Jessica Grose: Screaming on the Inside

Do you sometimes feel like screaming because you can’t keep up with all that you think is expected of being a mom? If so, you’re in good company. Join us to listen to our interview with Jessica Grose about her book Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood. Grose is an opinion writer at the New York Times. She writes a popular newsletter on parenting and was named by Glamour Magazine as a Game Changer in 2020 for her coverage of parenting during the pandemic.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What brought you to write this book?
  • The pressure to feel a certain way and do everything right feels inherent in modern motherhood, but is it new? Have things changed? 
  • In what areas are moms in America struggling? Expense

Work and Role of Fathers:

  • Our society’s views of working motherhood from the 1990s to now. 
  • “There is the expectation for working women to want to become moms. Then when we do become parents, we are expected to be our best at work and attend to our children. I was the first call from the schools instead of my stay-at-home husband. There was a reason we had him stay-at-home. Schools still called “mom” first.”
  • “That’s happened to us now that we are both working from home. The other day, they  needed to reach us. Three messages for me & no one called Dad. It wasn’t an emergency, but still.”
  • What is “radical flexibility,” and how common is it in the US.
  • Are women who were raised by working moms opting for a different path?

 Role of social media:

  • “It’s frustrating because so often you never see them having to deal with their kids, while trying to meal prep, help with homework, break up a sibling squabble, all the while trying to get out of the house for an appointment. I guess that doesn’t make compelling viewing.”
  • “So! Many! Opinions! And so much facade. It’s challenging to navigate unless you are seriously self-confident or have already experienced a few ups & downs that give you perspective.
  • The curated reels can give such a false viewpoint and it’s easy to assume that’s their real life. But real life is not nearly as compelling as the perfectly crafted short clips.”

Is this a uniquely US issue

  • Do moms in other countries feel the same pressures to be perfect and do it all?

Unique struggles of foster, adoptive, and kinship parents:

  • I was told recently that my feelings about how hard it was to mom my last three (adopted as a sibling set from foster care) were just a part of my “mindset”. Because all the moms she knew had the same struggles. So foster and adoptive moms also have unbelievably unrealistic expectations upon them. We aren’t allowed to struggle differently. Then another person told me that “I signed up for this.” So, the underlying meaning is when you adopt kids from hard places, you aren’t allowed to struggle.
  • Had to work hard to get this family.
  • Trauma, whether it’s big T trauma or little t trauma is common in our kids, and this impacts any notion of picture-perfect parenting.
  • Have had to go through being examined and trained and our homes inspected to even get to be parents.

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Ron Lach