Carson, Linda. Mom's the Word. Talonbooks, 2000.
"Letters 1-5" is a compilation of letters written by a woman named Linda who writes to her husband. The letters serve as an outlet for Linda who is overwhelmed by her husband's lack of support for her daily job as a mother. The letters communicate the gender division of labor from the mother's perspective who is tired and under appreciated for her work. Topics incorporated in the letters range from their dwindling romantic relationship and changing diapers, to the debate of who has the more important job. A quotation from one of the letters that represents the underlying feminist discussion reads, "It's a shame that our society separates our worlds so completely, but it is still my quest to communicate to you what my world is like so that you can be a part of it, be my partner in it [...]!" Linda demonstrates a collaborative attitude towards parenting and through the one-sided dimensions of her letters, the audience is able to fully comprehend the stress and helplessness that motherhood can evoke without the support of one's partner. - B.H.
Profoundly influenced by feminism, women's health, and motherhood, Linda Carson's excerpt Letters 1-5 from the book Mom's the Word focuses on the lack of recognition that stay-at-home mothers receive and the overriding societal battle of public sphere verse private sphere. This excerpt is a series of letters from a stay-at-home mother to her working yet physically and emotionally absent husband. As a feminist and literary scholar, Carson's purpose for writing the text is to showcase the lack of respect that stay-at-home mothers receive, not only from society yet also from their own husbands and families. Carson's feminist viewpoint influenced the development of the thesis for the text, that stay-at-home mothers put significant time and effort into the survival of the family unit yet do not receive the respect they deserve. To support this thesis, Carson's excerpt is comprised of primary documents and biographical accounts. The book shows how difficult it is for someone to be valued when the system is against them. The book also demonstrates the strain that a lack of communication can have on a relationship. This source is excellent for information on the division of labor, working in public spheres in comparison to private spheres, and the struggles of motherhood. - B.D.
The author of this article illustrates the barriers of communication that exist between many partners. In attempts to alleviate her feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and reduced self-worth, the "partner" in this relationship writes a series of letters to her husband. Each letter reveals the endless, yet unappreciated responsibilities of motherhood, the joys that only a mother raising her child may witness, and spousal neglect that is often fostered in traditional family roles. The article signifies the imbalance in relationships as experienced by women raising children, and the lack of understanding for their role as mothers, caretakers, and role models for their impressionable children. The article emphasizes the effects of societal expectancy on traditional relationships--the restricted, narrow-minded notion that motherhood should be a "natural" desired act, which all women long to perform. Carson's letters further assert the difference between both male and female communication while uniquely breaking potential barriers by way of written communication. The letters accurately represent the challenges that women face not only raising children, but more directly in being recognized as worthy, appreciated, and valued partners. - B.M.
Written by a stay-at-home mom, the letters in this piece are a plea for acknowledgement. The letters contain a litany of duties and lost hopes and dreams. The author writes to her husband in desperation for the boredom that she feels, for the inattention that she and her child receive, and for her inability to communicate her frustrations. Though intended for her husband, the letters arguably contain universal themes. The letters reflect an unequal distribution of domestic duties and devaluation of women's work. In addition, motherhood is presented as being assumed to be a woman's natural role. The letters demonstrate that childrearing is not natural (which makes it sound easy), but incredibly demanding. The author's letters paint a picture of motherhood that is predicated on self-sacrifice and results in isolation and anger. - C.P.
These humorous but realistic letters from a woman named Linda to her husband are very eye-opening. They show the frustration that women experience as housewives and mothers while their husbands are at work all day as the breadwinners. She points out the difficulty of being with children, not being able to communicate with adults, especially her husband, not being mentally stimulated and not being rewarded for her work. It shows how women are thought to be able to "naturally" raise children without any problems, and how unrealistic this ideal is. It also shows the problem with economic dependence--Linda basically works twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, with no breaks, and is paid nothing, and forced to depend on her husband. Linda, as most women probably do, does not undervalue her husband's ability to bring home a paycheck, but yearns for him to understand that what she's doing is hard work too. - K.B.
In this reading, as the title says, there are a set of five letters written Linda, a stay at home mom to her husband. The letters create a narrative plot in which we can identify a conflict: Linda's husband lack of appreciation for her work at home. Though these letters articulate well the gendered division of labor at home and the struggles of motherhood, it fails to consider the perspective of a homosexual partners and their standpoint on the same struggle. Suppose, such an anecdote was incorporated in the Carson Letters, it will disrupt the idea that the devaluing of stay at home moms as a hetero-normative problem. -N.S.