Mothers aren't supposed to be angry. Still, Minna Dubin was an angry mom: exhausted by the grueling, thankless work of full-time parenting and feeling her career slip away, she would find herself screaming at her child or exploding at her husband. When Dubin pushed past her shame and talked with other mothers about how she was feeling, she realized that she was far from alone.
Melodramas of oppression and resistance do not brook much nuance, and, in any event, it can be difficult to insist on ethical complexity when faced with a story that resonated with many readers ... Mom Rage is Dubin’s book-length effort to grant mothers the absolution that many of them seek ... Dubin’s claims and prescriptions are, by now, staples of pop-feminist nonfiction ... The newer books—call them 'feminish'—engage only sparingly with the original sources. Reading paraphrases of paraphrases of paraphrases, one starts to feel as if there is something a little hollow and shiftless about the ease with which phrases such as 'white supremacist, homophobic, classist, ableist, xenophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, capitalist patriarchy' are trotted out. We get the right words, strung together like marquee lights, but not the structural analysis that puts them in relation to one another ... Dubin does not appear to have interviewed any mothers who do not claim to suffer from mom rage. Nor has she interviewed father ... No doubt the patriarchy and capitalism have power, but how precisely that power results in the rage of mothers toward their children, as opposed to their husbands or their bosses, remains unclear ... The imprecision of Dubin’s language strands her argument on unstable ground ... The book fails to universalize a particular predicament, and, in strenuously attempting to do so, turns into an exercise in ill-advised candor ... How clearly can a writer see anyone or anything—her children or the social and political contours of motherhood—when she perceives everything through the haze of moral cliché?
This book represents a voice that belongs in every parenting collection, both for the information it provides and the validation it offers to families who struggle with the challenges of raising children.
At its best, this book is a cleareyed analysis of the intricate web of cultural and political challenges that make female-identified parenting nearly impossible. Occasionally, Dubin loses sight of this argument, focusing instead on individual responses that locate the problem in the parents rather than the systems that oppress them. Overall, though, the author writes with humor, vulnerability, and a level of expertise that shape her narrative into a nuanced and convincing argument for justice. A trenchant analysis of the ways in which society renders modern motherhood emotionally impossible.