Women, Work, and Family: Balancing and Weaving

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Angela Hattery

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  • Understanding Families

    Series Editors: Bert N. Adams, University of Wisconsin

    David M. Klein, University of Notre Dame

    This book series examines a wide range of subjects relevant to studying families. Topics include, but are not limited to, theory and conceptual design, research methods on the family, racial/ethnic families, mate selection, marriage, family power dynamics, parenthood, divorce and remarriage, custody issues, and aging families.

    The series is aimed primarily at scholars working in family studies, sociology, psychology, social work, ethnic studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and related fields as they focus on the family. Volumes will also be useful for graduate and undergraduate courses in sociology of the family, family relations, family and consumer sciences, social work and the family, family psychology, family history, cultural perspectives on the family, and others.

    Books appearing in Understanding Families are either single- or multiple-authored volumes or concisely edited books of original chapters on focused topics within the broad interdisciplinary field of marriage and family.

    The books are reports of significant research, innovations in methodology, treatises on family theory, syntheses of current knowledge in a family subfield, or advanced textbooks. Each volume meets the highest academic standards and makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of marriages and families.

    • Multiracial Couples: Black and White Voices, Paul C. Rosenblatt, Terri A. Karis, and Richard D. Powell
    • Understanding Latino Families: Scholarship, Policy, and Practice, Edited by Ruth E. Zambrana
    • Current Widowhood: Myths & Realities, Helena Znaniecka Lopata
    • Family Theories: An Introduction, David M. Klein and James M. White
    • Understanding Differences Between Divorced and Intact Families, Ronald L. Simons and Associates
    • Adolescents, Work, and Family: An Intergenerational Developmental Analysis, Jeylan T. Mortimer and Michael D. Finch
    • Families and Time: Keeping Pace in a Hurried Culture, Kerry J. Daly
    • No More Kin: Exploring Race, Class, and Gender in Family Networks, Anne R. Roschelle
    • Contemporary Parenting: Challenges and Issues, Edited by Terry Arendell
    • Families Making Sense of Death, Janice Winchester Nadeau
    • Black Families in Corporate America, Susan D. Toliver
    • Reshaping Fatherhood: The Social Construction of Shared Parenting, Anna Dienhart
    • Problem Solving in Families: Research and Practice, Samuel Vchinich
    • African American Children: Socialization and Development in Families, Shirley A Hill
    • Black Men and Divorce, Erma Jean Lawson and Aaron Thompson
    • Romancing the Honeymoon: Consummating Marriage in Modern Society, Kris Bulcroft, Linda Smeins, and Richard Bulcroft
    • The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home, Frances Goldscheider and Calvin Goldscheider
    • Families and Communes: An Examination of Nontraditional Lifestyles, William L. Smith
    • Women, Work, and Family: Balancing and Weaving, Angela Hattery

    Copyright

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    Dedication

    To Travis and Emma

    Acknowledgments

    As authors always note, the writing of a book, though an extremely solitary endeavor, could not be done without the help and advice of many people. I would like to acknowledge publicly those who have helped me with this book.

    I would first like to thank Bert Adams and David Klein, the editors. They encouraged me to consider submitting my dissertation manuscript to the NCFR Student/New Professional Book Contest. Also, they have lived up to their word in being “hands-on” editors. They have read multiple drafts of the manuscript and have given tremendous advice regarding both the manuscript itself and the process of turning a dissertation into a book. I am grateful to them. I thank the anonymous reviewers for the NCFR Student/New Professional Book Contest for their constructive criticism. I also thank the anonymous reviewers who provided comment after the manuscript had been drafted. Their feedback pushed me to be more critical and precise. Though difficult at times, incorporating their suggestions has made the final product substantially more readable and accurate.

