instead of shared experiences among mothers,” Napierski-Prancl said. “The objective of this book is to explore the lives of women living under the aura of the Mommy Wars. I hope it provides suggestions and pathways to create change.” She acknowledged that when mothers encounter the Mommy Wars, it stings, but emphasized that there are many more examples of mothers collaborating than there are stories about the ‘wars’ between mothers. “We need to recognize and honor that not only do mothers have a history of collaboration, but they have always been on the forefront of social change, from suffrage to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It only makes sense that mothers have the power to change the Mommy Wars as well.”
Napierski-Prancl teaches sociology and women’s studies courses, directs the Sociology program and was recently appointed as the academic director of the Women’s Institute established in Russell Sage College’s new strategic plan.