“The Plans They Make and the Paths They Take”

Soliciting Participants in Summer 2022

A dissertation research project consisting in-depth interviews with expectant mothers about their work plans and decision-making processes, complemented by follow-up interviews during their child’s first year of life to assess how mothers’ work-related plans have or have not borne out. Predicated on the fact that the transition to parenthood is a crucial fluctuation point in mothers’ employment trajectories (Doren, 2019; Killewald & García-Manglano, 2016; Lu et al., 2017), qualitative interviews with expectant parents across the social class spectrum will facilitate a deeper understanding of the processes whereby some women incur, and some avoid, the wage and career consequences of motherhood.

Research Goals:

  • To give voice to mothers’ experiences, decisions, and dilemmas as they plan and implement arrangements of paid work and caretaking
  • To understand whether and why women’s preferred arrangements of work and caretaking before children’s arrival differ from their actual arrangements after children’s arrival
  • To identify the mechanisms through which mothers’ experiences vary across socioeconomic status (particularly their financial resources and the characteristics of their work)
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