Friday, March 7, 2008

Questionable Categories: SAHM v. "Working" Mom

Just a quickie this morning. This just came to me via Laura from Catalyst--thanks, L!

A nice summary of an interesting sounding article, "Locating Mothers: How Cultural Debates About Stay-at-Home Versus Working Mothers Define Women and Home" by Heather Dillaway ( and Elizabeth Paré:

Most women must decide whether to work for pay while mothering or make mothering their sole social role. Often this decision is portrayed in terms of whether they will be "stay-at-home" and presumably "full-time" mothers, or "working mothers" and therefore ones who prioritize paid work over caregiving. Inferred within this construction is women's physical location as well—either women are at home or work, not both. In this article, the authors explore common conceptualizations of stay-at-home versus working motherhood, as evidenced by feminist family scholarship and recent media items. To keep in tune with contemporary media conversations, the authors begin to investigate what cultural discourse about these mothers also illustrates about our definitions of home, and the individuals and activities that exist within this space. In writing this conceptual piece, the authors' goal is to initiate further feminist research on motherhood and paid work, and women's locations while engaging in both.

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