All The Rage: Mothers, Fathers and the Myth of Equal Partnership by Darcy Lockman | Harper | Book Review

All The Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership

All The Rage by Darcy Lockman

Book Summary:

Journalist-turned-psychologist Darcy Lockman offers a clear-eyed look at the most pernicious problem facing modern parents—how progressive relationships become traditional ones when children are introduced into the household.

In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data shows that one area of gender inequality stubbornly persists: the disproportionate amount of parental work that falls to women, no matter their background, class, or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work full-time and agree that tasks should be equally shared, mothers’ household management, mental labor, and childcare contributions still outweigh fathers’. 

How, in a culture that pays lip service to women’s equality and lauds the benefits of father involvement—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children?

Counting on male partners who will share the burden, women today have been left with what political scientists call unfulfilled, rising expectations. Historically these unmet expectations lie at the heart of revolutions, insurgencies, and civil unrest. If so many couples are living this way, and so many women are angered or just exhausted by it, why do we remain so stuck? Where is our revolution, our insurgency, our civil unrest?

Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own marriage as a ground zero case study, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the ways in which both men and women unintentionally perpetuate old norms.

If we can all agree that equal pay for equal work should be a given, can the same apply to unpaid work? Can justice finally come home?

Publication Date:

May 5th, 2019

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

All The Rage by Darcy Lockman

All The Rage

I listened to All The Rage on Audible and wow, what a powerful read! Darcy Lockman shares a well researched and relatable look at social expectations, male privilege, and sexism when it comes to parenting in the 21st century. Lockman uses studies, research, interviews with parents, and her own personal experiences which results in a well balanced and deeply impactful look at the gender inequity that working mothers still face today and the mental load women face as mothers.

Who Should Read This?

Whether you are a parent or thinking about becoming one someday, this book is so insightful and thought-provoking. I appreciated Lockman’s personal experiences as they related to many issues we faced in our own experiences as partners and parents. While many people think “this won’t happen to me” a large percentage of family’s fall into the expectations that have become ingrained in our society.

Lockman shares…

“In the language of family studies, women and men do not develop the same ‘parental consciousness’ when they transition into mother- and fatherhood; they continue on separate and unequal paths of knowing or not knowing as their children change and grow. Parental consciousness is the awareness of the needs of children accompanied by the steady process of thinking about those needs. Women have come to call it the mental load, and in those relatively egalitarian households where men share daycare pickup and put away clean laundry, it’s the aspect of childrearing most likely…to ‘stimulate marital tension between mothers and fathers”

Reactions to All The Rage:

I have loved reading the reviews for this book on Goodreads and they vary greatly. Many shared that this book was depressing, filled with anger, bitterness and/or a dig at men. I did find this book to be hard to listen to at times, but mostly because I wish I had been able to read this before I became a parent! I think anything that makes you feel strongly is wonderful because it gets you thinking.

I learned a lot about why we are the way we are and so much of it has been entrenched in our society and family dynamics for centuries even as women’s roles have changed and evolved so much over time.  It doesn’t matter how much you think “this won’t happen to us!” it is very easy to fall into being the “default” parent once parenthood hits you like a ton of bricks.

I think it is important to state that this doesn’t mean your partner is a terrible person or sits around doing nothing. The emotional labor of motherhood is hard to explain but it is real and many women feel like they are just drowning in it. The invisible mental load of motherhood is often the hardest and because it is hard to “see” it is also the hardest to change.

What We Have Learned So Far…

One of the biggest learning lessons my husband and I have (slowly) figured out during our 9 years of parenting together is that talking about something before it happens is always the way to go. Talking early and talking often is key and allows us to discuss our hopes and expectations before the resentment and disappointment build up because it inevitably will.

When our first son arrived in 2019 we quickly fell into the assumed roles of parenthood with little to no discussion about what that might look or feel like. 9 years later we have worked hard to establish better equity and partnership in our home but deeply ingrained norms are hard to change and the pressures come from outside of the home as well. This is a continued work in progress as our family grows and changes over time. We definitely have it all figured out but we work hard on it every day.

My Takeaway…

I highly recommend this book and would really recommend it for people who are hoping to have a family someday. There is so much power when we have the ability to reflect and make choices proactively. While Lockman didn’t have all the answers, she gives many tools for us to reflect on what we can change and do in our own lives to help with parity and equity in parenthood.

 

 

3 thoughts on “All The Rage: Mothers, Fathers and the Myth of Equal Partnership by Darcy Lockman | Harper | Book Review

  1. I haven’t read the book, but I am curious about it.

    My own kids are 17 and 20, so the days of a heavier childcare burden are long behind me.

    I do think women should take a close look a the men they marry to get a grasp on what he might look like as a dad. If he is disorganized and sloppy before kids, chances are that won’t change with marriage.

    I have worked very part time when my kids were younger. Now I work full time. I think mostly my husband and I have divided up things fairly. There are some things he usually does, like shoveling snow and yard work. There are other things I usually do like make most of the meals and do most of the shopping.

    I think part of the problem is that parents are still not raising their children to share the burden equally. Or we aren’t even teaching boys the basic skills they will need when they fly the nest. I still have a few things that I need to teach the 17 year old before he goes away to college in a year.

    I also think families make things too complicated. A smaller house will mean less labor. Buying a house where your kids can hopefully walk to school can make things simpler.

    It doesn’t sound like any men were interviewed. I would be curious what they would say. My husband has always taken on the jobs I never wanted anything to do with like taking care of the dead fish or the dead hamster.

    That being said I think there should be equity in household responsibilities. I think the conversation needs to start long before a couple has kids though. It sounds like you and your husband are good at having those conversations.

    1. Wow, Kate!! Thank you so much for sharing such a detailed replied. I appreciate your perspective so much, especially as a parent with older kids. I absolutely agree that these conversations need to happen BEFORE you are in the thick of it.

      I also am glad you mentioned the part about raising kids to share the household tasks, which not only alleviates some of the burden but also teaches them important life skills. Our son just turned 9 and this is really something we have been thinking about in the last few months and are really trying to make part of our everyday routine but your comment was a great reminder of how important it is!

      Thanks again for sharing. <3

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