Why are most British lone mothers unemployed? And is 'welfare to work' the right sort of policy response? This book provides an in-depth analysis of how lone mothers negotiate the relationship between motherhood and paid work. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, it focuses on social capital in different neighbourhoods, local labour markets and welfare states. Criticising conventional economic theories of decision-making, it posits an alternative concept of 'gendered moral rationality', and sets up new frameworks for understanding national policy differences and discourses about lone motherhood.