‘Sometimes they just want to cry for their mum’: couples’ negotiations and rationalisations of gendered divisions in infant care

Rose, Judy, Brady, Michelle, Yerkes, Mara A. and Coles, Laetitia (2015) ‘Sometimes they just want to cry for their mum’: couples’ negotiations and rationalisations of gendered divisions in infant care. Journal of Family Studies, 21 1: 38-56. doi:10.1080/13229400.2015.1010264

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Author Rose, Judy
Brady, Michelle
Yerkes, Mara A.
Coles, Laetitia
Title ‘Sometimes they just want to cry for their mum’: couples’ negotiations and rationalisations of gendered divisions in infant care
Journal name Journal of Family Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1322-9400
1839-3543
Publication date 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13229400.2015.1010264
Open Access Status
Volume 21
Issue 1
Start page 38
End page 56
Total pages 19
Place of publication Maleny, QLD, Australia
Publisher eContent Management
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract This study investigates how couples negotiate and rationalise gendered divisions in infant care. We take a social constructivist approach to analysing qualitative data from 11 couples with infants (aged 6 to 8 months). We find that even where fathers are actively involved in infant care there are strong gendered divisions in the types of care that parents provide. These divisions are rationalised by gendered discourses regarding mother’s superior ability to care for and nurture infants and embedded in the ‘silences’ or taken-for-granted gendered assumptions within couple’s accounts. Dominant gendered discourses implicitly defend a father’s decision to opt out of infant care tasks they find more difficult, such as soothing an irritable infant. Our study contributes to work and family policy by capturing couples’ care negotiations in the early stages of the parent-child relationship. This is a critical time when gendered care patterns are established within families.
Keyword Couples
Infant care
Gender
Qualitative
Social constructivist
Work and family policy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2016 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 24 Feb 2015, 11:40:25 EST by Michelle Brady on behalf of School of Social Science