    I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee. Though the book has been rewritten so extensively that it bears little resemblance to the original manuscript, the advice they offered contributed to the project on which this book is based. Thank you to Jim Sweet and Jane Piliavin, who provided mentorship throughout the project, and to Nadine Marx and Gary Sandefur, who served as nonreaders but whose advice was helpful nonetheless. At the dissertation stage, this project received financial support from the E. A. Ross Memorial Fund and the Janet Hyde Dissertation Award, both at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

    I would also like to thank others who offered advice or assistance on the project. Thank you to Pam Rathbun for her help in developing the measures, and to Margy Syse and Lisa Drummond, who performed transcription, thus allowing me to focus on the analysis. Additional transcription was performed by Melissa Otto, who later became Melissa Freetly when she married my brother-in-law. She has just become a mother, and I hope this book will ease her process in balancing and weaving work and family. Thank you to Shawn Ahern-Djamali; Neil Freetly, my brother-in-law and Melissa's husband; Michele Laux; and Steve Schollmeyer, all of whom helped with mailing the original survey. Thank you to Michelle Panos and Jeff Schulz for help with data entry, and to Nancy Annis, who took the lead in formatting the second survey for production.

    During the summer and autumn of 1999, I worked arduously to turn the dissertation into a book. Several Wake Forest undergraduates read various drafts of manuscript chapters and offered their advice. I am grateful to Julie Cowley, Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick, Robert O'Kelly, and Rebecca Strimer. Craig Zakrzewski and Ben Stafford did wonderful work on formatting, compiling, and checking the bibliography. And Jim Fitzpatrick worked as my research assistant over the summer of 1999. He is an excellent writer, and his comments on the drafts have contributed substantially to the readability of the manuscript. Perhaps more important, the brainstorming sessions he shared with me clearly advanced my own thinking.

    Emily Kane has been both my graduate school advisor/mentor and my close friend since 1989, the year I entered graduate school and she became an assistant professor. Emily's mentoring allowed me to grow as a scholar and as a feminist. I thank her for allowing me the freedom to develop in ways that best suited me. Her influences are apparent throughout the manuscript. She has tirelessly read every draft of this book and offered constructive criticism that has advanced my own thinking about the power of ideology in the social world.

    Finally, there are the personal thank yous. Thank you to my parents, Bob and Diane Hattery. You told me I could do anything I set my mind to. You served as exemplary role models both professionally and as parents. Your encouragement has been vital to my success. Finally, thank you for reading every chapter of this manuscript. I think your red pens must have run out by the end! Thank you to my spouse, Jim. You pushed me hard at many stages during this project, especially near the end, and you shared the work of home and family so that I could realize this project from start to finish. Thank you to my children, Travis and Emma. Your presence, which forced me to figure out effective ways to weave work and family, has provided the critical standpoint from which I investigate the world and write about it. Thank you for understanding when I needed to write. Finally, to the women who so graciously opened up their lives and homes to me. Without you, there would be no book.

  • Appendix A: Interview Schedule

    This interview, which should last approximately 60 to 90 minutes, will explore in more depth how you and your partner (if you have one) arrived at your current arrangements regarding caring for your children. I am interested specifically in what kinds of things were important to you in determining how to provide care for your children.

    All your responses will be held confidential. In all probability, there will be publications based on the results of this study, but they will not contain identifying material.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you have now, or you may call my advisor, Emily Kane, PhD, at 263–6292 later with questions about the research.

    Your participation is completely voluntary; you may stop participating at any time prior to the completion of the project.

    In addition, I will be tape recording the interview so as to produce the highest-quality data and to eliminate the possibility that I will quote you inaccurately. The tape recordings will be transcribed for analysis. The tapes will be destroyed after all the data have been published. I will ask you on tape to verbally consent to this study.

    I have read the above statement and give my consent to participate in this interview on tape.

    In order to link your questionnaire to this interview and to be sure of the answers to the most important questions, I would like to begin by asking you a few background questions.

    Are you currently married?

    yes no, if no: Are you currently cohabiting? yes no

    Can you please tell me the names and ages of all the people who live in the household and what their relationship is to you?

    Name:Age:Relationship:

    Are you employed outside the home?

    Yes No

    If yes, number of hours per week: ________

    Are you a student?

    Yes No

    If yes, are you enrolled as a full-time student or as a part-time student?

    Do you stay at home full-time caring for your child(ren)?

    Yes No

    Please review for me your child care arrangements for each child.

    Please indicate whether the arrangement is regular or occurs intermittently.

