Flanagan's take on why modern mothers are conflicted about their roles is so witty and well researchedshe quotes sources ranging from Queen Elizabeth's childhood nanny to Total Woman Marabel Morganthat it's easy to overlook that she offers no evidence to back up her chief notion "that women have a deeply felt emotional connection to housekeeping." Coming from someone who admits she doesn't change her sheets or clean her house (the maid does it), it's hard to take this assertion seriously. But then, while Flanagan is a staff writer for the New Yorker and a regular essayist for the Atlantic, she's more a polemicist here than journalist. The problem is her self-contradictions. Flanagan is fed up with what she sees as self-indulgent upper-middle-class mommies (like herself and unlike her mother's generation) who have elevated motherhood at the expense of housekeeping, which she sees as a lost art. Yet she goes into great and fascinating detail about her relationship with the nanny she hired after giving birth to twins. Flanagan is particularly disdainful of feminists who "imposed" a narrative of oppression on women. The author claims she's not a cook, but in her debut book she proves herself to be one heck of a pot-stirrer.