1st Edition

Contemporary Motherhood The Impact of Children on Adult Time

By Lyn Craig Copyright 2007

    In this timely book Lyn Craig provides the first comprehensive account of how parents divide their time between caring for children, housework, paid work and leisure. Using large-scale quantitative time-use data , the book provides a detailed analysis of the impact of children upon adult time. This research reveals a unique picture of how parenthood affects daily life within households, and how people’s (paid and unpaid) workload is affected by parenthood. By looking at how the costs and benefits of children are currently conceptualized and apportioned, Contemporary Motherhood shows what becoming a mother entails and why it is so challenging to raise children. Suggesting an explanation for why fertility rates are dramatically dropping, the book makes a significant contribution to the debate on contemporary motherhood and will interest scholars and students in sociology and social policy with an interest in the sociology of the family, gender and sexuality, and the sociology of youth.

    Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Approach, Data and Method; Chapter 3 The Time Penalty of Parenthood; Chapter 4; Chapter 5; Chapter 6; Chapter 7; Chapter 8 Conclusion;


    Lyn Craig is an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.

    'This book reveals how parents divide their time between caring for children, housework, paid work, and leisure in Australia and other nations, and how gender structures time use. Through careful analysis of time use data and astute conceptual synthesis, Lyn Craig shows us the "big picture" of the costs and benefits of children in modern society.' Paula England, Stanford University, USA 'In this book Craig sets out to reveal the hidden cost of parenthood through a detailed analysis of the impact of children on adult time. The result is a carefully argued book that presents a rich picture of how Australian mothers and fathers spend their time and in the process reveals the inadequacy of current social policy... This book is well structured and carefully signposted making it easy to read or dip into. Its strength is the careful analysis of time-use data which provides us with the information needed to inform debate and underpin social policy... Contemporary Motherhood is... an important resource for researchers, policy makers and writers. It makes a significant contribution to ongoing public discussion about how we care for each other and ourselves.' Australian Policy Online, 06.03.08 Craig’s work offers an insightful and comprehensive account of the time demands of parenthood. The data analyzed here provides important new insights into gender divisions in the home, including for the first time, a detailed understanding of gender differences in the performance of primary and secondary caring activities. The book will have broad appeal to researchers, academics and policy makers. It is highly readable and engaging and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the dynamics of contemporary family life.’ Janeen Baxter, The University of Queensland, Australia This excellent analysis of recent national time use survey data in Australia and in three other countries will make an important contribution to the literature on gender, parenting and work. It will be of st