    Name:Age:Arrangement (is it regular or not?):

    Now, I would like to ask you some questions about how you decided how to provide care for your children and what issues were important to you in your decision process.

    Satisfaction with Arrangements

    Overall, please describe your feelings about the ways you and your spouse/partner manage child care.

    Prompts: Do you feel satisfied with your role?

    Do you feel satisfied with his role?

    If there were no boundaries (money, time, job structure), what would you change, if anything?

    Prompts: work more/work less/have spouse provide more care/have different care (a center vs. home day care, etc.)

    The Actual Decision-Making Process

    In terms of the actual decision-making process:

    Please describe the ways in which you and your spouse/partner decided how to have your child(ren) cared for.

    When did you first discuss this (when first pregnant, right before baby was born, after baby was born, at many times, etc.)

    Who would you say had more influence in your decision (your spouse/partner, you, or it was equal)?

    Prompts: How do you feel about the process of deciding?

    How do you feel about the outcome of the decision?

    Have you reevaluated the situation since your child was born? (If respondent has multiple children: Have you reevaluated the situation since your first child was born, i.e., with subsequent births?)

    Changes in Arrangements

    Have you implemented changes?

    Has your spouse's/partner's role changed? If so, please describe the changes.

    Why do you think these changes occurred?

    Do you plan to continue with this same arrangement, or do you expect to change the arrangement as your child(ren) grow older?

    If yes, please describe the ways in which you believe it will change (prompts: return to work, go from part-time to full-time, change from family day care to center, etc.).

    Costs and Benefits of Arrangements

    When you think about your arrangement, to whom in your family, if anyone, is it beneficial?

    How and for whom (prompt relationships)?

    When you think about your arrangement, do you think it is less than ideal for any family members?

    For whom (prompt relationships)?

    How is it not ideal?

    Prompt: Stress on child(ren)

    Stress on spouse/partner

    Stress on relationship with spouse/partner, etc.

    When thinking about your child care arrangements, how would you describe them in terms of fairness to you?

    How about to your spouse/partner?

    How about to your child(ren)?

    If you feel these arrangements are not exactly fair, how do you justify them?

    How does your spouse/partner justify them?

    In what ways does your arrangement put stress on or ease stress in your relationship(s) with your child(ren)?

    How about with your spouse/partner?

    If you find the relationships are stressful, how do you justify the arrangements?

    Prompts: It is best for the children.

    Breastfeeding status: Were arrangements chosen in order to be compatible with breastfeeding?

    It is all we can afford.

    It is only for a few years, etc.

    Symbolic Nature of Child Care

    How do you feel in your role in providing child care?

    How does this role make you feel in terms of your position in the family?

    What does doing child care mean to you?

    What does it mean when your spouse/partner does childcare …

    on a regular basis?

    in a spontaneous moment?

    Prompt: Expressing love, care for me, the children, etc.

    Relative Importance of Factors

    Can you tell me why you decided to (stay at home/work part-time/work full-time)? I am interested in what reasons you can think of for why you chose to do what you have done? What issues were part of your consideration?

    What factors were important to you in arranging for the care of your child(ren)? I will write them down; can you rank them? (Prompt with all the factors they do not cite, followed by the question, “Was this important?”)

    Economics: (How important is cost? How important is your income to your family? What would you be willing to sacrifice financially in order to stay at home full-time?)

    Parenting ideology: (How important is it for you that your children be cared for only by parents? Mostly by parents? Other care providers are equally appropriate?)

    Symbolic nature of child care: (How important is it for you to take care of your children as a way of caring for them? How does being able to do child care figure into your decision?)

    Gender strategy: (To what degree is your decision making related to the duty you think you have to your children? How do you see yourself and your role in relation to your spouse/partners?)

    Role identification: (How strongly are you identified with your career? With your role as a mother? Has this identification been important in your decision making?)

    Have respondent try to rank factors.

    What would you be willing to cut or lose in order to keep your arrangement?

    Prompts: my career could suffer

    lower family income

    less time with my spouse

    less leisure time, etc.

    What would you change if you could?

    Finally, I am interested in how you feel about your own participation in your child's life and the participation of your spouse/partner (if she has one).

