A Mother’s Work
In the course of writing this book, my thinking has benefited from ongoing conversations about motherhood and family policy with a stimulating community of scholars at the University of California, Berkeley. Coming from more than half a dozen disciplines, friends and colleagues at the Center for Child and Youth Policy and in the Berkeley Family Forum book club have collaborated on several edited volumes over the years and meet regularly to review books and share their research. For intellectual companionship that embraces spirited discussion of touchy subjects, I am indebted to Mary Ann Mason, Jill Duerr Berrick, Steve Sugarman, Carolyn Cowan, Phil Cowan, Ira Ellman, Paula Fass, Bruce Fuller, Alison Gop – nik, Norton Grubb, Sylvia Gundelman, Stephen Hinshaw, Joan Hollinger, David Kirp, Jane Mauldon, Dan Perlstein, Richard Scheffler, Ruth Rosen, Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, Susan Stone, Joan Williams, Gillian Lester, Melissa Murray, Catherine Albis – ton, Margaret Weir, and Ruth Zafran. Although I have benefited from their wisdom and good counsel, it is hard to imagine, if experience is any guide, that these fine people would not take issue with some of the analyses and conclusions drawn in this book—the Berkeley Family Forum has never to my recol
lection discussed a volume about which its members failed to detect many areas for improvement. Since we often learn most from engaging those with whom we differ, I take comfort in contributing to the process.
While working on this book, I also had the good fortune of being able to submit my nascent ideas to public scrutiny on various occasions. In 2004, preliminary formulations for several sections of the book were presented at a conference sponsored by the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, and later appeared in Society (“Family Life: Sold on Work,” Society 42:3 [March/April 2005], 12-17) and The Public Interest (“What Do Women Really Want?” The Public Interest 158 [Winter 2005], 21-38). I am grateful to the conference organizers Peter Berger and Jonathan Imber for providing a venue to exchange views with an exciting group of social thinkers including Judith Kleinfeld, Angela Dillard, Kar – lyn Bowman, Rita Simon, Claudia Winkler, Andrew Kleinfeld, and Brigitte Berger. I had a chance to partake in a wide-ranging discussion about family policy during the 2005 meeting A Dialogue for a New Moral Agenda, organized by Amitai Et – zioni at the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University. In 2006, a public lecture on work and family life, sponsored by the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, was followed by an engaging conversation with the European audience, which ended only when we were informed that the food at the reception was getting cold. And in 2007 I gave the Sydney Ball lecture at Oxford University, which drew on several lines of analysis in my manuscript; this event was capped by a spirited evening of collegial debate during a memorable dinner hosted by George Smith. I wish to thank the sponsors of these learned gatherings for the kind receptions afforded to me, and the many participants for the benefits of their constructive feedback. Although my work has profited from these occasions to test initial analyses in public fora, needless to say none of the people or institutions mentioned bear responsibility for any deficiencies that remain in the final results.
I am obliged to my doctoral student Jing Guo for assistance in collecting and organizing data and to Lorretta Morales for handling many of the local chores of manuscript preparation. I was pleased and astonished by the intellectual force with which Keith Condon of Yale University Press gently wielded his red pencil. His incisive comments were always on the mark. I am also indebted to my production editor Jessie Hunnicutt for conducting a remarkably thorough and constructive review of the manuscript. I wish to express my appreciation to the family members who established the Milton and Gertrude Chernin Chair in Social Services and Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, which provided generous support for my research on this book.
Special gratitude is owed to my children, Evan, Jesse, Nathaniel, and Nicole, for the wonder and joy they impart on the existential roller coaster of family life. Finally, my deepest appreciation goes to my wife, Bekki, whose care and guidance have kept the ride on track. A lawyer, a gifted scholar of social policy, and an inspirational mother, she has lent warm encouragement to my work along with valuable insights on motherhood, feminism, and the difference between independence and self-sufficiency.
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