Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood
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Close your eyes and picture the perfect mother. She is usually blonde and thin. Her roots are never showing and she installed that gleaming kitchen backsplash herself (watch her TikTok for DIY tips). She seamlessly melds work, wellness and home; and during the depths of the pandemic, she also ran remote school and woke up at 5 a.m. to meditate.
You may read this and think it’s bananas; you have probably internalized much of it.
Journalist Jessica Grose sure had. After she failed to meet every one of her own expectations for her first pregnancy, she devoted her career to revealing how morally bankrupt so many of these ideas and pressures are. Now, in Screaming on the Inside, Grose weaves together her personal journey with scientific, historical, and contemporary reporting to be the voice for American parents she wishes she’d had a decade ago.
The truth is that parenting cannot follow a recipe; there’s no foolproof set of rules that will result in a perfectly adjusted child. Every parent has different values, and we will have different ideas about how to pass those values along to our children. What successful parenting has in common, regardless of culture or community, is close observation of the kind of unique humans our children are. In thoughtful and revelatory chapters about pregnancy, identity, work, social media, and the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, Grose explains how we got to this moment, why the current state of expectations on mothers is wholly unsustainable, and how we can move towards something better.