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This chapter examines the anxieties and impossibilities of contemporary motherhood, showing how women are primed for increasingly unsettled affective lives in the nuclear family. Situating women’s narratives of everyday family life within shifting discourses of “good” mothering, this chapter traces how mothers’ lives have been loaded up with social responsibility by long-standing gender regimes and the advancement of neoliberalism. This chapter pulls apart the interlocking affective loads that mothers bear—from the unrelenting demands of “mother love” to the overflowing maternal information and advice online to the privatization of risk and happiness—as they labor to hold together and optimize their families amid increasing insecurity. Mothers are often anxious and overwhelmed, as what is at stake in their women’s work is not only the health and well-being of their own children but also the project of the family itself and its survival.

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