    How do you feel about your child care responsibilities?

    How do you feel when your spouse/partner participates in child care activities?

    Prompt: not just playing with the child(ren) but also daily care tasks, such as feeding, diapering, bathing, etc.

    Prompt: Do you view it simply as help—his duty—or is it also an expression of how he feels about you? Or do you feel it is more than one of these?

    How do you feel when he doesn't help with daily care tasks for the child(ren)?

    Prompt: If don't mention more than fairness, prompt with how he feels about me, unloved, etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to share with me?

    I greatly appreciate the time you have spent. As a mother, I know how precious your time is. I hope that you have learned a little bit about your own choices by thinking about them as part of this study. I will send you a set of the findings of this study if you would like it.

    Appendix B: Demographics of the Interview Sample

    Conformists

    Cheryl** is a white, 26-year-old mother of three. Her husband is a pastor in a fundamentalist church. He earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. He works 45 to 50 hours per week on a rotating shift. They both have had “some college.” She stays at home full-time and earns no income.

    Jordan is a white, 27-year-old mother of two. Her husband is a restaurant manager, and he earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. He works 55 hours per week on a rotating shift. He has had “some college.” Jordan has a high school diploma. They have no religious affiliation. Jordan stays home full-time and earns no income.

    Amy is a white, 27-year-old mother of two. Her husband is a technical administration contractor. He works 45 hours per week during the first shift, and he earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. He has a bachelor's degree, and Amy has had “some college.” They identify as Christian. Amy stays home full-time and is not employed.

    Denotes “case study” mothers who are profiled in various chapters.

    Sue is a white, 29-year-old mother of one child. Her husband is a warehouse worker. He works 68 hours per week during the first shift and earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. They each have had “some college” and identify as Catholic. Sue earns no income.

    Ann is a Native American, 30-year-old mother of two. Her husband works 40 hours a week as a maintenance supervisor. He works during the first shift and earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Ann has a high school diploma and her husband has had “some college.” She identifies as “other” in religious affiliation. Ann is home full-time and earns no income.

    Nonconformists

    Emily** is a white, 47-year-old mother. Emily is employed 45 hours per week as a hospital administrator. She has an MBA, as does her husband who is a hospital chief financial officer. He works 50 hours per week. Emily's personal income is $50,000 to $75,000, and her husband earns more than $75,000 per year. Their total family income is well above $75,000 per year. They both work during the first shift. They are Protestant and have one child. Emily employs a nanny who does not live in to provide care for her son.

    Kiki is a white, 38-year-old mother. Kiki works 40 hours per week as a medical policy analyst. She earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year, as does her husband who is employed as the director of a medical nonprofit organization. Kiki and her husband work during the first shift. They each have had “some graduate training.” Their total family income is greater than $75,000. They are Protestant and have two children; one is school age and the other is enrolled in a child care center.

    Jennifer is a white, 38-year-old mother. Jennifer is employed full-time as a physical therapist. She has a bachelor's degree and earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year. Her husband is a radiology resident. He has completed his MD and works 56 hours per week while earning $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Their total family income is greater than $75,000 per year. Jennifer works during the first shift, and her husband works rotating shifts. They have their daughter enrolled in a child care center. She indicates that her religious affiliation is “other,” and they have one child.

    Pragmatists

    Bobbi** is a white, 34-year-old mother. Bobbi is employed as a market research analyst 50 hours per week. She earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year to her husband's income of $10,000 to $20,000 per year in his 40-hour-per-week job as an arborist. Bobbi has a master's degree while her husband has a bachelor's. Their total family income is greater than $75,000 per year. They report having no religious affiliation, and they have two young children. Bobbi employs a nanny who does not live in to care for her children.

    Tammy** is a white, 32-year-old mother of two. She holds a bachelor's degree, and her husband holds an associate's degree. He is employed as a contract administrator and works 55 hours per week during the first shift. He earns greater than $75,000 per year. They are Protestant. Tammy currently stays at home full-time and earns no income.

