The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?

The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?

by Leslie Bennetts

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The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the biggest problem is that women still think it is their duty to be entirely responsible for the household chores and child care. Maybe if more men stepped up to the plate and more women demanded an equal share of house chores and child rearing, women wouldn't feel that they can't balance everything. And many husbands do help out, but there are still far too many women driving themselves crazy thinking it is their job to worry about these things, many not giving their husbands the benefit of the doubt. We need to stop looking at this as a women's dilemma, it needs to be seen as a women's AND men's dilemma. We both need to figure out how to divide the household duties, and who is the more logical choice to stay at home 'if anyone at all'. Many of you fail to realize that more and more women are making more money then their husbands, as of now it is one third of wives, and within 20 years it is expected to grow to half of all wives. Would it still make sense for them to be the parent that stays home? Another HUGE problem is an incompetent government that pretends to care about family values. The majority on welfare and in poverty are women and children, we have no mandatory health coverage for children, we have no policy on maternity/paternity leave 'countries with far less money and power allow one year with full to partial salary', and there is no assistance paying for day care 'again, many other countries have this---remember, not all parents can afford to stay home, and it's not fair to make them struggle to pay for daycare'. Why can't we stop pretending that life is so easy for all of us, and start helping families to truly lift out of financial hardships. We can't all afford to have a parent stay at home.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am the mother of 4 beautiful girls ranging in age from 12 to 7 months. I worked with the first 2, went back to work after 2 years with the 3rd, and am hoping to stay home full time until the 4th is at least in junior high. I have realized, luckily not too late, that what my children have needed for the past 12 years was not 'financial security' only 2 incomes could provide, a 'positive, independent female role model', the 'benefit' of socializing with other children at an early age (aka day care), etc., etc. What my children have needed is a stable home environment with a stable, calm mother that is present every time someone needs something, ready to help and support. I like being the backbone of my family. I am the security, not financially but emotionally. And furthermore, I love supporting and being there for my husband, which was hard to do when I was trying to fit every activity in and work and housework and everything else being a wife and mother entails. I don't know if anyone else has noticed a trend in that the divorce rate in America is disturbingly high and has been on the rise since the feminist movement. I am the child of a mother who did the best she could as a working and divorced mother no thanks, I won't be sending my girls to day care if I can help it at all. And no one has mentioned the financial toll the mother becoming disabled, or God forbid dying, would take on the family whether she works outside the home or not. There was a time when I would have bought into this, but not after having been in both situations with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a great wake-up call for all women! I thought I could have written part of the book, as I myself have seen both my grandmother and mother grow up depending on men to find themselves up the creek after the divorce! My grandmother never recovered and is below poverty level while my mother struggled and still continues to do so and probably always will. But, they both grew up in times where 'marry a decent man, quit work, make babies & stay home' was the 'norm' for society. Seeing the women in my family put all their faith in men and then wind up with nothing when the men bailed taught me to stand on my own two feet. I know this book is biased, but it makes me sad to see all of the women my age and younger giving up their education and their careers to be a housewife! What a waste of education to have it 'just to fall back on' while tending the home. I think society is completely unfair in always assuming the woman will be the subordinate and give up her identity so the man can make the money! But, women continue to feed into it, so what can you do? But, this woman will have none of those myths! You can have it all-it just takes a little more work! But, what a satifsying life you will have at the end-your family and your own professional life that you enjoy and that's all your own!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book makes an important contribution to the debate on working moms. Careful not to present herself as overly angry or judgemental about the choices some women make to forego independence and circumscribe their lives, Bennetts' book sympathizes with all women and is ultimately insightful and empowering.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unlike the previous reviewer, I think this book has a very important message. My husband has struggled with a serious illness for many years and anticipates going on disability in the near future, so I face the very real possibility of being my family's sole breadwinner -- a position that would be much more difficult if I had taken time off from work to stay at home with my son. Contrary to what 'A Reviewer' seems to think, it isn't just women with 'loser husbands' who have to struggle with these issues. I'm glad she managed to 'marry someone good enough,' but I certainly hope she never finds herself in my situation -- she may be in for a rude awakening.
car_oline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! It is a must-read for all of the women in your lives - buy ten and give them as gifts.It was less about family values and more about the down-and-dirty of the unspoken question...the reality nobody talks about: Can you afford to raise your kids without your hubby?
laughingwoman6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was raised by a single mother. I married young and had two children. My husband and I struggled a lot financially, mostly because we were still in school when our son was born. He worked hard for about three years while I finished my degree in nursing. It was the smartest thing I ever did, finishing school and working while my children were small. My husband died at age 34 of cancer and I found myself alone with two young children. I loved this book because everything Leslie Bennetts says in it is true. I think being raised by a single mother taught me early that nothing is forever. I have a great career as a registered nurse, I've been working for 21 years and I have raised my kids. They are now adults and while I know I've made a lot of mistakes I am proud of them and proud of myself. I bless my late husband for the sacrifices he made to put me through school. If he hadn't I don't know what I would have done, he was insured but it wouldn't have lasted long enough to finish raising my children. This is a fantastic book a compassionate and thoughtful look at what happens to women who choose to be financially dependant on their husbands or partners.
