"Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career, & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood
Suggested Topic for BlogHER: A discussion of the difficult choices
women today face as they try to balance career, kids, and family life.
For non-mothers, stay-at-home mothers, and work-outside-the-home
mothers to come together as women-- using the personal stories of 48
women in the soon to be published book Torn as a jumping off point-- and explore the paths we are
taking to bring balance-- and sanity-- to our lives.
The following contributors to Torn are available to participate in a
"work-life balance" panel at the BlogHer 2011 Conference in San Diego,
Lydia Denworth is the author of Toxic Truth: A scientist, a Doctor,
and the Battle over Lead. She is a former reporter for Newsweek and
bureau chief for People. Her writing on science, education and social
issues has appeared in the New York Times, Redbook, Health and other
publications. She has also worked as an adjunct professor of
journalism both at Fordham University and Long Island University. She
is currently living in Hong Kong with her husband and three sons.
Abi Cotler O’Roarty: teaches photography and design at the Art
Institute of California, San Diego. She writes short fiction and
personal essays and pens a column on children and motherhood for The
Huffington Post as well as the Encinitas Patch Parentspeak column on
Patch.com. In her free time, she can be found raising a preschooler
and a baby whose tiny voices penetrate nearly every thought she has.
Karen Sibert, M.D. is an anesthesiologist in private practice in Los
Angeles, California. She received an AB degree in English from
Princeton University, graduating in 1974, and attended medical school
at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She is the mother of
four—Arden, Alexandra (who died in infancy), Thomas, and Ariel—and is
married to Steven M. Haddy, MD, who practices cardiac anesthesiology
at the University of Southern California. In what spare time she has,
she reads novels, walks her dog, and studies Arabic.
Liesl Jurock, M.Ed., is the author of Mama’s Log (MamasLog.com), a
blog about the joys and contrasts that motherhood offers. Her work has
appeared online on The Momoir Project, Hybrid Mom, Women’s Post and
other mother-related websites. She shares a beautiful life with her
hubby, Kevin, and son, Lucas, in British Columbia, Canada.
Kezia Willingham is a former high-school dropout, single mother, and
welfare recipient, who has a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State
University and a master’s in social work from the University of
Washington. She resides in Seattle, where she works for the Head Start
program and is an advocate for immigration reform. She credits the
memoirs of other mothers as guiding lights in time of darkness. She is
married with three children.
Sabrina Parsons is the CEO of Palo Alto Software and founder of the
Web blog, MommyCEO.org. Prior to joining Palo Alto Software, she was a
co-founder of Lighting Out Consulting and a Senior Producer at
Epinions.com. She is the co-author of a book recently published by
Entrepreneur Press, 3 Weeks To Startup.
Samantha Parent Walravens is an award-winning journalist, writer and
mother of four children. She was an editor for PC World magazine,
where she wrote on business and technology, before leaving journalism
to chase the “Internet dream” in the mid-90s. She has since returned
to her true passion, writing, and has authored articles on topics
including politics, business, lifestyle and women’s issues. She is
currently working on an anthology of essays, Torn: True Stories of
Kids, Career and the Conflict of Modern Motherhood. Samantha is a Phi
Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University and has a Masters in
Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Virginia.
Berta Davis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
at UCLA and Co-Director of the couple and sex therapy training program
of American Association of Couples and Sex Therapists. She served on
the board of directors of the Los Angeles County Psychological
Association for over twenty-five years. She is currently in private
practice in Encino and Beverly Hills, where she helps individuals and
couples cope with the challenging task of balancing career and family.
More about the book TORN:
How did the book come to fruition?
Editor Samantha Parent Walravens is an Ivy League graduate with a
Masters in Literature and Women’s Studies. The book, TORN, evolved as
a response to her conversations with many professional, career-focused
women-- who were also mothers-- about how they managed to “do it all.”
She was looking for solutions to the work-life balance dilemma after
her own feelings of failure in juggling kids and career. Despite her
best efforts to work at a fast-paced software start-up AND be a mother
to 2 young boys, she realized that she just couldn’t do it all.
“Torn is a poignant look at how a generation of mothers is trying to
forge its own identity while honoring the legacy of 60s and 70s
feminism. Sometimes freedom can be its own trap, and this book
illustrates that principle beautifully."
-- Neal Pollack, Vanity Fair columnist and author of Alternadad and Stretch
“As a therapist who sees many women ‘torn’ between the conflicting
demands of motherhood, marriage and career, I believe the deep empathy
and understanding created by these remarkably honest and moving
personal testimonies makes this book a "must read" both for women
struggling to create work-life balance and for men trying to
understand the plight of the women in their lives.”
-- Dr. Geraldine Alpert, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California
Medical School, San Francisco
“With Torn, Samantha Walravens offers a diverse collection of voices
making a valuable contribution to our ongoing discussion about trying
to maintain a career while raising a family. These writers are
sometimes rueful and sometimes quite raw, but always compellingly
honest. They insist we set aside guilt and judgement and instead
listen to their truths -- complicated and difficult as they are -- in
the hope that someday our children will feel less torn.”
- Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief, LiteraryMama.com and co-editor,
Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life
“Torn speaks a bold, discomfiting truth: there is no easy solution
when it comes to balancing career and parenting. These unflinchingly
honest stories reveal the unusually high stakes of women's choices
about work and family-- for their marriage, their children, their
career, their financial life, and especially for their own identity.
This book is a vital contribution to the conversation about the value
of domestic life and the hidden costs of work for women and their
families. Offering neither easy solutions nor judgment, its hope lies
in its willingness to fully engage the messy realities that so many
women face every day.”
-- Lisa Harper, author of A Double Life, Discovering Motherhood
(Winner of the 2010 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Award)
"Suffice it to say that I started reading the book in the subway and
missed my stop! These little essays, often poignant, capture where
American mothers find themselves today."
- Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and
Founder/Director of the Center for Work-Life Law, University of
California, Hastings College of the Law
“Finally, a reality-based look at life, love and motherhood for real
women from real women. No quick fixes or fantasy escapes here. Just
good, old-fashioned, in-the-trenches camaraderie that lets you know
you are not alone and that the fight is worth it. Really!”
- Allison Glock, author of the award-winning memoir Beauty Before
Comfort and mother of two girls she still hugs in public
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