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Museum of Motherhood

Intensive Mothering

September 23, 2010

In order to change the way we look at work family policies, we need to understand how we see family life.  Family, in many ways, is socially constructed, and family life plays a role in how we work or how we strive to work.  In 1994 a book called “The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood” was published.  It was the first book I read that helped me see more clearly how I mothered and why I made the decisions I did about the direction my life was going.  The author, Sharon Hays, coined the phrase “intensive mothering”.  These are the aspects of intensive mothering:

  • appropriate child rearing has mother as central caregiver
  • lavish amounts of time, energy and material resources need to be expended upon child rearing, the child is the center of the family, experts are needed to raise children appropriately, and the experience is emotionally taxing, labor intensive and expensive
  • comparing child rearing as paid work is unthinkable, one could never say that unpaid leave is not worth being with the child, it is impossible to think that 12 weeks without pay (for those that qualify) is not “worth” the price

Read Entire Article Here: Intensive Mothering By: MomScholar’s Blog

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