m e d i a   c o v e r a g e

November 21, 2019

“Candidates Finally Talked About Paid Leave — But They’re Still Missing the Point”

“Even when workplace protections for pregnancy exist on the books, that doesn’t necessarily prevent expecting women from experiencing discrimination on the ground in their day-to-day lives at work.”

November 20, 2019

“The Best Parenting Advice Is to Go Live in Europe”

The sociologist Caitlyn Collins has found, in interviews with middle-class American and European mothers, that the latter “rarely invoked expert views, instead talking about traits they wanted to instill in their children (stability, independence, kindness) and wanting them to feel safe and loved.”

October 15, 2019

“Gender Study: To Shatter the Glass Ceiling, Fix the ‘Broken Rung'”

Perspectives about what constitutes bias may also be impacted by broader trends in US political culture, and attitudes towards women in the workplace do not happen in a vacuum, Collins said. The rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements – as well as the words of leaders like US President Donald Trump – have also influenced workplace dynamics. … Collins added that having Trump in a position of such institutional power “sends a message to people that [disrespect] is acceptable”.

August 16, 2019

“‘Motherhood Penalty’ Starts Even Before Kids, Study Finds”

A cultural shift around gender roles is also needed, she says, given that researchers have found men who become parents receive a wage boost – a so-called “fatherhood premium.” This stems, Collins says, from the “outdated and problematic idea that mothers are primarily responsible for the domestic sphere, including caregiving and housework, and men are primarily responsible for breadwinning outside the home.”

June 28, 2019


The idea, on its face, is a good one: It’s hard for working parents to leave infants with relative strangers.

June 24, 2019

“Day-Care Centers Notify You Every Time Your Baby Eats, Sleeps and Poops. That’s Making It Harder for Moms to Go Back to Work”

Day-care notification apps allow them to stay connected, checking in on their baby, as they would Twitter or the weather. But these apps can also make it impossible for parents, especially women, to be fully present at work, says Collins. […] “These apps are signaling that, yes, you might be at work, but your No. 1 priority at any given second should be on what’s happening with your child.”

June 19, 2019

“Women Working Longer Hours, Sleeping Less, as They Juggle Commitments”

“Of course these two things are impossible to accomplish at the same time: full allegiance to one’s job and full allegiance to one’s family and this is not asked of men.”

May 28, 2019

“Gender Penalty: Student Debt and Daycare Stifle American Mothers”

“The rest of the Western industrialised world has figured out that children are a public good [and that] investing in them is our collective responsibility because we all benefit from them being raised well.”

May 10, 2019

“Flowers Are Nice, But What Moms Really Need This Mother’s Day Are Better Work-Life Policies”

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

“Why American Moms Are Seriously Struggling”

“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

“U.S. Leads in the Worldwide Anxiety Epidemic”

Again in 2019, the Gallup World Emotions Report shows a rise in stress and worry. In fact, worldwide stress levels have reached a new record, with the U.S. leading with some of the highest rates in the world.

April 26, 2019

“Working Mom Drops the Mic with List of Society’s Expectations: ‘I’m Ready to Lean Out'”

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

“Flexible Working for Parents is Great. But Child-Free People Need it, Too”

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

“CBD Lures Stressed-Out Parents Looking to Unwind”

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 […] Exhaustion, chronic stress, little exercise and free time — these have public health consequences.”

April 9, 2019

“Where Did That Promising Scientist Disappear To? Family Policies Leave Women Faculty Behind”

new bookMaking 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

“U.S. Mothers Have It the Worst When It Comes to Work-Life Balance, Study Says”

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

“Work-Life Balance Is Worst For U.S. Moms, According To New Book”

All mothers want what’s best for their families, whether it’s staying home to raise children or heading out into the work force to contribute to the family’s bottom line. Collins’ work shows that there is no one way to do things, and that mothers need not feel guilty for their choices. Society is slowing catching up to the idea that women need support with child-rearing, now more than ever. And it’s about time.

