Mask Of Motherhood

Improved Essays
This journal will discuss Allison Pearson’s novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, which explores the daily activities of Kate Reddy, a successful employee of a top investment managing firm in London who struggles to meet the needs of her professional career while simultaneously catering to the needs of her children at home. Specifically, I will analyze the ways in which the protagonist of the novel illustrates the theory of the mask of motherhood as articulated by Susan Maushart. Maushart defines the mask of motherhood as a silent conspiracy that mothers engage with by hiding the realities of parenthood through acts like disinformation (Maushart 462).
To start, Kate performs the mask of motherhood in front of other mothers. This act is prominent
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For example, when she is late for work because she lost track of time taking care of her children, she decides to present a “Man’s Excuse” instead of telling the truth. She tells her male senior manager an excuse he would be content with and that he would be able to relate to: “You should have seen the mess at Dalston Junction… some maniac in a white van. Traffic lights out of sync. Unbelievable. Must have been stuck there—oh, twenty minutes” (Pearson 16). Her excuse works as her manager accepts it and moves on with his day. Another example relates to Maushart’s discussion on maternal guilt in which she argues that that women who wear the mask of motherhood are mainly faced with feelings of guilt for both the tasks they accomplish as mothers and the tasks they fail to accomplish (Maushart 479). In her workplace, Kate wears the mask of motherhood by hiding the photos of her children in the drawer because “each time I caught the children looking at me I had the same thought: you are providing for them, but you are not bringing them up” (Pearson 262). Through these decisions to mask her feelings, Kate ultimately isolates herself from the rest of society and suffers in …show more content…
In one e-mail to her friend Debra, she reveals her true feelings about her children and her parenting: “when I’m with them, like I am now, their need is just so needy. It’s like having a whole love affair crammed into a long weekend […] Drained & freaked out & need to go back to work soonest for a rest. What kind of mother is afraid of her own children?” (Pearson 53). Although Kate never sends the e-mail, she still utilizes the software as a site of critical reflection. The e-mails help readers understand that Kate does not find mothering as enjoyable as she portrays it to be. I believe the e-mails provide Kate with an opportunity to grow as a character and come to the realization that she does not need to mask herself to feel brave and serene. Although, in the end of the novel, Kate furthers patriarchal ideals by deciding to leave her workplace and pursue fulltime mothering in the private sphere, through this decision, she is finally able to unmask and reveal her true

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