‘Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood’ Is Our February Book Club Pick!


One of the many inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the surface is undoubtedly the impractical balancing act that is modern motherhood. And while the unsustainability of simultaneously being a parent, partner, teacher, personal chef, employee, homemaker, and, well, a generally happy and healthy person was made clear by all of the TikToks and op-eds, in which parents commiserated as early as March 2020, the truth is that this issue existed long before the pandemic began. And though much of life has resumed for many of us, very little has changed for parents. 

We still don’t have universal paid parental leave, and the ongoing pandemic continues to regularly force parents to make difficult (and often impossible) decisions regarding work, health, and childcare. On top of that, the expenses involved in raising a child are ridiculously high, especially as the cost of basic necessities like food and housing surge across the country. If all of this has left you feeling outraged, helpless, and too tired to function, we hear you. And we feel the same way. 

This month’s SELF Well-Read Book Club pick, Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood, explores these issues through writer Jessica Grose’s own experiences, as well as those of the 100 parents around the world whom she interviewed along the way. Screaming on the Inside is a book about exploring something we often try to avoid—feelings of failure—as we attempt to claw our way towards an imaginary ideal. But through Grose’s analyses and stories, the narrative reveals a deeper truth for parents, particularly women: Your inability to feel like you’re glowing and thriving is not your fault. Amongst the plethora of systemic failures and the lack of a social safety net, you are doing the best you can.

If you’re unfamiliar with Grose’s work, we’re thrilled to introduce you to her: An opinion writer at The New York Times, Grose covers parenting, family life, women’s health, and culture. In 2020 she was named a Glamour Game Changer for her coverage of family life during the COVID-19 pandemic (a topic she writes about in Screaming on the Inside too). While this book is about American motherhood, as described in its title, we think it’s a necessary read for any parent, anyone who loves a parent, anyone who is considering becoming a parent, or anyone who simply wants to learn more about building  communities and systems that actually enable the next generation to thrive. 

What’s next? 

  • Buy the book here
  • Check out our recommended reading list below for a collection of SELF articles on what it’s like to be a parent today. 
  • Save the date: SELF’s digital director, Amy Eisinger, will be hosting an Instagram Live conversation with Jessica Grose on Tuesday, February 28 at 12 p.m. ET. Follow @selfmagazine to tune in. 

Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood

Recommended reading for Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood

Before it all begins: 

The early days: 



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