Reading Mom Lit: Feminism, Postfeminism and the Maternal Dilemma

Author: Srijanee Roy, Rishi Bankim Chandra College, West Bengal, India
Published: July 29, 2022

Citation: Roy, S. (2022). Reading Mom Lit: Feminism, Postfeminism and the Maternal Dilemma. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 9(1).


The present paper intends to look at a genre of popular paperbacks, written by and about would-be or new mothers, called mom lit, which itself is a sub-genre of chick lit, and to investigate how it negotiates with the tropes of mothering, neotraditionalism, work and domesticity. Though books have been published worldwide that can be classified under this genre, here the focus will be on British and American mom lit (limiting ourselves to three novels) and how the legacy of a variety of popular productions like childcare books and mothering blogs – among others – inform it. A review of the critical literature, feminist as well as postfeminist, will be undertaken so as to contextualize these novels. Issues analysed include the debate regarding the performance capabilities of working mothers, the influence of self-help books in structuring the mother’s consciousness, the cycle of trying to balance work and children, “time-debt” and its attendant feelings of guilt, the psycho-somatic disorders that correspond to motherhood, and the issues of single parenting and unconventional motherhood. This analysis highlights the treatment given these issues in mom lit novels. As an inadequately investigated genre of popular writing, mom lit’s ascent to prominence and eventual waning off is critically considered.


chick lit, feminism, mom lit, mommy blogs, postfeminism