Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs

Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs

by Madonna Harrington Meyer

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Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs by Madonna Harrington Meyer

Winner of the 2014 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award presented by the Gerontological Society of America

Young working mothers are not the only ones who are struggling to balance family life and careers. Many middle-aged American women face this dilemma as they provide routine childcare for their grandchildren while pursuing careers and trying to make ends meet. Employment among middle-aged women is at an all-time high. In the same way that women who reduce employment hours when raising their young children experience reductions in salary, savings, and public and private pensions, the mothers of those same women, as grandmothers, are rearranging hours to take care of their grandchildren, experiencing additional loss of salary and reduced old age pension accumulation. Madonna Harrington Meyer’s Grandmothers at Work, based primarily on 48 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009-2012 with grandmothers who juggle working and minding their grandchildren, explores the strategies of, and impacts on, working grandmothers.

While all of the grandmothers in Harrington Meyer’s book are pleased to spend time with their grandchildren, many are readjusting work schedules, using vacation and sick leave time, gutting retirement accounts, and postponing retirement to care for grandchildren. Some simply want to do this; others do it in part because they have more security and flexibility on the job than their daughters do at their relatively new jobs. Many are sequential grandmothers, caring for one grandchild after the other as they are born, in very intensive forms of grandmothering. Some also report that they are putting off retirement out of economic necessity, in part due to the amount of financial help they are providing their grandchildren. Finally, some are also caring for their frail older parents or ailing spouses just as intensively. Most expect to continue feeling the pinch of paid and unpaid work for many years before their retirement. Grandmothers at Work provides a unique perspective on a phenomenon faced by millions of women in America today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814729472
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 05/02/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 293
Sales rank: 942,018
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Madonna Harrington Meyer is Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and
Professor of Sociology at the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse
University. She is editor of Care Work:
Gender, Labor, and the Welfare State
and co-author of Market Friendly or Family Friendly? The State and Gender Inequality in
Old Age.

Table of Contents

1. Balancing Care and Work
2. Joys and Second Chances
3. Intensive Grandmothering
4. Juggling Work and Grandchildren
5. Financial Ebbs and Flows
6. Containing Carework
7. Emotional Ups and Downs
8. Social and Health Pros and Cons
Conclusions: Grandmothers at Work
About the Author

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Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of grandmothers might see a bit of themselves as they read this book.   Grandmothers at Work, by Madonna Harrington Meyer, follows the lives of 48 working grandmothers who juggle jobs and grandchild care.  They talk a lot about joy.  But they also talk about   rearranging their work schedules, changing jobs, and using paid vacation and sick days to care for grandkids.  Some find that balancing so many tasks keeps they busy and happy while others find that they are overwhelmed.  Those who report adverse effects on their health and pocketbooks would benefit from federal programs like guaranteed paid vacations, paid sick leaves, paid maternity leaves, subsidized child care, or universal pre-k.  With more federal family supports, they  could focus more on grandmothering and less on mothering. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grandmothers at Work, the new book by sociologist Madonna Harrington Meyer, chronicles the lives of working grandmothers who are balancing jobs and grandchildren. It's a story of joy for all -- and hardships for some. Grandmothering may be becoming more intensive, in part because the US provides so few social policies to help working families. It is an important read for scholars -- and grandmothers -- alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Madonna Harrington Meyer's new book, Grandmothers at Work, is the perfect Mothers Day gift. Moreover, it is the perfect read for your book club, your sister, your brother, your husband, your daughter, your son, your friends. It is engaging, enlightening study shedding a bright light on one of the most important, unheralded roles aging women play in our society. The facts and figures in this work explain why the grandmother's role has intensified over the years, but it is the collective voice of the 48 wokring grandmothers interviewed that alow us to comprehend the life altering impact this shift has had on thier lives. The joy, the hardship, the guilty pleasures, the stress. Upon reading Harrington Meyer's work, I had no choice but to reflect upon the roles played by grandmothers in my past, appreciate the influence my own mother had on her grandchildren, better understand women I know presently in similar positions, and develop a much clearer picture of what the future may hold for those women about to enter this stage in their lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Opening this book I thought I was the one and only perfect grandma but upon finishing it I realized there are many more who shine a brilliant light of love for their grandchildren.  This book touched my heart fort the gifts of time, money, care and most of all love that we give our grandchildren, our children's children, in this complicated, busy world we live in.  Thanks to the authors for presenting these "GRAND"  mothers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago