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25 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 313 (2016)
Soccer Moms, Welfare Queens, Waitress Moms, and Super Moms: Myths of Motherhood in State Media Coverage of Child Care during the Welfare Reforms of the 1990s

handle is hein.journals/scid25 and id is 317 raw text is: 











   SOCCER MOMS, WELFARE QUEENS,
 WAITRESS MOMS, AND SUPER MOMS:
   MYTHS OF MOTHERHOOD IN STATE
   MEDIA COVERAGE OF CHILD CARE
DURING THE WELFARE REFORMS OF
                         THE 1990s

                    LAUREL PARKER WEST, PHD*

    Throughout the evolution of American social policy, political debates
surrounding child care have centered on competing maternal ideals-
making mothers the primary target population for policy in this area. The
construction of the deserving mother in child care policy debates has
changed over time depending on particular economic circumstances and
cultural norms during each era. The competition among different
constructions of mothers proved especially vigorous in the later decades of
the twentieth century as evidenced by the media-driven Mommy Wars
that dominated the policy debates of this era. Conflicting social, political,
and cultural values continue to pit the stay-at-home Soccer Mom against
the career-oriented Super Mom. The mythical Welfare Queen and
working poor Waitress Mom, in contrast, are not even on the radar in this
battle for the ideal construction of motherhood that persists into the current
political climate. While pundits and scholars continue to debate the
implications of various formulations of American motherhood, the majority
of mothers are now working both outside and inside of their homes.
    The provision of safe, affordable, high-quality child care could
potentially serve as an incentive for peace in these raging ideological
debates. Theoretically, at least, mothers and families across racial and class
divisions hope to provide their children with the best possible care. In
reality, debates about motherhood and child care continue to reflect
   *   Vice President, National Programs at Baby Buggy, Inc. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
When I began this project, I was not yet a mother. Now that I have two daughters, I am even more
committed to exploring how we can reframe the way policymakers and the public construct images of
low-income mothers and fathers. Thank you to my incredible colleagues at Baby Buggy, my doctoral
advisor Dr. Michael Rich, my husband Dr. Peter West and my two daughters Josie and Campbell, who
have all supported me in my efforts to better understand and respond to the needs of vulnerable moms
and dads.

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