1 Throughout the book, names of people and places, as well as in for mant biographi-
cal and narrative details, have been altered to preserve anonymity.
2 In her history of “the myths of motherhood,” Shari L. Thurer writes, “The vulner-
ability of children makes us fervently want to be our best selves, to embody tender
nurturance and sweet concern. . . . [H]ow our children turn out has become the
final judgment on our lives.” Myths of Motherhood, xiii.
3 See, for example, Douglas and Michaels, Mommy Myth; and Hays, Cultural Contra-
dictions of Motherhood.
4 Cooper, Cut Adrift, 23. Cooper argues that mothering today figures as a security
proj ect. Specifically, for middle-class families in par tic u lar, this security proj ect is
about “holding on” as women deal with job losses, debt, and increasing levels of
financial insecurity.
5 The proj ect builds on research Julie conducted in gradu ate school with her advisor,
Dr. Laurie Ouellette, on Dr. Phil’s multimedia self- help empire. See Ouellette and
Wilson, Women’s Work.”
6 Ang, “Ethnography and Radical Contextualism,” 250. In addition to Ang’s work,
we also have in mind that of Janice Radway. For methodological discussions,
see Ang, “Ethnography and Radical Contextualism,” and Radway, “Hegemony of
7 We interviewed three mothers who blog. Two of these women are discussed in
chapter 3, the chapter that focuses most heavi ly on digital media, in the section
entitled “Commune.” Other wise, all of the mothers in this study hail from either
the Hugo or Ryeland areas.
8 Bird, Audience in Everyday Life.
9 Couldry, Why Voice Matters, 13.
10 Bird, “Are We All Producers?”
11 On “nonmedia people,” see Couldry, “Playing for Celebrity.”
12 Our work aligns with Valerie Walkerdine’s sensibility: “what is impor tant to me,”
she writes, “is to be able to talk not about subcultures or re sis tance, or an audience
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