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Hard labour

The sociology of parenthood, family life and career

Caroline Gatrell

Open University Press 2004, 208 s. ISBN 0335214886
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

This book examines changes in family practices and paid work in the 21st century. Focusing principally on highly qualified women who combine the mothering of very young children with employment, it makes a valuable contribution to current debates. Unlike other books in the field that focus on one gender only, this innovative book also takes into account the views of fathers, making it a rounded study of family practice in the new millennium.
The first part of Hard Labour provides an up-to-date, comprehensive and readable overview of the literature on motherhood, fatherhood, family practices, and women in employment. The second part draws on a qualitative study of the lives of 20 mothers and their husbands/partners, each of whom is educated to degree level or above, and has at least one child under five. Key aspects of the family lives of the men and women interviewed are considered, for example how they manage their commitments to one another, their children and their professional work, and how they share out family tasks such as childcare and housework. At each stage, the empirical research is explicitly placed in the context of the literature referenced in the first part, and of the wider debate on career motherhood.
Essential reading for students and academics in sociology, family policy, family studies, women’s or gender studies and the sociology of management/employment.

Part I: Family practices: Motherhood, fatherhood and paid work: an overview of key literature

INTRODUCTION – the structure of the book and an overview of key arguments.

CHAPTER 1: “The impossible dream?” Motherhood and employment

CHAPTER 2: Parents, children and family lives

CHAPTER 3: “Domestic Goddesses”? The sociology of motherhood in
Britain and the U.S.A.

CHAPTER 4: “Money bags” and the “invisible” father

CHAPTER 5: Working for love or money? The motivation of mothers
to undertake paid work

Part 2: Doing it all and having some of it: the experiences of working mothers and fathers

INTRODUCTION TO Part 2

CHAPTER 6: Baby, you changed my life …:
The transition to motherhood – and fatherhood - and the “shock of the new”

CHAPTER 7: Pink jobs and blue jobs – the domestic division of labour

CHAPTER 8: Everything I do, I do it for you:
The commitment to children and career.

CHAPTER 9: Everyone is equal….?:
Parenthood and workplace discrimination.

CHAPTER 10: “My children must become our children”:
The duality of systems – and recommendations for the future