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.