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The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  738 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Bold and galvanizing, full of innovative solutions, The Price of Motherhood reveals the glaring disparity between the value created by mothers' work and the reward women receive for carrying out society's most important job.

In this provocative book, award-winning economics journalist Ann Crittenden argues that although women have been liberated, mothers have not. Drawing
Paperback, 323 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Holt McDougal (first published 2001)
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May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Crittenden peals away the sentimental layers from the labor of mothering to perform a strictly economic analysis that left me feeling devalued and angry. She marshalls not only interviews and anectdotes but also data from a variety of sources as well as theoretical analyses from sociology, law, anthropology, and economics to show how women who have children end up seriously disadvantaged economically as compared to childless women and men with or without children. As a professional woman, I have ...more
Apr 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
It's kind of ironic. We're reading this for book club because I recommended it, but I don't even want to finish it. She is very right, though. Mothers are horribly disadvantaged, and it's not fair. Society really does need to stop devaluing mothers. I have to say, though, this is the most worldly book I've ever read. Maybe it is because my husband and I have a very good relationship, financially, that I feel they way I do. I know money is important, and without it, life can down-right suck. But ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers, fathers, caregivers
Recommended to Jensa by: Marsha
I just finished reading this book and, I have to say, I haven't concentrated so hard on a text since college. It was very research based and packed with content. It brought out so many poignant questions and comments about how our country rewards/penalizes parenthood.
The thesis of the book is that parents (mothers specifically) provide a "free" service to our society by raising law-abiding, social security paying citizens. Businesses and communities are receiving the benefits of this situatio
Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just finished this book last night and can't even articulate my thoughts, plus at times it hurt my head to read. Thank God I didn't major in Econ. So I"ll borrow a quote to share some of how I feel "Few men in positions of authority have any firsthand experience caring for children and therefore no basis for understanding just how difficult and important a job it is. Their ignorance helps perpetuate a system that takes the work for granted." (p. 241) YUP!
In addition I may have to encourage Ind
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ann Crittenden was a journalist for Newsweek and the New York Times before she decided to leave her full-time career and devote her time to full-time caregiving for her child. During that time, she collected anecdotes, statistics, and personal observations for this book.

Her main point is that motherhood is a hugely important societal benefit, but, for all of the lip service Americans give it, it goes unrewarded in any way that counts. As a result, the number one indicator for poverty in old age
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2001
An often scathing analysis of the economic costs to women who choose to have children. The author has done serious research on the topic, and also presents wide-ranging information on related topics in marriage and women's employment outside the home. The chapters on divorce, and what current practice says about the value placed on women and children, are particularly fresh and alarming. The writing is rigorous yet very readable. Not to be missed. ...more
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a very dense, fascinating book. The book approaches the subject of motherhood from an economic standpoint and in nearly every evaluation, the mother who chooses to care for her child, whether as an at-home mom or as a working mom who forgoes overtime and higher pressure job tracks, pays a hefty price. Crittenden makes some very compelling arguments, but many of her "solutions" are going to cause as many problems as they start. She constantly points to Sweden, France, and several other mo ...more
Aisha Manus
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg this has me raging at time at the injustices that women, in particular mothers, face because of toxic masculinity and the patriarchy. While a *few* things have progressed since this book was written 20 years ago, sadly mothers are still not valued like they should in the American system. Countries around the world have proven over and over that if you invest in mothers it benefits the country economically, yet the American corporation still keeps men in power. I highly recommend this book. B ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is an incredibly well-researched and largely well-articulated expose on the status of mothers in American society. Crittenden clearly defines how mothers are socially, legally, and economically disadvantaged and lists specific actions that can be taken by employers, governments, families, and communities to help mothers achieve equal citizenship. This book is a must-read for everyone!

On a personal level this book was deeply insightful into why I have a love/hate relationship with being
Reading this for a class titled "Women, Work and the Family" that I'm going to propose be subtitled "AKA: Men are trash" in future versions of the class. Because man (hah -- sorry), do our patriarchal heteronormative gender roles ever screw us over. And don't get me wrong, those norms are screwing men over, too (toxic masculinity is real), but it's hard to focus on that when this book lays out all the economic and social fuckery we're laying at women's feet.

This book is worth a look for its well
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I applaud this book for having been written in a time when so few women were listening, not to mention men.
19 years have passed and frankly, I am looking forward to a new edition before reading it. Meanwhile, I am getting up to speed on economics and the alterations of the system needed. I found Crittenden's book title in Eisler's "The Real Wealth of Nations " in the closing chapters on activism. I am giving Crittenden's book many stars because it was a lone voice at the time of its conception
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I should have reviewed this book sooner after reading it (and before reading a book with many opposing arguments), but I do remember the fundamentals: Crittenden makes the seemingly basic--but in this country, revolutionary--argument that the work of "caring" (for children, mainly, but also for the elderly) should be valued along with every other type of work.

And when Crittenden says "valued" she doesn't mean that we should all give our moms really nice Mother's Day presents and express our appr
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What an amazingly detailed and researched book concerning motherhood and economics. My eye were opened and my blood pressure was raised while reading this book. Ann Crittenden, in a completely professional, yet ultimately passionate manner, tackles the question 'Do we really value motherhood?'. The results are disheartening.