    Jane is a white, 30-year-old mother of one. She was pregnant at the time of the interview. Her husband is an engineer and works 50 hours per week during the first shift, earning $50,000 to $75,000 per year. He holds a bachelor's degree, and she holds an associate's degree. They are Catholic. She currently stays at home full-time and earns no income.

    Deborah is a white, 28-year-old mother of one. Her husband owns his own company. They each hold a high school diploma. Her husband works 60 hours per week during first hours and on weekends. He earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year. They are Catholic. Deborah stays at home full-time and earns no income.

    Kathy is a white, 31-year-old mother. She earns $2,000 to $10,000 per year working 20 hours per week as a vocational counselor. Their total family income is $20,000 to $30,000 per year. She has a master's degree. Her husband had just finished his PhD and taken a faculty position he would begin in July 1995. At the time of the interview, he was working as a teaching assistant. They both work during the first shift. They have two children and are Episcopalian. Their children are cared for in a family-home day care.

    Barb is a white, 25-year-old mother. Barb works two jobs: She drives a school bus and works as a waitress in the evenings. She works 25 hours per week and earns $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Barb works rotating shifts. Her husband works as a laborer for 60 hours a week during the second shift. He earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Their total family income is $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Barb relies on a neighbor to provide child care while she is working. She is a high school graduate, as is her husband. They have three children and have no religious affiliation.

    Kerry is a white, 31-year-old mother. Kerry works full-time (45 hours per week) as a medical technician during the first shift. She earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year, as does her husband who works 45 hours per week as a court analyst. He also works during the first shift, and their son is enrolled in a child care center. Their total family income is $50,000 to $75,000 per year. They both have college degrees. They are Catholic and have one child.

    Renee is a white, 32-year-old mother. Renee works 32 or more hours per week as a publication coordinator, and her husband works 40 hours per week as a sales representative. They both work during the first shift, and they both earn $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Their total family income is $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Renee has a bachelor's degree, and her husband has an associate's degree. They are nondenominational and have one child. Renee relies on her mother and mother-in-law to provide care for her daughter while they are working.

    Mary is a white, 29-year-old mother. She is a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree. She works 24 hours per week and earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Her husband, a research scientist, holds a PhD. He works 48 hours per week and earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year; their total family income is $40,000 to $50,000 per year. They both work during the first shift. They are Catholic, have two young children, and use a child care center to provide care while they are both at work.

    Chris is a white, 31-year-old mother. Chris has had some graduate training and is a chemist. She works 40 hours per week and earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Her husband has a master's degree and works 40 hours per week as an engineer. He earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year, which is also the range in which their total family income falls. They work partially overlapping shifts. They are also Catholic and have one young child who is enrolled in a preschool program.

    Becky is a white, 43-year-old mother. Becky holds an associate's degree and works in food service an average of 30 hours per week. She earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Her husband is a lawyer who works 60 hours per week earning greater than $75,000 per year. Their total family income is therefore also in that range. They both work during the first shift. They are Jewish. Becky has one older child from a previous marriage and one young child from this marriage. They utilize a family-home day care provider.

    Libby is a white, 26-year-old mother. Libby is a legal secretary with an associate's degree. She works 21 hours per week earning $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Her husband also holds an associate's degree. He works 45 hours per week as a lineman, earning $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Their total family income is $50,000 to $75,000 per year. They have one small child who is in a family-home day care while his parents work during the first shift. They identify as Protestants.

    Colleen is a white, 31-year-old mother. She is a medical technician. She holds a bachelor's degree. Working for 24 hours per week, Colleen earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Her husband works 40 to 80 hours per week as a software engineer. He also holds a bachelor's degree and earns $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Their total family income is $50,000 to $75,000 per year. They indicate that they have no religious affiliation. They have one child who is in a family-home day care on a part-time basis as Colleen works the first shift and her husband works rotating shifts.

    Innovators

    Jean** is a white, 37-year-old mother. Jean works full-time as a packer for a local meat manufacturer during the third shift. She earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Her husband works full-time as a custodian during either the first or second shift (depending on the time of year) and earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year for a total family income of $40,000 to $50,000. Jean and her husband are high school graduates. They are Catholic and have six children. They rely on no paid child care.

