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Dual-Earner Families and Maternal Gatekeeping

            There are many debates about whether gender roles have a big impact on parenting. Ranson (2010) discusses the topic in detail with three types of couples that interchanges the gender roles of the breadwinner and primary caregiver. In general, it seems that interchanging these roles will not have a big impact towards the family (Ranson, 2010). However, a few problems have risen due to maternal gatekeeping mostly in dual-earner families. Maternal gatekeeping prevents fathers' involvement with the children which affects the relationship of the family as a whole. Therefore, this essay will analyze how the interchanging of the gender roles of the breadwinner and primary caregiver and role strain evokes maternal gatekeeping due to different duration of time able to spend with their children.
             The origin of maternal gatekeeping is due to the role expectations and beliefs of being a mother (Pedersen & Kilzer, 2013). The norm in society has mostly been the mother being the primary caregiver and the father being the breadwinner (Ranson, 2010). The switching of the gender roles of the breadwinner and the primary caregiver has been recent, so many mothers will still have a strong maternal identity as well as the fathers still having a strong paternal identity (Ranson, 2010). In dual-earner families, both parents work and sometimes have to resort to outside services to take care of their children. It takes a lot of cooperation in order to equally divide the work at home for dual-earner families for it to work well. With both parents working, there is little involvement with their children either for one parent or sometimes both. Maternal gatekeeping promotes more involvement for the mother with her children to reassure herself of her maternal identity (Pedersen & Kilzer, 2013). It also can either promote or discourage the involvement of fathers (Pedersen & Kilzer, 2013). The promotion of the involvement of fathers is when the husband is just as good as the mother when being the caregiver and the discouragement happens when they are not doing such a good job (Pedersen & Kilzer, 2013).

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