Deesirings on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't agree with the contents of this book as much as I expected to, having read some responses to it on various blogs. My biggest criticism it that the book tried to address too many separate issues under the guise of always staying on the large topic of the financial risk of being a stay at home mom.In many respects, this was in response to a particular class of stay at home moms, that is the highly educated, professional women who leave jobs as lawyers, executives, etc., because their husbands make so much money that having a second salary doesn't seem all that appealing compared to living a life of leisure and/or of raising kids. Bennetts warns all women to not be financially dependent on a man. Fair enough. But wouldn't it be a better approach to encourage all women to be financially independent? This slight change in perspective would include women who are dependent on other women as well as all those who depend on men. If financial independence from spouses is all Bennetts is concerned about, then much of this book is superfluous. The whole chapter on the non-financial benefits of work is irrelevant to this thesis. So perhaps the starting point should have been to persuade women that the benefits of paid labour outweigh the benefits of raising children while being off the job market. Only, Bennetts doesn't seem to praise the benefits of all work and any work. Though she does occasionally speak to the experiences of lower class women, her chapter on the rewards of work is focussed on the rewards of having a successful professional career (as opposed to spending 40 years working full-time at a low paying retail job, for example). Moreover, if financial independence is the only point, why does Bennetts seem so dismissive of one woman who suggests that in really wealthy marriages, one solution might be for wives to have their own investment incomes rather than to count on paid labour?One theme Bennetts returns to frequently is the importance of taking a long view of life and always remembering that the years a woman will spend as a mother to pre-school aged children constitute only a small time in the overall potential worklife of the average woman. At one point, Bennetts retells an anecdote in which she counseled a good friend of hers not to down grade to part time work when her children were still young and she was so very, very tired all the time. Bennetts explains that this was because the financial cost of even a partial exit from paid labour for even a few years was a lot higher than the loss in salary during those years. And so she encourages women to keep full-time work even during their children's pre-school years and to just accept that they will be absolutely exhausted for that period of their lives and that they will not feel they are giving their all to either their children or their work.But at another point, she retells the story of a woman who did exit the paid labour force for the years in which her children were youngest, but made sure to keep networking, to keep up with developments in her fields, and to take on a paid project in her field (she wrote an article or book). This tale seems to be recounted approvingly. So why would this be more OK than her friend wanting to work 3 days a week for a couple of years?There are inconsistencies in Bennetts' approach in different chapters and anecdotes.This book would have been a lot more convincing if it had focused exclusively on professional women and had urged them to plan any exits and entries from paid labour rather than just quitting their jobs without having a plan in mind for how long they wanted to be unemployed and how they would return to work when they wanted to. If Bennetts had limited herself to this particular segment of society, she could have written a much more convincing, on point account.Moreover, Bennetts alludes to problems in the work force, especially in professional milieus, with employers expecting crazy hours out of their employees an
smbmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bennetts presents a valid argument for maintaining your income capacity.
chellerystick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bennetts argues that women must plan for the high odds that they will need to work for wages to support themselves at some point in their lives, due to the chances not only of divorce but also unemployment, death, or illness. Studies show that taking time out of the workforce makes it very difficult to get hired back into the workforce. Furthermore, the early childhood years that many women cite as the time period they would like to have with their children only lasts a fraction of most women's adult lives. Therefore, Bennetts recommends that professional women not leave the full-time labor force but rather "muddle through" those difficult few years. If they do leave or cut back for a few years, she recommends becoming visibly accomplished in their fields before having children, and to stay current and active after cutting back, including professionally-relevant volunteer work (not just things like bake sales). She also notes that women who work are happier and more satisfied with their marriages. I want to recommend this book as food for thought to all of my women friends who are thinking of having children.The audiobook was well-read and easy to follow. The author does repeat herself a bit in places, but it was probably especially noticeable because I listened to the whole book on a four-hour drive. I really appreciated all of the real women's stories she quotes in the book. I wish she could have spent more time unpacking the cultural and class assumptions that go into the "Mommy Wars," and also that she could have given more policy and employer suggestions, but that is more than enough of a topic for a whole other book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that should be read by all young women. I became a professional in society but still compromised too much for a man that took what he could and left. If I had read this book....I could have prevented a lot of mistakes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Man, I'm merely a college-aged nanny, and I can tell you right now moms have a hard job. Harder than any other I've ever had (which has been several). It's also the most fulfilling of the jobs I've had... imagine, I get to influence the life of these beautiful young girls I babysit! Sure beats sitting at a computer or working in an office all day. How can that be a mistake. And yeah, it might NOT be a lifelong job, being a mother (tends to depend on how many children you have), but it will be atleast 19 years. Atleast. And... what's up with saying stay at home moms are just being lazy and using it as a status symbol? Are you kidding me? My mom stayed home to raise us (thank you mom!) and we are hardly rich, it's not easy to stay home these days. This book tends to be a load of crap... also, the difference I see in my friends whose moms stayed home and those who moms did not is enough to convince me it's a good idea.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book has failed to consider the fact that for some women, myself included, staying home and raising children is actually a fulfilling endeavor. And one which I feel is eminently worth my time, effort and use of my intellect and talents. And this comes from someone with two master's degrees. The idea that I need to hedge myself against an uncertain financial future...that my husband may not provide for me, leave me? That is certainly possible and I will deal with it if it happens. I am resourceful. But I am thinking of a different future in my decision. My children's future and my family's future...I made my decision because I genuinely believed (and continue to believe) that my presence and my ability to run my household as I do makes a difference. I know my own family, my own heart. Why Ms. Bennetts thinks she knows better is unclear to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is thought-provoking and eye-opening. Even though I am a proud SAHM of 4 and would not change it for the time being (my kids are little). I am giving thought to what career to pursue once my youngest is in kindergarten. Some of the points Bennetts book made were very valid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a new mom and was struggling over going back to work or not, and there's so much junk out there on this subject. The reviews for this book sounded more promising, but it turned out that this is just another book jumping on controversy to make some money. There is nothing compelling, it kind of reads like a text book - one written by someone who didn't marry someone good enough. And her grandma married a cheater and her dad was lazy, and a bunch of other women who picked idiots for husbands...blah blah blah. So what? I get enough yakking about loser husbands from my friends - don't need to read a book about it. What a waste of my money this was.