In this captivating and radical look at “work-life balance,” Lara Bazelon reframes our understanding of working women—and shows how prioritizing your career benefits mothers, kids, and society at large.
In this singular cultural moment, mothers have unparalleled opportunities to succeed at work while continuing to face the same societal impediments that held back our mothers and grandmothers. We still encounter entrenched gender bias in the workplace and are expected to shoulder the lion’s share of labor and burdens at home while being made to feel as if we’re never doing enough. All the while we’re told that the perfect work-life balance is possible, if only we try hard enough to achieve it.
It’s time to change the conversation—about work, life, and “balance.” Work and life are inextricably, intimately intertwined. We need to celebrate what we do give our children—even and especially in moments of imbalance—rather than apologizing for what we don’t. In this way, we can model for our children how we use our talents to help others and raise awareness about the issues closest to our hearts. We can embrace the personal fulfillment and financial independence that pursuing meaningful work can bring as a way of showing our children how to live happy, purpose-driven lives. Bazelon argues not only that we can but that we should. Being ambitious at work and being a good mother to our children are not at odds—these qualities mutually reinforce each other.
Backed up by research and filled with personal stories from Bazelon’s life, as well as that of her mother and the many other women she interviewed across the cultural and financial spectrum, Ambitious Like a Mother is an anthem, a beacon for all to recognize and celebrate the pioneering women who reject the false idols of the Selfless Mother and Work-Life Balance, and a call to embrace your own ambitions and model your multiplicities for your children.