Warning - this is not a light read! It's the result of an academic study conducted by Sociologists who completed a "content analysis" of motherhood myths and ideologies in popular magazines. Here's a teaser:
Feminist scholars have explored how current motherhood ideologies ... project White, middle class mothers" experiences as universal and ideal (Collins, 1994). ...Although the conventional motherhood ideology maintains that mothers should not work outside the home, economically or financially privileged mothers continue to hire working-class women, and Women of Color, who are often mothers themselves, to perform the more arduous childcare work (BlairLoy, 2001; Chang, 1994). Thus, the construction of motherhood, particularly in the form of dominant ideologies, may have little correspondence to the lived social realities of mothers.
I'm currently working on a research project called "The Changing Landscape of American Women" where we are conducting focus groups with three populations of women: Farm and ranch women, Latina Immigrants, and women with "professional" careers. Our site is working with the latter group. All of the participants have at least one child living at home and work at least 30 hours per week. Analysis of the data is ongoing, but one key theme is clear - these are not women who are looking to "opt out." They acknowledge sometimes feeling "invisible" in places like churches and schools; but overall they are embracing the contradictions of work and family, and they aren't concerned with what the traditional media says about them. It's been inspiring to listen to them!
Check out the entire article here and please be so bold as to leave a comment: Tell about your experiences as an employed mother, your plans to become an employed mother, or just your observations of the phenomenon!