In "Strong Stuff: Mothers' Stories," eighty-four American mothers tell their own stories, intimately, candidly, in their own words. These women form a cross section of the mothers in America today: rich and poor; black, white, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American; Jewish, Catholic, protestant, and Amish; married and single; lesbian and straight; employed in a variety of occupations and at-home-by-choice; mothers in prison; teenage mothers and mothers who are great-grandmothers; Midwest farm mothers, mothers from New England, the South, and the West; homeless mothers; mothers of only children and mothers of many, many children; adoptive mothers and step-mothers.
The individual stories are grouped into seven chapters. Each chapter has a brief introduction, which is followed by the stories. Chapters are:
Mothers and Fathers
Each story begins with the woman's name (pseudonym), a quote called out from the story, and a few introductory sentences about the mother and her connection to this particular chapter. An index of issues and of mothers' situations makes it easy for anyone to find all references, for instance, to teenage mothers or to managing teenagers.