Krasnow, Iris 1954(?)–
Krasnow, Iris 1954(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1954 in Oak Park, IL; married Chuck Krasnow (an architect); children: Theo, Isaac, Jack and Zane (twins). Education: Stanford University, graduated.
CAREER: Dallas Times Herald, Dallas, TX, worked as fashion writer; United Press International, Washington, DC, feature writer, 1984–. American University, assistant professor of journalism and writer in residence. Fox Morning News, Baltimore, MD, relationship correspondent; guest on national media programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and Today.
Surrendering to Motherhood: Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul, Miramax Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Surrendering to Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and Other Imperfections, Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Surrendering to Yourself: You Are Your Own Soul Mate, Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: As a correspondent for United Press International, Iris Krasnow has traveled the world interviewing some of its most important and best-known people. The birth of her first son, Theo, when she was thirty-five, did not stop her: she soon went back to work, even more successfully than before. By the time she had four sons, however—the youngest two of whom were twins—Krasnow was ready for what she later called an "epiphany." It came one day when, her nanny having quit, Krasnow was on her hands and knees picking up crumbs of scrambled egg from the carpet. Strangely, she remembers, she felt a rightness about it: this was where she wanted to be.
Krasnow quit her job and began to devote herself to raising her children full-time; during the same period, she worked three hours a day for almost three years writing a book about her choice of lifestyle. An excerpt was published as an essay in the Washington Post in 1994; the entire book was published in 1997 as Surrendering to Motherhood: Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul, and it was a critical as well as a commercial success. In addition to describing Krasnow's experiences, it touts the stay-at-home lifestyle as a desirable one for feminists as well as women who do not consider themselves to be such. Krasnow calls herself a "committed feminist who has chosen to get her power and her freedom by being a mom," as quoted by interviewer Barbara F. Meltz in the Boston Globe. Meltz, a mother and part-time journalist herself, expressed ambivalent empathy with Krasnow's point of view: on bad days, Meltz declared, she is ready to follow Krasnow's advice and chuck career for home, but on good days, she gives the book's message "the context it deserves: that we're lucky to be mothers at a time when so many choices are available." In Meltz's view, Krasnow's book "taps into a guilt all mothers feel to some degree all the time." Both Krasnow and Meltz agreed during the interview that it may be easier for a relatively mature woman who has already achieved worldly success to stay home with children, than for a younger mother who has never had a chance to make her way in the outside world. "I think we all need something to do other than stay home one hundred percent," Krasnow admitted to Meltz, adding that she herself taught a journalism course at night. Her prescription for working mothers was to "align your career with the vision of family in your heart" and to "get creative" by diminishing one's material needs, and by finding work that could be done at home and/or part-time.
Another positive response to Krasnow's book came from Publishers Weekly, whose reviewer, commenting that Krasnow's architect-husband remains in the background of the book, added, "readers are left to marvel at mom's adept handling of her four [sons]." While finding some "elementary feminism," in the book, the reviewer assured readers that "the author's message … seems as sound coming from her as it probably did the first time you heard it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boston Globe, May 8, 1997, interview by Barbara F. Meltz, p. F1.
Detroit News, May 9, 1997.
New Yorker, April 2, 2001, review of Surrendering to Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and Other Imperfections, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, March 31, 1997, review of Surrendering to Motherhood: Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul, p. 55; March 24, 2003, review of Surrendering to Yourself: You Are Your Own Soul Mate, p. 69.
Time, April 23, 2001, review of Surrendering to Marriage, p. 81.
Washington Post Book World, April 29, 2001, review of Surrendering to Marriage, p. 8.
Iris Krasnow Home Page, http://www.iriskrasnow.com (April 8, 2006).