Skip to content
FREE SHIPPING ON ALL DOMESTIC ORDERS $35+
FREE SHIPPING ON ALL US ORDERS $35+

Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change

Availability:
in stock, ready to be shipped
Save 8% Save 8%
Original price $25.99
Original price $25.99 - Original price $25.99
Original price $25.99
Current price $23.99
$23.99 - $23.99
Current price $23.99
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

From the acclaimed author of Like a Mother comes a reflection on the state of caregiving in America, and an exploration of mothering as a means of social change.

The Covid-19 pandemic shed fresh light on a long-overlooked truth: mothering is among the only essential work humans do. In response to the increasing weight placed on mothers and caregivers—and the lack of a social safety net to support them—writer Angela Garbes found herself pondering a vital question: How, under our current circumstances that leave us lonely, exhausted, and financially strained, might we demand more from American family life?

In Essential Labor, Garbes explores assumptions about care, work, and deservedness, offering a deeply personal and rigorously reported look at what mothering is, and can be. A first-generation Filipino-American, Garbes shares the perspective of her family's complicated relationship to care work, placing mothering in a global context—the invisible economic engine that has been historically demanded of women of color.

Garbes contends that while the labor of raising children is devalued in America, the act of mothering offers the radical potential to create a more equitable society. In Essential Labor, Garbes reframes the physically and mentally draining work of meeting a child's bodily and emotional needs as opportunities to find meaning, to nurture a deeper sense of self, pleasure, and belonging. This is highly skilled labor, work that impacts society at its most foundational level.

Part galvanizing manifesto, part poignant narrative, Essential Labor is a beautifully rendered reflection on care that reminds us of the irrefutable power and beauty of mothering.

ISBN-13: 9780062937360

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 05-10-2022

Pages: 256

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Angela Garbes is the author of Like a Mother, an NPR Best Book of the Year and finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Cut, New York, Bon Appétit, and featured on NPR's Fresh Air. She lives with her family in Seattle.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I A Personal History of Mothering in America

1 Mothering as Survival 23

2 Mothering as Valuable Labor 47

3 Mothering as Erotic Labor 66

4 Mothering as Human Interdependence 82

Part II Exploring Mothering as Social Change

5 Mothering Insists on Worthiness 107

6 Mothering as Encouraging Appetites 128

7 Mothering Toward Movement 145

8 Mothering for Pleasure 168

9 Mothering as Natural Interdependence 188

Acknowledgments 209

Notes 213