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Mommy Wars

  • By: Fiona Joy Green
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Although Barbara Berg introduced the term mommy wars to refer to the debate between the value of mothers staying at home to parent their children and the merits of mothers participating in the labor force in a 1987 Washington Post article titled “Mothers Against Mothers,” the concept has been around, in one form or another, since the Victorian age. For example, Coventry Patmore extolled the virtues of his wife, Emily, in The Angel in the House when he portrayed her as the quintessential wife and mother for sacrificing herself for her husband, children, and family.

The 1854 book was successful among the middle class, had its ideals reinforced by Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, and spread the message of what constituted a good mother throughout ...

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