Why did I like this book that almost caused me to froth at the mouth? It was well written, extremely well organized, and brilliantly researched. There was no name calling or
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled upon this book in the library when I was doing research for a paper on the subject of motherhood and the paradigm produced from our society's view of mothering/motherhood. Crittenden has done some serious homework in this book serving up some awesome empirical evidence in support of her claims, most of which are economical considerations and concerns. I appreciated her depth of research, however, many of her studies come from the mid-90s. While that might have been relevant at time of ...more
Suzanne Kunz Williams
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book will forever change the way you value mothers and the way you view the sacrifices of women to become mothers. I don't see how anyone can read this book and not come away with a greater appreciation for mothers and want to changes things to reward their sacrifices more.

**Talking Points - what are some of the ways your mother sacrifices for you? Would you want to sacrifice in the same way?
Maha Elahi
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for all women, especially the ones who are ignorantly ruining their lives & the lives of their children!

Read it if you're a good & confused new mom it so you won't allow others to destroy your life as a wife & mom.

A precious book indeed!
Saleh MoonWalker
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Onvan : The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued - Nevisande : Ann Crittenden - ISBN : 805066195 - ISBN13 : 9780805066197 - Dar 323 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2001
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
i am reading this for a class i'm teaching. i am only 15 pages in and i already feel outraged. i am probably going to have vandalize something by the end of the semester. ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Read this. Understand why you're pissed all the time. ...more
Varapanyo Bhikkhu
Jan 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
Feminists are not defending motherhood; they are politicizing it. ...Motherhood is no longer a private role but a claim to political power and to marshal the coercive state apparatus against those depicted as the oppressors of mothers.

Stephen Baskerville:

This emerges clearly in feminist campaigns to appropriate motherhood. Whereas fatherhood is a targeted enemy, motherhood offers the opportunity to cynically exploit the pieties of traditional morality and conservative people. Feminists like Ann
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book articulated a lot of the frustrations I feel over how little the work I do as a mother is appreciated, something that really hit when I had to leave my fulltime job to give me the flexibility to homeschool my son with special needs because the school would not provide adequate services for him. I am furious that I pay taxes for a system that excludes my son and that I took such a financial hit and I do not get paid for the work I do educating him, even though I have a higher level of e ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In Sweden, parents can opt to work a six-hour day until their children are eight years old. In the Netherlands the official workweek is thirty-six hours, and workers have a right to a four-day week. The legal workweek in France was reduced from thirty-nine to thirty-five hours in 2000..." This book is full of jaw-dropping examples of how the rest of the world values parents and raising of children, and how the US...well...does not. This edition of the book was pubbed in 2010. I would be very in ...more
Sally Duros
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book inspired me to write this essay.

Choosing Otherhood over Motherhood
Sally’s World, May 2003


New research in the United Kingdom has found that among women born between 1954 and 1958, college graduates were 50% more likely than non-graduates to remain childless throughout their lives. Studies conducted in the United States and Germany had similar findings.

These trends register as true for my generation of college-educated women, but I
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I read it many years ago and still think about it often today. The price of motherhood still isn't well-understood or accepted. I was a hands-on mom and entered the workforce post-children, and I make a measly salary compared with what I would have by now had I spent more time in school (I was on track for a PhD) and then had gone straight into the workforce and stayed there. It really isn't fair. I did complete a master's degree while caring for children, so it isn't lack of i ...more
Alyssa Easton
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'll be honest I couldn't even finish the book. While I completely agree mother's we're still undervalued, this book has not stood up to time, written almost twenty years ago, I don't agree with everything in this book. The world isn't perfect, mother's still have a marathon to run to find equality in the world. As a full time working mother I unfortunately see this more than I wish, but women are being recognized for the value they bring to the world and the gap between parenting; mothers and f ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is my favorite subject , because i think it's the key to solve most of our problems . the problem of human is losing wisdom < and wisdom comes from good education , and good education comes from good nurturing & raising up a child ( especially the first three years ) the best one to do this job is the mother ( if she is capable and will equiped to do the job ) if not , then the best carer is a must . the problem we all facing is , misconception of life ??? what do we want from life ? if the ...more
Erin Adwell Teague
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book really fascinated me. From our GDP numbers ignoring the work of caring to the inequity of divorce, the specific penalties for mothering astounded me. Crittenden put facts where I’d only before had the feeling of injustice. ‘The Price of Motherhood’ leaves me longing to write letters to Congress. I feel compelled to take action. And I feel empowered with the understanding to do so.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that this book is nearly two decades old now, the information is still disturbingly current. Both social change and policy change need to happen to officially recognize that raising the next generation of human capital is critically important and valuable work.
Tori Allen
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m not a mother, but I still took a lot away from this book and really connected with it. It’s true that we do place mothers in an impossible position especially in the workforce. I feel this book is very eye-opening and educational to understand our culture’s relationship with working mothers.
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Ann Crittenden is the author of Killing the Sacred Cows: Bold Ideas for a New Economy. A former reporter for The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, she has also been a financial writer for Newsweek, a visiting lecturer at M.I.T. and Yale, and an economics commentator on CBS News. Her articles have appeared in Fortune, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, McCalls, and Working Woman, among others. ...more

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