The August 2005 edition of American Vogue carried a cover article on Madonna, entitled “Like a Duchess”, describing her blissful family life in England and featuring Madonna’s 1,000-acre estate, Ashcombe, on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, the place she now sees as “home” (Bowles 230).1 Recounting her fondness for long walks on the estate in “sensible walking shoes” and her solicitude for the fl ocks of pheasants, partridges and chickens that populate the grounds, Madonna enthused that Ashcombe was a “bowl of comfort” and “a kind of buffer against the world” (230). To illustrate this she was variously photographed romping with her children and in tweeds on horseback (with husband Guy Ritchie as groom). The most striking photograph in this glossy spread depicted Madonna in Grace Kelly mode (chiffon cocktail dress with matching cashmere cardigan, pearls and high heels), framed against the gracious architecture and verdant rolling lawns of her estate, (implausibly) feeding the chickens. The recent retro-raunch of her disco queen persona had-at least temporarily-been replaced with the gracious living of this apparently contented and thoroughly domesticated wife and mother.2 In this latest reinvention of herself, Madonna had, it seemed, ‘downshifted’. But what does it mean that this mistress of the postmodern zeitgeist had now embraced downshifting? And what is the signifi cance of the emphasis on motherhood and marriage in this representation of the rural idyll? In this chapter, I consider representations of motherhood and domesticity in popular culture which I argue represent attempts to resolve the dilemma of ‘work-life balance’ for women in a postfeminist era.3 Focusing primarily on two recent popular novels of the mommylit subgenre-Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It (2002) and Danielle Crittenden’s Amanda Bright @ Home (2003)—I will consider how, in these texts, full-time motherhood is contradictorily depicted as both a means of feminine self-fulfi lment and a “sacrifi cial moral vocation” (Quiney 20) through the narrative resolution of downshifting, the answer to work-life balance.