REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT
In this provocative examination of the economic pitfalls facing stay-at-home moms, Bennetts warns career women against "opting out" to bring up baby. Haunted by the financial straits that faced her grandmother, whose husband left her for his mistress, and her mother, who returned to work after Bennetts's father lost his job, the author never considered quitting her job as a journalist after having two kids. But she became increasingly concerned by a trend among educated women to resign from paid work and rely on men to support them. In an era of divorce, vanishing pensions and longer life spans, it's "too risky," she writes, "to count on anyone else to support you over the long haul."
New divorce laws have made lifetime alimony rare. Women trying to work again after years away find their skills are sorely out of date. Those who worry about kids whose moms work have the real danger inverted: A "more realistic fear," one expert says, "is what happens if the husband dies, leaves you or loses his job, and you have no earning power." The book's cover, showing a house of cards, is a spot-on metaphor for Bennetts's contention that taking the mommy track is risky business. This sobering read is her clarion call for those considering it to think twice.