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Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood [Paperback]

Samantha Parent Walravens

Price: CDN$ 21.18 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

April 1 2011
Real Mothers. Real Careers. Real Conflict.

Striking the right balance between career and motherhood is one of the most stressful, heart-wrenching tasks facing women today. In Torn, forty-six women examine the conflict between the need to nurture and the need to work, and reveal creative solutions for having the best of both worlds. The stories in the collection offer hope and inspiration, but they also reveal the messy realities of modern motherhood and life's inevitable crises, both small and large: from breast pump mishaps to battles with cancer; diaper blowouts to debilitating depression; competitive cupcake baking to coming home from war. In the end, the reader can take comfort in the knowledge that there is no perfect mother; nor is there a perfect balance when it comes to kids and career. The real challenge facing women today is not juggling their many roles, but realigning their expectations of what is possible and accepting that success does not equal doing it all.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Coffeetown Press (April 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603810978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603810975
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #480,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you for this book July 12 2011
By Jenfy - Published on
I want to start out by saying that I have read the book (cover to cover) and all the reviews. I picked this book up (well, downloaded it really) after a particularly bad day at work topped off by a particularly bad evening listening to several SAHMs at a local park - where I live, many SAHMs also have full or part time nannies, weekly/daily house cleaners, and, in some cases, personal food services or personal chefs. I needed to find something to validate my experience of motherhood and my constant struggle everyday to hold it together.

I appreciated the essays from all the women who contributed and I found something in almost each essay I could identify with. The essay writers are honest, sometime brutally. I can understand how some reviewers might have the impression that the writers do not really care/love their children. However, I think that impression might come from a misinterpretation of the point of the book. The essays were not suppose to be about children and raising children, the essays are about women and their struggles as employees, wives, women, individuals, and yes as moms. These essays were about each woman as an individual, as a person who also happens to have the title of "mother", struggling to make it all work out. To me, that the essays did not reveal loving prose about balancing babies, dinner, and 6 a.m conference calls, did not provide soft-focus mental images of frolicking families, breastfeeding bliss, and last minute flights to Chicago for a meeting, nor some annoying, sparkly ticker tape at the end of each with peapod graphics listing "mom to special child #1 and #2, loving partner of..., employee of the year at...blah, blah, blah" was not a loss. These were essays from the trenches of each author's life - the times when all is not neatly summed up in a weekly baby magazine email bulletin. While I am a mom, I am still an autonomous person and it is nice to read stories about mothers, by mothers that don't focus just on children and being a mom.

This book is a good read for women of my generation (born in 1970 for reference) or younger, raised after the women's movement had taken hold - told that we need careers to find purpose in life - told we could have it all. I was told that I would find a career I loved and a husband and kids would follow effortlessly. No one ever told me that having kids could change me so profoundly - make my career seem so meaningless. No one ever told me that I might want and might enjoy (gasp!) being "simply" a mom and wife. In fact, I was always told the opposite - being a SAHM could not be fulfilling, and I would waste my life, my education, and my intelligence pursuing that option. Well here I am, along with millions of other women, having been handed it all - and then the bill.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to Know I'm Not Imagining How Hard This All Is...! July 9 2011
By P. L. Barksdale - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book. It does not pretend to be all things to all people. Like many of the contributors, I am an Ivy-League educated woman (who also has an MBA and tries to work part-time while raising my two elementary aged kids). What I loved about this book was that a) the writing is excellent b) the voices are surprisingly varied and c) it made me realize I am not crazy! Apart from just feeling validated with my own struggles, I actually had some "ah ha"realizations that have led to some powerful and helpful conversations with my husband. I don't know how Samantha managed to compile a selection of essays that avoids sounding whiney, but she did it. THANK YOU for this book.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TORN on the reviews! June 8 2011
By emily billington - Published on
Having read all the reviews thus far, it seems as though mine might not be taken seriously since I've never posted on Amazon. But I signed on to send TORN to a friend as a gift, a "chin up" type of gesture, to show that there are other women in her position struggling with the options we have as career women and moms. I didn't take offense to the book, I see where there is a lack of diversity in the types of women represented, it seems a bit ivy league heavy. But I think the message is clear, and it echoes what I have been feeling since I gave up my career to have children: No matter how much I love my children, sometimes being a mom is not enough. The reaction to that is very different for every mom, but no doubt, across the board, a struggle.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balance? More like Juggling. May 2 2011
By Margaret - Published on
TORN shows that women must constantly re-negotiate what the balance between work and family means and looks like. This is the truth I live with, and I am grateful to see it acknowledged in this smart and thought-provoking collection of essays.
24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for every mother May 19 2011
By Melissa J. Prowse - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a kid I always thought I'd get married, have babies, and stay home to raise them, like my mother did. Well, times have changed, and that wasn't an option for us financially (and the older my son got, the more I realized that I didn't think I WANTED to stay home all day). Like the women in this book, who write about it so eloquently, I was upset, confused and, well, Torn, with being a mom who worked full-time. What I have enjoyed most about the book is hearing the perspectives of so many different women, who come at motherhood from different upbringings, with widely varying careers, and with unique and insightful views on what it means to be a mother. Despite their different viewpoints, I felt like I could relate to each and every one of them. I am actually currently on extended leave from my full-time job on what will likely be 4 months of bedrest in anticipation of our second child, so the perspectives on work and motherhood have really hit home for me! I was unable to put this book down and finished it a day - the short story/essay format is awesome and I have already recommended it to many of my mom friends!

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