chapter  9
The Long Arm of the Job Revisited: Parenting in Dual-Earner Families
WithAnn C. Crouter, Susan M. McHale
Pages 22

In Middletown, the classic monograph about U.S. culture, Lynd and Lynd (1929) coined the phrase “the long arm of the job” to describe the considerable influence that fathers’ employment situations had on their families. As the Lynds explained, the temporal rhythms of work life and the specter of unemployment helped to shape many aspects of family life in Middletown, including parents’ childrearing activities. In the years since that publication, the phrase “the long arm of the job” has been borrowed by other scholars too. Waller (1938) used it as a chapter title in his book, The family: A dynamic interpretation, as did Komarovsky (1962) in Blue Collar Marriage. Menaghan (1991) used the term “the long reach of the job” in her chapter on work and family for the Annual Review of Sociology. We were pleased to join this tradition in our chapter (Crouter & McHale, 1993a) in the first edition of Parenting: An Ecological Perspective and to continue it in our current reassessment of the influences of parental work on childrearing.