    Haley** is a white, 32-year-old mother. Haley works out of her home as a legal assistant 15 hours per week. She holds a bachelor's degree and earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Her husband is a lawyer. He works 50 hours per week during the first shift, earning $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Their combined income is $50,000 to $75,000 per year, and they have two children. Because Haley works from home, they rely on no paid child care. They are Catholic.

    Kate** is a white, 31-year-old mother. Kate owns her own retail business selling dance and fitness wear. She works 30 hours per week during rotating shifts. Kate has had “some college” and earns $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Kate's husband supplies most of the family income by working as an MIS (computer) manager 45 hours per week during the first shift. He also has had “some college.” He earns $50,000 to $75,000 per year, and their total family income also falls in this category. They are Catholic and have one child. Kate takes her child to work with her each day in order to care for her.

    Lori is a white, 33-year-old mother. Lori works as a secretary 45 hours a week, during the first shift, earning $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Her husband works as a welder 50 hours per week during the second shift. He earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year for a total family income of $50,000 to $75,000 per year. They each have had “some college,” they are Protestant, and they have a set of twins. They use 15 hours per week of paid child care.

    Laura is a white, 32-year-old mother. Laura is employed in clerical work for 30 hours per week. She earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year and has an associate's degree. Her husband works 37 hours per week as a computer operator. He has had “some college” and earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Their total family income is $40,000 to $50,000 per year. They are Catholic and have one child. They both work first-shift hours, but they work on different days. They rely on 4 hours per week of paid child care.

    Liz is a white, 27-year-old mother. Liz provides child care in her home 40 hours per week for one child. She has had “some college” and earns $0 to $2,000 per year. Her husband provides the main income for the family. He works 25 hours per week for UPS earning $10,000 to $20,000 per year and is also a full-time student completing his bachelor's degree. He works or studies during rotating shifts. Their total family income is $20,000 to $30,000 per year. They are nondenominational and have three children. Liz, though employed, is home full-time.

    Denise is a white, 33-year-old mother. Denise owns her own business; she is a creative resume designer. She earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year for working 15 hours per week and holds an associate's degree. Her husband works 45 hours per week during the first shift as an auto technician. He also holds an associate's degree and earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Their total family income is also in this range. They hold pagan beliefs and have one child. Because Denise works from home, they rely on no paid child care.

    Stacey is a white, 33-year-old mother of two. She holds an associate's degree and works 30 hours per week in a bank. She earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Her husband owns his own small business. He holds a bachelor's degree, works 50 hours per week, and earns $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Their total family income is $30,000 to $40,000 per year. One of her children is school age and the other is cared for 20 hours per week by Stacey's husband, 6 hours per week by Stacey's mother, and 6 hours per week in a family-home day care. They are Protestant.

    Appendix C: Frequency Distributions for Relevant Demographic Variables Broken down by Entire Sample, Volunteer Sample, and Interview Sample

    Table C.1 Percent Distribution for Types of Child Care Utilized

    Table C.2 Percent Distribution of Mothers' Employment Status

    Table C.3 Percent Distribution for Hours Employed for All Employed Mothers

    Table C.4 Percent Distribution of Mothers' Racial Identification

    Table C.5 Percent Distribution of Mothers' Educational Attainment

    Table C.6 Percent Distribution of Mothers' Personal Income

    Table C.7 Percent Distribution of Mothers' Total Household Income

    Appendix D: Sampling and Measurement

    The women interviewed for this project came from an interview pool that was generated from responses to a mailed questionnaire. In April 1995, a survey was mailed to 450 mothers, who were randomly selected from all women who gave birth in Dane County, Wisconsin, during January, February, and March 1994. These birth months were chosen in order to assure obtaining mothers with young children (the children were between 12 and 15 months at the time their mothers received the survey) and in an attempt to avoid surveying women on prolonged maternity leaves. This 3-month period of time yielded approximately 1,000 births from which to draw the sample of 450 birth mothers. Due to confidentiality laws regarding paternity establishment, records of nonmarital births were excluded. In addition, births to mothers under the age of 18 were excluded due to issues of informed consent. Both of these exclusions were not viewed as problematic given my interest in exploring child care decision making among families who did not have restrictions on employment. Both teenage and unmarried mothers are constrained by structural factors and may not be able to make employment decisions as freely. Fifty-two percent of the women surveyed (N = 230) returned usable data. Of those 230 respondents, 80 (35%) indicated that they would be willing to be interviewed. Appendix C contains a set of tables illustrating the demographic characteristics of the sample as a whole, the group volunteering for interviews, and those actually interviewed.

