Kay Hymowitz writes about Caitlin Flanagan’s book, To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife, in City Journal. Is it possible to make peace in the Mommy wars?
What Flanagan might have better underscored is that her real subject is not The Question: To Work Or Not To Work. It is love. Flanagan had a fierce devotion to her own mother, whose presence haunts the book. She experienced in her mother’s pot roasts and freshly ironed laundry the embodiment of comfort, safety, and love. Despite Flanagan’s deficiencies in the domestic arts, it’s a feeling she badly wants to bring to her own family. What this talented writer reminds us of are two simple truths that are apostasy to the fundamentalists and, sadly, lost to many young women who never saw them in action: that when working properly, satisfying domestic life can embody a mother’s love for her children, the most powerful love there is; and that no matter how women choose to live, this love will forever be entangled with self-sacrifice.
All the women’s books seem to be written by upper-middle-class women who have a wide range of career and nanny-hiring choices.