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woman riding escalator in bookstore

Reading Motherhood was founded by two Georgetown University professors based on a course they co-teach of the same name. It seeks to spark conversations about motherhood, feminism, and reproductive rights, as well as provide a community for educators looking to bring these themes to their classrooms.

We offer a space between the ubiquitous lifestyle “Mommy Influencers” and websites focused strictly on mothers in academia.  But we do aspire to be influencers of another sort: using our teaching and research skills to bridge the generational divide between all types of women by interrogating conventional models and myths about motherhood.  Our approach is  introducing--rather than dictating--ideas about representations of diverse mothers in literature, media, and popular culture.


Mother being criticized and yelled at on social media

People know the basic facts about me, how I was married when I wasn't quite fourteen and had four babies by the time I was eighteen ... So when I sing those country songs about women struggling to keep things going, you could say I've been there.  It's like that hit record I had in 1975, "The Pill,"...Well, they didn't have none of them pills when I was younger, or I'd have been swallowing 'em like popcorn.  See, the men who run some of the radio stations, they banned the record because they didn't like what I was saying. But the women knew.  Like I say, I know what it's like to be pregnant and nervous and poor.

--Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner' s Daughter


Who decided that "women should be responsible for daily life?"

-- Dorothy Smith

"Unless carefree, motherhood was a killer."

-- Toni Morrison, Beloved


love songs web dubois.jpeg

Our newest book recommendation is for Honorée Fanonne Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois. The book is both an intimate character study and a sweeping epic, tracing Ailey Garfield's maternal family line over the course of more than 200 years. 

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mom holding baby.jpg

In 2020, TED published an excerpt from Glennon Doyle's book Untamed, in which she laments the "terrible memo" that new parents receive in the 21st century. Doyle proposes a "new memo" for parents, one that recognizes the importance of struggle and failure for children.

tweet from shonda rhimes about homeschooling
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