m e d i a c o v e r a g e
May 10, 2019
The United States has the least generous benefits, the lowest public commitment to caregiving, one of the highest wage gaps between employed men and women, and among the highest maternal and child poverty rates of any Western industrialized nation. But what is especially striking about Pr. Collins’ research, is that American moms simply don’t expect any support and continually blame themselves for not being able to “do it all.”
May 9, 2019
“What I heard from working moms was this idea that when things were difficult, it was their own fault and they needed to try harder,” Collins said. “And if they did try harder … they could relieve the cascade of stress they were facing. They didn’t expect help from partners or their government, and when they did have equal division with a partner, or when they were allowed flexibility at work, women felt abundantly grateful. We don’t think of these things as rights or entitlements. We think of them as privileges, and when you think of something like parental leave as a privilege rather than as a right, it changes what you think you deserve.”
April 26, 2019
Collins wants to disabuse moms of the notion that if they tried harder or found new parenting hacks, they can finally manage that type of stress.
April 16, 2019
The sociologist Caitlyn Collins casts her net wide to explore how work and family tensions are exacerbated by both a long-hours culture and what she sees as society’s dismissive attitudes towards care-giving.
April 12, 2019
Families in the United States face anxiety-provoking challenges, especially when juggling home life and work, researchers say. There is no federally mandated paid parental leave, no universal child care, no universal health care — the list goes on. That makes parenting hard in “a new, novel and increasingly frightening way,” said Caitlyn Collins, an assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis and author of the book “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving. “Exhaustion, chronic stress, little exercise and free time — these have public health consequences.”
April 9, 2019
A new book, Making Motherhood Work, by Washington University Assistant Professor Caitlyn Collins, suggests that working mothers in the U.S. are “drowning in stress” because of incompatible societal expectations of what a devoted worker and a devoted mother look like. This stress may prompt women faculty to leave academia earlier in their careers, called the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon.
March 18, 2019
Collins added that there needs to be structural change in order for U.S. moms to stop feeling so much pressure and being conflicted about work and family life. She wants moms to stop thinking that if they tried harder or found new parenting hacks that they can finally manage that type of stress.
March 18, 2019
Collins said, “Across the countries where I conducted interviews, one desire remained constant among mothers. Women wanted to feel that they were able to combine paid employment and child-rearing in a way that seemed equitable and didn’t disadvantage them at home or at work.”
March 16, 2019
“[His remarks] suggest that it’s a mom’s job to raise kids, and having that very unequal division of labor has disastrous consequences for women both at home and in the workforce.” “When someone makes comments like this on the national political stage, it implies that it’s woman’s natural or inherent duty to raise kids,” Collins added. “That’s not going to change until all men and men think and act like equal partners, especially when they’re on a national stage like this.”
March 15, 2019
Women’s magazines and TV shows are filled with productivity tips — suggesting that women are overwhelmed because they don’t know how to be efficient. But the truth is, women have too many demands placed on them. Until we see a cultural shift that reduces the responsibilities women are expected to juggle, working moms are likely to feel burdened by their busy schedules and nagging guilt. But that doesn’t mean women should wait for the world to change before they feel better.
March 14, 2019
“Comments like this might seem harmless or made in jest, or maybe even a form of praise for women’s hard efforts at caring for kids. But these comments aren’t harmless,” sociologist Caitlyn Collins tells Motherly. […]
“I’d say that it’s problematic for any men—especially those in positions of power—to reference ‘babysitting’ or ‘helping’ raise their kids rather than egalitarian parenting. This rhetoric suggests that childrearing is primarily women’s responsibility,” adds Collins.
Policies like universal childcare and paid family leave would certainly go a long way to reducing the stress levels of American mothers, but Collins wants people to look beyond what policies the country is lacking and also consider how America’s history and cultural beliefs about individualism, men and women have led us here. Collins suggests that the sky-high stress levels American moms have can’t be fixed with policy alone.
March 13, 2019
Women can have it all. Or at least that’s what we’re told until we become mothers and are forced to navigate the murky waters of a work-life balance. Spoiler alert: It’s nearly impossible.
March 13, 2019
“This is a structural problem,” she says. “So it requires structural solutions.”
She’s absolutely right it’s a structural problem. Mothers in the U.S. don’t actually get a maternity leave. Unlike the other 36 countries that allow working mothers to take 52 weeks leave — paid, we’re “lucky” to get a paltry 6-8 week semi-paid disability leave and even “luckier” if we can combine that with the unpaid 12 weeks of FMLA.
March 6, 2019
“My hope in the book is: Look what it is like elsewhere. It can be different and better here, too, but it’s going to require finding a way around this very individualized way of understanding our lives in the U.S.; we have to think of ourselves more collectively that we do right now.”
February 26, 2019
“Usually mentioning that you are a mother was a death sentence in the workforce,” said Caitlyn Collins, an assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis and author of a new book, “Making Motherhood Work.” Now, far from being seen as a hindrance to a political career, motherhood is being used as an asset. “That’s an enormous cultural shift,” Collins said.
February 22, 2019
This week’s spotlight shines on Caitlyn Collins, whose new book about working mothers in America has caught the attention of the media. In “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving,” Caitlyn discusses what she learned from 135 interviews with working moms in America and abroad – the struggles of these women, the stigma they face, and the policies that shape their family life.