    From the 80 mothers who indicated a willingness to be interviewed, I purposively selected 30 mothers with whom I arranged and conducted intensive interviews. Given the objectives of this study, the purposive sample was generated with attention to four variables of interest (all of which had been measured in the mailed questionnaire).

    Work status. I sampled equal numbers of women who were not employed outside the home, who were employed part-time outside the home, and who were employed full-time outside the home.

    Income (total family income, the proportion of income provided by the mother, and the proportion of income provided by the father). I sampled women whose total family incomes were among the lowest and highest in the sample and those who fell in the middle. In addition, I sampled mothers who were, in effect, primary providers, coproviders, and supplemental providers (as well, of course, as those who provided no income).

    The number of children in the household. I was careful to sample mothers for whom the focal child (the birth for which the mother was sampled) was the only child and those for whom other young children were living in the household (i.e., for whom the focal child was not their first or their last child). The largest family had 6 children.

    The type of child care utilized. Among women who were employed, I was careful to sample women who provided all the child care themselves, those who shared the child care with their spouses, and those who engaged paid child care providers. Paid child care included the use of nannies, relatives, family-home day care providers, and child care centers.

    I scheduled and conducted interviews between May and August 1995. The interviews were conducted in the homes of the women, in the women's places of employment, or in a neutral site such as at a restaurant over lunch. The interviews were audiotape-recorded and transcribed. Although the actual interview time was between 60 and 90 minutes, I often spent up to 2 hours with these women. I interviewed many of the women in their homes while they were supervising their children. My discussions with these women were often conducted in the midst of attending to the needs of the child or children.

    Based on the literature and theoretical models discussed in the book, and in order to propose a more complex model to understand mothers' labor force participation choices, it was critical to address the following concepts. Both qualitative and quantitative measures were developed. The interview schedule is available in Appendix A. A copy of the survey may be obtained by contacting the author.

    Economic need. Based on an extensive literature that focuses on the role that economic need plays in maternal labor force participation, it was critical to include measures of economic need in the study. As noted by Eggebeen and Hawkins (1990), economic need has both an objective component and a subjective component. Therefore, I focused on the actual need that the family had for income as well as the mother's perception of this need relative to the importance of other needs, such as providing maternal or parental care for her children.

    Motherhood ideology. Motherhood ideology has to do with how mothers perceive the role of mother: Mothers should stay at home raising their children (intensive motherhood ideology) or continue to pursue their own interests even when they have small children (alternative motherhood ideology). As part of this section, respondents were asked to rank and evaluate care providers and give details regarding their ranking system.

    Gender strategy. Gender strategy includes a discussion of the preferred family structure for these mothers. Measurement focused on gender roles with respect to the household and employment patterns.

    Role identification. Role identification includes a discussion of the importance of career and mother roles to these women. The measurement focused on a discussion of the personal reasons these women reported for choosing to participate or not in the labor force.

    Costs and benefits. Costs and benefits of the chosen arrangement, based primarily on the perceptions of the mothers, were explored. Mothers were asked to list the costs and benefits of their situations with respect to employment and child care choices.

    The decision process. The actual decision-making process: Mothers were asked to describe the process they underwent in resolving the job-family conflict. This included a detailed discussion of the history of their labor force participation and utilization of child care. Changes these women had made or anticipated making in their labor force participation or child care were discussed.

    Outcomes. This included measuring mothers' satisfaction with their past and their current child care arrangements and employment situations.

    Fertility intentions. After interviewing Cheryl, my third interview, the relationship between fertility intentions and employment patterns, as noted by Glass (1992), was confirmed. In addition, Cheryl's interview suggested that fertility intentions are also related specifically to mothers' decisions about whether to pursue employment while their children are young. Therefore, though it was not originally in the interview schedule, I asked all the remaining mothers (N = 27) about their fertility intentions. I also asked women if their labor force decisions affected their future fertility intentions.

