Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving

A moving account of working mothers’ daily lives—and the revolution in public policy and culture needed to improve them


May 5, 2020
5.25 x 8 in.
12 b/w illus. 4 tables.
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The work-family conflict that mothers experience today is a national crisis. Women struggle to balance breadwinning with the bulk of parenting, and social policies aren’t helping. Of all Western industrialized countries, the United States ranks dead last for supportive work-family policies. Can American women look to Europe for solutions? Making Motherhood Work draws on interviews that Caitlyn Collins conducted over five years with 135 middle-class working mothers in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the United States. She explores how women navigate work and family given the different policy supports available in each country. Taking readers into women’s homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces, Collins shows that mothers’ expectations depend on context and that policies alone cannot solve women’s struggles. With women held to unrealistic standards, the best solutions demand that we redefine motherhood, work, and family.

This edition includes discussion questions for reading groups.

Book club discussion questions

Awards and Recognition

  • Co-Winner of the William J. Goode Book Award, Family Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the PROSE Award in Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology, Association of American Publishers
  • Winner of the Bronze Medal in Women / Minorities in Business, Axiom Business Book Awards