Competing cultural and gender expectations, especially aligned around paid and family work, make the contemporary experience of mothering difficult. The goal of this study is to illuminate, through the use of a feminist perspective, how families handle demands of paid and family work, along with the gendered nature of mothering, when mothers travel for work. Eighty-two mothers, fathers, and children from 22 U.S. families, in which mothers’ jobs required frequent overnight travel, were interviewed to assess how they constructed mothering. The qualitative analysis addressed two categories: (1) the importance of the mother as a breadwinner for the family and (2) family work tasks. From these categories, a theme that travel enabled independence, both for the mother and the family members, emerged. These findings indicate that some work demands may challenge traditional notions of work and family, requiring families to reconstruct their lived experience and the meaning they ascribe to parenting.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 5, 2015
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