Women are constantly being told that it’s simply too difficult to balance work and family, so if they don’t really “have to” work, it’s better for their families if they stay home. Not only is this untrue, Leslie Bennetts says, but the arguments in favor of stay-at-home motherhood fail to consider the surprising benefits of work and the unexpected toll of giving it up. It’s time, she says, to get the message across — combining work and family really is the best choice for most women, and it’s eminently doable.
Bennetts and millions of other working women provide ample proof that there are many different ways to have kids, maintain a challenging career, and have a richly rewarding life as a result. Earning money and being successful not only make women feel great, but when women sacrifice their financial autonomy by quitting their jobs, they become vulnerable to divorce as well as the potential illness, death, or unemployment of their breadwinner husbands. Further, they forfeit the intellectual, emotional, psychological, and even medical benefits of self-sufficiency.
The truth is that when women gamble on dependancy, most eventually end up on the wrong side of the odds. In riveting interviews with women from a wide range of backgrounds, Bennetts tells their dramatic stories — some triumphant, others heartbreaking.
The Feminine Mistake will inspire women to accept the challenge of figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives in addition to raising children. Not since Betty Friedan has anyone offered such an eye-opening and persuasive argument for why women can — and should — embrace the joyously complex lives they deserve.