Doing It All: The Social Power of Single Motherhood (Hardcover)

Doing It All: The Social Power of Single Motherhood By Ruby Russell Cover Image
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A feminist exploration of single motherhood and a passionate call to reclaim the power of mothering 

In the United States, one child in five is raised by a single mother. Yet the single mom is still cast as victim or welfare queen, sexually irresponsible or too independent for her own (or her children’s) good.    

In Doing It All,journalist and single mother Ruby Russell tells a different story, of single mothering not defined by loss but whole and powerful in its own right. She finds narratives of liberation in Victorian brothels and postwar British slums, in Black feminist theory and the grassroots activism of women fighting for welfare rights.

Doing It All is a personal quest for empowerment, a fierce critique of the systems that leave single moms marginalized and exhausted, and a call to reclaim mothering as the life force of sustainable, connected, and radically responsible communities.   

About the Author


Ruby Russell is a single mom and environmental journalist. Originally from London, she currently lives in Berlin, Germany, with her kid and their cat.  

Praise For…


“A feisty new addition to feminist thinking…it mightily encourages dreams of a society where mothering is the most important activity of all.”—Irish Independent

Doing It All is a fascinating and compelling exploration of motherhood beyond the confines of the patriarchy. Anchored in Ruby Russell’s own experience as a single mother, Doing It All is at once deeply personal and profoundly political—with courage, compassion, and generosity, Russell presents an intersectional history which honors single motherhood in all its complexity, while exposing the structural forces that have long sought to diminish acts of mothering that exist outside of male control. Bold, revelatory, and a joy to read, Doing It All will ignite much-needed conversations about the communal and collective power of single mothers. A brilliant book, fearlessly told.”—Elinor Cleghorn, author of Unwell Women

“In this lucid and liberating book, Russell shows how single motherhood exposes the idiocy of the ‘biological clock’; throws light on concepts of choice, freedom, responsibility and fulfilment; and reveals the shortcomings of society’s organization of childrearing for all.”—Eliane Glaser, author of Motherhood

“Russell’s Doing It All is a riveting memoir-cum–cri-de-coeur–cum-manifesto for envisioning motherhood anew—as the anchor for a society built on caring, connection, and sustaining each other and the earth. Deftly marrying history with her own story, Russell gives us a vision of single mothers as avatars of a better world. It is a world we can all embrace, and all aspire to.”—Kirsten Swinth, author of Feminism’s Forgotten Fight

“A probing meditation on how society fails unmarried mothers…Buoyed by searching analysis and affecting stories, this makes a persuasive case for normalizing alternatives to the nuclear family.”—Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9781541602199
ISBN-10: 1541602196
Publisher: Seal Press
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English