I’m going to let you in on a secret—I love reading mom blogs. These blogs feature mothers, many of them stay-at-home moms, doing everything from shopping at farmer’s markets to homeschooling to making their own ketchup. When I look at these blogs, I begin to want those things for my future. These blogs are idyllic representations of life, but nowadays, is that kind of lifestyle actually an option for most women? Are we supposed to choose home over work? And if we don’t, is that even a bad thing? Are we not able to have it all?
When I saw an interview with Emily Matchar, author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, I was intrigued by her thoughts on the rise of lifestyle blogs, DIY culture, and whether or not women have to choose between work and home. I immediately purchased her book.
Matchar discusses why lifestyle blogs and mom blogs have become so popular—the fantasy of having a perfect family, the poor job market, the lack of maternity benefits, and an increased disillusionment with the workplace. Blogs have become an outlet for both the bloggers and the readers. Bloggers can potentially earn an income and stay at home with their families, while readers get to peak into lives that differ from their own. These blogs romanticize domestic life—young women giving up their jobs and hectic lives in favor of simpler lives filled with canning fruits, farming, and homeschooling children. They appeal to readers because they promote creativity, environmental consciousness, and family.
But Matchar doesn’t sugar coat this choice in lifestyle. She informs us, with simple yet effective prose, of political and social ramifications that go hand in hand with this heightened individualism. By leaving the workforce, are some women disregarding the effort women before us put into making sure we have opportunities to work? What about the women who cannot afford to stay at home? How can we make the workplace friendlier to mothers if we reject the idea of the working mom?
I appreciate what Matchar does in this book—she doesn’t praise one type of mother over the other and she creates an open discussion about the trials women face in today’s society and offers practical solutions like incorporating men in the home, instigating social change, and letting go of trying to be perfect mothers.
So…can women really have it all? Matchar doesn’t explicitly answer this question, but her social commentary ends on a positive note—with social change, acceptance of different lifestyles, and a little balance, women can definitely have it all.
If you have read Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, are you intrigued by this topic? Will you pick up the book? I definitely recommend it! It’s an eye-opening read, especially for young women who want families.