Meredith O'Brien
Do you pay attention to how the mom characters are portrayed on your favorite TV shows? Loathe the so-called "mommy wars" on which the news media love to focus? Each week, Meredith O'Brien's Working Moms in Pop Culture & Politics column provides a reality check on how TV shows, movies, and the media depict moms. A longtime journalist and mother of three, Meredith O'Brien formerly taught journalism at the University of Massachusetts, is the author of A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum and writes the Picket Fence Post blog for GateHouse Media. Follow Meredith on Twitter: @MeredithOBrien

The New First Kids.

He’s already got a big decision to make: Should he buy the golden retriever-poodle his 10-year-old daughter wants or should his family go with another breed to be the First Pet? more

Complicated Transitions.

Adoption after infertility. Single at-home parenthood after losing a job. Entering the work force after raising five children. more

Designing a Vice-Presidential Candidate.

Did they expect her to accept the nomination for the vice presidency while wearing a fleece vest or something with a down liner from the North Face? Do interviews with network news anchors while clad in denim? Maybe with a stained burp cloth tossed over her shoulder? more

TV Tells us to Drop the Guilt.

Parental guilt can be nefarious. It can infiltrate and consume your thoughts when you’re at work or when you’re trying to get some much-needed shut-eye as you try to make a mental list of everything you can’t miss and everything you need to do. more

Pop Culture Civility.

Not to sound as though I just stepped off of the set of a Frank Capra-esque film wearing rose-colored glasses and humming “God Bless America,” but the ugly turn that this presidential election has taken in the recent week has been quite dispiriting to someone who wants to see genuine debate on important issues. more

Desperate Housewives: No Longer Desperate Plotlines.

After a disappointing couple of seasons, the queen mother of suburban satires seems to have finally returned to form. more

Show of (Aging) Hands.

Forget the presidential debates, the august, uber-serious civic affairs where candidates sit at polished tables or walk around on a red, white and blue stage answering questions from a journalist/moderator or from mere citizens whose questions have been screened to make sure dimwits don’t inquire about candidate underwear preferences. more

Mixed Messages.

A casual observer of American popular culture in the past 10 days would find it awash in contradictions, more specifically, mired in mixed messages about what we want and expect from successful women. more

Moms in Prime-Time This Fall.

As the real life drama about historic convention speeches and American political firsts plays out on news stations and draws millions of viewers, the new fall TV season has begun in earnest, leaving network execs crossing their fingers in hopes there will be a ratings boost for scripted programs, which were hobbled last spring by the writers’ strike. more

Tempest in a Lipstick Tube.

I'm usually among the first to jump all over people who criticize women based on their gender or their motherhood. (In the past few weeks, I've slammed the critics who've nastily labeled Sarah Palin a "bad mom" for having the nerve to run for public office when she has a baby at home and a pregnant teenaged daughter, even though her husband is caring for the kids.) more

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