February 19, 2019
“Working mothers’ struggles to reconcile employment and motherhood, as well as the policy solutions to resolve this conflict—are of urgent public concern,” adds Collins. “Our government depends on mothers. So why are we failing to support them?”
February 13, 2019
“A huge number of families are headed by single mothers these days, which means a layoff has huge consequences for entire households—thus, the feminization of poverty we see unfolding.”
January 12, 2019
“There are real demographic consequences for not supporting families,” Collins said. “We are horrifyingly far behind. The U.S. is one of the most family-hostile countries across the world […] We talk a lot about families sort of being the backbone of our society, but we don’t support that with any material policies that would actually enable people to reconcile their work and family lives.”
december 25, 2018
It’s about “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” said Caitlyn Collins […] “It distracts from the real questions, like why don’t we have a safe place for all kids to go when they’re done with school before parents get home from work?”
May 22, 2018
We also need to make life better for working moms, argued Caitlyn Collins, a professor of sociology and gender studies at Washington University in St. Louis. “Seventy percent of US mothers work outside the home today,” she said. After having a baby, women need time to recover and care for their baby, as well as “affordable, quality options for child care once they return to work.”
“The US lacks federal provisions for both,” Collins said. “In my mind, leaving it to individual women to find private market-based solutions is insufficient, and it’s part of the explanation for why we’re seeing continuing declines in fertility in the US.”
September 5, 2016
These figures reflect a widespread American bias that “valorizes work and the ideal worker image” at the expense of personal health and well-being. “Our culture is reflected and reinforced by public policy […] We are the only industrialized country with no federally mandated paid sick days. When the federal government tells you that you have no right to sick days, they’re telling you that you have no right to self-care or to care for loved ones.”
“These women are superheroes,” says Dr. Collins. “It’s amazing what they’re able to accomplish with so few resources to support them.” The lack of federal paid leave or child-care subsidies notwithstanding, she also points to our lamentable cultural mind-set, which she sums up this way: “You’re welcome to have kids, but it’s your responsibility to care for them.” And, reality: Your usually still translates to her, even for the millions of families that no longer fit the profile of homemaker mom/ breadwinner dad.
august 5, 2015
Perhaps the worst that can be said of Netflix’s policy is that it’s such a rarity. Without a federal mandate, parental leave in America is unevenly distributed and often grossly inadequate. “Workers who are in the most desirable jobs are the ones who are getting these benefits,” Collins says. “Netflix is a really desirable company to work for and so, they want to attract top talent, and so that means they get access to this paid leave and workers at the bottom of the labor market don’t. The fact that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the entire world that doesn’t have federally-mandated paid parental leave is a travesty,” she added.
april 29, 2015
Caitlyn Collins, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas studying contemporary parenting practices, sees the kind of criticism Levy has received as an outgrowth of our culture of “intensive mothering.” The term describes not just a parenting style but the expectations placed on mothers “to be nurturing, unselfish, and sensitive to their family’s needs,” says Collins — all the time, at the expense of their own well-being.
August 25, 2015
“The conversation is no longer about whether women should work, because today it is often economically necessary for families to have two incomes to stay afloat,” Collins says. “The conversation today is about the conditions in which families are best able to manage earning an income while caring for their members that does not place this burden unduly on women’s shoulders.”
August 24, 2015
“Work-family policies reflect and reinforce ideologies about gender: what men and women ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ do. Through policies, countries say something about their citizens and shape the opportunities available to them.”
r a d i o , t e l e v i s i o n , p o d c a s t s
Scholars Strategy Network’s No Jargon Podcast, May 9, 2019. “Episode 174: Making Motherhood Work” (29:16).
Kare 11 TV News, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 25, 2019. “Can Moms Really Have Work-Family Balance?” (2:35).
Harvard Business Review’s HBR IdeaCast, March 26, 2019. “Why U.S. Working Moms Are So Stressed – And What To Do About It” with Alison Beard (25:26).
Sirius XM, March 13, 2019. “Parental Leave Policies” with Joe Madison (12:21).
On Point by WBUR for NPR, Feb. 19, 2019. “‘Day Care For All’: How America Views Universal Pre-K” with Meghna Chakrabarti (46:55).
St. Louis Public Radio, Feb. 18, 2019. “Wash U Sociologist’s New Book Explores How Women Navigate Work And Family In US, Elsewhere” with Don Marsh (22:28).
Hold That Thought Podcast, Sep. 7, 2017. “Moms at Work: Policies and Perspectives in Europe and the United States.” Washington University in St. Louis (16:30).
BYU Radio’s Top of Mind, Oct. 8, 2015. “Motherhood and Employment” with Julie Rose (18:13).
Fox News 7’s Good Day Austin, Sep. 7, 2015. “Balancing Work and Family” (4:16).
Huffington Post live, Aug. 7, 2015. “From CEO Pay to Harvard MBAs.”
KOOP Radio’s Writing on the Air, Oct. 11, 2015. “Invisible in Austin“ with Javier Auyero (55:31).
l o c a l p r e s s
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 10, 2019. “America is Not For Mothers.”
The Common Reader, March 1, 2019. “To Save a Life.”
Marin Independent Journal, Feb. 18, 2019. “Mommy Needs a Lot More Than a Drink.”
St. Louis Magazine, Sep. 13, 2018. “Author Caitlyn Collins on How Different Countries are Making Motherhood Work.”
Student Life, Washington University, Nov. 13, 2017. “OWN IT Summit Promotes Empowerment, Gender Inclusivity.”