1st Edition

Managing Mothers Dual Earner Households After Maternity Leave

By Julia Brannen, Peter Moss Copyright 1991
    296 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1991, Managing Mothers (now with a new preface by the authors) provides a detailed, authoritative inside story of the lives of parents, and particularly mothers, who return to work after the birth of a first child. It is based on a study of couples who have combined the transition to parenthood with two full-time jobs in the labour market. The authors provide extensive personal accounts from interviews and statistical data that shed light on the experience and significance of this growing social group. They reveal that mothers are the main managers of the dual-earner lifestyle; hence, they are the principal characters in this story as the authors explore women’s occupational mobility, their social networks, social and emotional support, and psychological health.

    The book exposes a variety of constraints upon women: the continuing power of unsupportive ideologies concerning breadwinning, marriage and family life; the failure of government to organize good quality childcare; the failure of employers to make provisions that would enable parents to fulfil their employment and domestic responsibilities; and the failure of husbands to take an equal share in household work. An understanding of these constraints is essential if the increased need for women in the labour market is to lead to better and more equal employment for women and the removal of the ‘double burden’ that weighs so heavily on many working mothers. This volume will be a beneficial read for students and researchers of sociology and psychology.

    1. Introduction  2. The study  3. Parental employment and childcare in Britain in the 1980s  4. Women’s employment histories and careers after childbirth   5. Childbirth and occupational mobility  6. Childbirth and the meaning of employment  7. Employed mothers – ideologies and experiences  8. The well-being of mothers  9. Fathers’ employment  10. Managing the dual earner lifestyle  11. Employed mothers and marriage  12. Social networks and the availability of informal support  13. The experience of social network support  14. Conclusions


    Julia Brannen has been a researcher at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education and Society since 1982 and in the early 1990s was made a Reader and then Professor. Throughout this time, she has raised funding for research in the field of family life including from government, ESRC and from the EU. She was a co-founder of The International Journal of Social Research Methodology, that she coedited for 17 years.

    Peter Moss is Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. He has researched and written on many subjects including early childhood education and care, and the relationship between early childhood and compulsory education; the relationship between employment, care and gender; and democracy in education. Much of his work has been cross-national, and he has led a European Commission network on childcare and an international network on parental leave.