March 18, 2019

“Years Of Research Shows Working Moms Are Overwhelmed With Stress”

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

“Why It Matters That Beto O’Rourke Said He ‘Sometimes’ Helps His Wife Raise Their 3 Kids”

“[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

“American Mothers Have It the Worst, and It’s Not Their Fault—Here’s Why” 

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

“Beto O’Rourke Says He ‘Helps’ Raise His Kids, But Dads Are Not Just Helpers”

“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. […]

“10 Phrases to Describe Dads That Don’t Reduce Them to Babysitters”

“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.

“Why American Moms Are the Most Stressed Out Moms in the Western World”

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

“Years of Research Prove What We Already Know: Moms in the US Are Drowning in Stress”

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

“New Research Shows U.S. Moms Are the Most Stressed—and Least Supported”

“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

“Why Millions of Mothers Are Overwhelmed by Stress”

“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

“Motherhood Was Once a Campaign Liability. The 2020 Female Candidates are Making it an Asset”

“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

“Scholar Spotlight: Caitlyn Collins.”

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

“Why Working Moms Need ‘Work-Family Justice’”

“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

“Pink Slips: How Layoffs Create Double Jeopardy for Working Mothers”

“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

“Lack of Paid Family Leave, Support at Work Partly to Blame for 30-Year Low in Fertility Rates”

“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

“The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting”

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

“The Historically Low Birthrate”

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

“Of Course Hillary Clinton Went to Work Sick. That’s the American Way”

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.”

August 2016

“Is Work-Life Balance for Moms Total BS?”

“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.

february 5, 2016

“AAUW Change-Makers to Watch in 2016.”

AAUW American Fellow Caitlyn Collins recently completed her dissertation and co-authored a book! 

august 5, 2015

“Netflix’s New Parental-Leave Policy: ‘Just About Ideal’”

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

“These Parents Make Lovely Lunch Bag Art; Not Everyone is Pleased”

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

“Working Moms Fare Better in Sweden Than in Italy”

“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

“U.S. Policies Come Up Short in Aiding Working Mothers”

 “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

october 31, 2019

The WorkLife Hub Podcast. “Making Motherhood Work: A Conversation with Caitlyn Collins” (38:39).

September 25, 2019

Georgia Public Radio, On Second Thought. “Sociologist, Author On ‘Making Motherhood Work’ For Highly Stressed American Moms” with Virginia Prescott (14:42).

September 23, 2019

The New Family Podcast. “Ep. 240: Making Parenthood More Sustainable” (31:51).

September 2, 2019

Al Jazeera, The Stream Live. “Can New Parents Have Both a Family and a Stable Career?” with Femi Oke and Malika Bilal (25:25).

June 28, 2019

New Books Network. “Making Motherhood Work” (46:18).

May 9, 2019

Scholars Strategy Network’s No Jargon Podcast. “Episode 174: Making Motherhood Work” (29:15).

March 26, 2019

Harvard Business Review’s HBR IdeaCast. “Why U.S. Working Moms Are So Stressed – And What To Do About It” with Alison Beard (26:36).

march 13, 2019

Sirius XM. “Parental Leave Policies” with Joe Madison (12:21).

february 19, 2019

On Point by WBUR for NPR. “‘Day Care For All’: How America Views Universal Pre-K” with Meghna Chakrabarti (48:24).

february 18, 2019

St. Louis Public Radio. “Wash U Sociologist’s New Book Explores How Women Navigate Work And Family In US, Elsewhere” with Don Marsh (22:28).

September 7, 2017

Hold That Thought Podcast. “Moms at Work: Policies and Perspectives in Europe and the United States.” Washington University in St. Louis (16:30).

October 8, 2015

BYU Radio’s Top of Mind. “Motherhood and Employment” with Julie Rose (18:13).

l o c a l   p r e s s

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 10, 2019. “America is Not For Mothers.”

Kare 11 TV News, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 25, 2019. “Can Moms Really Have Work-Family Balance?” (2:35).

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.” 

KOOP Radio’s Writing on the Air, Oct. 11, 2015. “Invisible in Austin with Javier Auyero (55:31).

Fox News 7’s Good Day Austin, Sep. 7, 2015. “Balancing Work and Family” (4:16).

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