Gottlieb, Chris. “Reflections on Judging Mothering.” University of Baltimore Law Review 39 (Spring 2010): 1–12.
Chris Gottlieb opens this article with personal experiences of strangers passing judgment on her mothering - she recalling strangers admonishing her for perceived flaws in the way she held her child, read to him, etc. She then connects these experiences to those of the women she has defended in the child welfare system. Gottlieb argues that the societal acceptance of judging mothers plays out in a racist and classist way through the child welfare system, and results in poor women of color being much more likely to lose their children. Highlighting the connections between the social judging of white middle class mothers and the state’s judgment of poor mothers of color in the child welfare system, she argues that mothers of all socioeconomic classes should find solidarity with women in the child welfare system. Gottlieb uses recent pro-choice tactics in the abortion context as an analogy from which to learn lessons - she argues that wealthier, white women know that their access to abortion is unlikely to be fully curtailed, but that restrictions will hurt poor women, and yet they still fight passionately against those restrictions and discuss the class, race, and gender dimensions of their struggle.
This article provides an accessible and conversational discussion of how the United States society judges mothers and why it affects all women. It is useful for anyone interested in tactics to address problems in our child welfare system.