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Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood--Jessica Grose in conversation with Mary Cain

Event date: 
Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

Charis and Agnes Scott College welcome Jessica Grose in conversation with Mary Cain for a discussion of Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood. In this timely and necessary book, New York Times opinion writer Jessica Grose dismantles two hundred years of unrealistic parenting expectations and empowers today’s mothers to make choices that actually serve themselves, their children, and their communities. This event is in partnership with the Agnes Scott College Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. 

Close your eyes and picture the perfect mother. She is usually blonde and thin. Her roots are never showing and she installed that gleaming kitchen backsplash herself (watch her TikTok for DIY tips). She seamlessly melds work, wellness and home; and during the depths of the pandemic, she also ran remote school and woke up at 5 a.m. to meditate.

You may read this and think it’s bananas; you have probably internalized much of it.

Journalist Jessica Grose sure had. After she failed to meet every one of her own expectations for her first pregnancy, she devoted her career to revealing how morally bankrupt so many of these ideas and pressures are. Now, in Screaming on the InsideGrose weaves together her personal journey with scientific, historical, and contemporary reporting to be the voice for American parents she wishes she’d had a decade ago.

The truth is that parenting cannot follow a recipe; there’s no foolproof set of rules that will result in a perfectly adjusted child. Every parent has different values, and we will have different ideas about how to pass those values along to our children. What successful parenting has in common, regardless of culture or community, is close observation of the kind of unique humans our children are. In thoughtful and revelatory chapters about pregnancy, identity, work, social media, and the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, Grose explains how we got to this moment, why the current state of expectations on mothers is wholly unsustainable, and how we can move towards something better.

Jessica Grose is an opinion writer at the New York Times. She is also the author of two novels, Soulmates and Sad Desk Salad. She was named one a top professional under 35 by LinkedIn in 2016, and Glamour called her a “Game Changer” in 2020 for her coverage of parenting during the pandemic. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughters.

Mary Cain is Associate Professor of History at Agnes Scott College. She is the author of several articles and reviews that consider issues of race, gender, privilege, power and domesticity in the antebellum United States. Her teaching interests include African-American history, the history of slavery, Native American history and US women’s history. In recent years she has received both the Faith Yao Yu Chao Faculty Excellence Award and the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award. In January she was appointed editor of the teaching network within H-Net, the online platform for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and looks forward to serving the academic community in that role!

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

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Event address: 
Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood By Jessica Grose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063078352
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - December 6th, 2022

"If this book feels like it’s sounding the alarm on the state of American motherhood, well, that’s because it is." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Sad Desk Salad: A Novel By Jessica Grose Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062188342
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 2nd, 2012

As a former editor for popular websites, including Slate and Jezebel, Jessica Grose intimately understands the realities of life in the blogosphere--and she employs this knowledge to hilarious effect in her edgy and timely debut novel, Sad Desk Salad.

Event Summary: 
Jessica Grose dismantles two hundred years of unrealistic parenting expectations and empowers today’s mothers to make choices that actually serve themselves, their children, and their communities.