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Author Hays, Sharon, 1956-
Title The cultural contradictions of motherhood / Sharon Hays.
Imprint New Haven : Yale University Press, [1996]

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Author Hays, Sharon, 1956-
Subject Motherhood.
Mothers -- United States.
Mothers -- psychology.
Women, Working -- psychology.
Maternal Behavior -- psychology.
Child Rearing.
Mother-Child Relations.
Gender Identity.
United States.
Description 1 online resource (xv, 252 pages)
polychrome rdacc
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 227-244) and index.
Contents Why can't a mother be more like a businessman? -- From rods to reasoning : the historical construction of intensive mothering -- "What every baby knows" : contemporary advice on appropriate child rearing -- Sorting the mail : the social bases of variations in mothering -- Intensive mothering : women's work on behalf of the sacred child -- The mommy wars : ambivalence, ideological work, and the cultural contradictions of motherhood -- Love, self-interest, power, and opposition : untangling the roots of intensive mothering.
Summary Working mothers today confront not only conflicting demands on their time and energy but also conflicting ideas about how they are to behave: they must be nurturing and unselfish while engaged in child rearing but competitive and ambitious at work. As more and more women enter the workplace, it would seem reasonable for society to make mothering a simpler and more efficient task. Instead, Sharon Hays points out in this original and provocative book, an ideology of "intensive mothering" has developed that only exacerbates the tensions working mothers face. Drawing on ideas about mothering since the Middle Ages, on contemporary child-rearing manuals, and on in-depth interviews with mothers from a range of social classes, Hays traces the evolution of the ideology of intensive mothering - an ideology that holds the individual mother primarily responsible for child rearing and dictates that the process is to be child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor-intensive, and financially expensive. Hays argues that these ideas about appropriate mothering stem from a fundamental ambivalence about a system based solely on the competitive pursuit of individual interests. In attempting to deal with our deep uneasiness about self-interest, we have imposed unrealistic and unremunerated obligations and commitments on mothering, making it into an opposing force, a primary field on which this cultural ambivalence is played out.
Note Print version record.
Awards American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, honorable mention, 1998.
ISBN 0585365601 (electronic bk.)
9780585365602 (electronic bk.)
OCLC # 47011108
Additional Format Print version: Hays, Sharon, 1956- Cultural contradictions of motherhood. New Haven : Yale University Press, ©1996 0300066821 (DLC) 96010262 (OCoLC)34356798
Table of Contents
1Why Can't a Mother Be More Like a Businessman?1
2From Rods to Reasoning: The Historical Construction of Intensive Mothering19
3"What Every Baby Knows": Contemporary Advice on Appropriate Child Rearing51
4Sorting the Mail: The Social Bases of Variations in Mothering71
5Intensive Mothering: Women's Work on Behalf of the Sacred Child97
6The Mommy Wars: Ambivalence, Ideological Work, and the Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood131
7Love, Self-Interest, Power, and Opposition: Untangling the Roots of Intensive Mothering152
Appendix AInterview Questions179
Appendix BSurvey Questionnaire182

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