    Demographic variables. Some of these were also measured as part of the interview: (1) household composition, (2) work status, including employment hours and schedule, and (3) child care arrangements. All other demographic variables necessary for the analysis were taken directly from the mother's mailed questionnaire. These included age, marital status and marital history, race, religion, household composition (including the number of children in the household and their ages and genders), age at first birth, educational attainment, income, socioeconomic status, and employment status (including occupation). Additionally, subjects were asked to review their employment schedule and to delineate the child care arrangements that were in place for each child in the household.

    Part of this project was the development of a scale to measure motherhood ideology. Items were generated from concepts in the academic and parenting literature. The eight items include the following statements to which respondents indicated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with each statement. Strongly agree was coded “1” and strongly disagree was coded “5.” Items marked with an asterisk were reverse scored.

    • Mothers who stay at home should sometimes use some paid child care in order to pursue their own interests.*
    • Having a lower family income is worth it if mothers could stay at home with their children.
    • Mothers of young children (3 years old and under) should only work if their families need the money.
    • Mothers should not work outside the home when their children are small (under 3).
    • Families benefit when mothers stay at home to care for the children.
    • Though many children may benefit by having mothers who stay at home with them full-time, mothers may be hurt by this arrangement.*
    • Everyone benefits by living in a household where both mother and father work outside the home at least part-time.*
    • If I cannot provide for all my children's needs by myself, I feel guilty.

    The range of the scale is 8 to 40 with lower scores indicating nonconforming beliefs and higher scores indicating conforming to intensive motherhood ideology. The mean score was 23.36. The reliability of this scale is .76; thus, it is believed to be a reliable measure of motherhood ideology.

    This survey has several flaws that must be addressed. First, the response rate for the survey was lower than is ideal. We have no way of knowing about how the mothers who returned their completed surveys differ from those who refused to participate. Second, the survey was conducted in one county in the upper Midwest. Therefore, the sample is not representative of all mothers in the United States. Clearly underrepresented groups are even more likely to be excluded from the results than white, middle-class mothers. Again, this limits the overall generalizability of the survey. However, because the survey relied on a random sample of mothers across the county, it retains many of the strengths we typically associate with survey methods and allows us a chance to examine the relationship between motherhood ideology and maternal labor force participation.

    Finally, it is important to reemphasize the fact that the survey was based on a sample of mothers who were married at the time of the birth of the focal child. Though this clearly leaves me unable to speak to the relationship between motherhood ideology and maternal employment among unmarried mothers, this does not particularly trouble me. This study focused on strategies for balancing work and family among mothers who had a partner. Because of this, I was able to examine labor force participation choices within a context where all mothers had a choice, at least theoretically. Single mothers are restricted in their choices because they are solely responsible for meeting the economic needs of their children. If anything, mothers who are married have more choices, and therefore, these choices will reflect their preferences. Thus, though this sample is not representative of the U.S. population, this bias does not significantly affect the assumptions or findings of this study. In fact, this sample creates a situation of constancy; marital status, one of the best predictors of maternal employment, is not varied. How mothers made these choices is the focus of this investigation.

    Appendix E: Quantitative Data

    Table E.1 Analysis of Variance of the Relationship Between Motherhood Ideology and Employment Status

    Table E.2 Relationship Between Motherhood Ideology and Employment Status Among Mothers With Young Children

    Table E.3 OLS Regression Testing Predictors of Labor Force Participation of Mothers With Young Children

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    About the Author

    Angela J. Hattery is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University. She joined the department in 1998 after 2 years as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ball State University. She earned her PhD in sociology in 1996 at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and her bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology at Carleton College in 1988. Her current research focuses on the ways in which mothers with young children balance and weave work and family. She has utilized both surveys and interviews in order to examine this phenomenon. In addition to the qualitative data reported in this book, she is working on several articles that focus on the quantitative findings. She has done research on work and family and on sexual violence. Her areas of specialization include gender, family, and social psychology. She has a son and a daughter.


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