The Impact of Teens on Mothers' Perspectives on Work and Family
Dr. Debra Swanson
Much of the research on a mother’s work choice and its effects on family life is limited to non-longitudinal data. This qualitative study fills that void by providing data regarding mothering when their children were toddlers and then again when their children were teenagers. By using a holistic approach, this research assesses how various factors in a woman’s life are affected by her child’s aging. Using a sample of twenty-one mothers, changes in marriage and work choice were analyzed in their life as their children grew older, and the stress of these changes. We found that a woman’s work choice affected selfperceptions as well as spousal relationship. We discovered that full-time employed mothers valued family time, part-time employed mothers, however, valued the flexibility to choose when they could take time for themselves through work or personal activities, and stay at home mothers were found to value being always present in their children’s lives. While lack of time is a permanent quality in every woman’s life, mothering appears to be less demanding of time. Mothers will identify themselves as mothers whether they are employed or not. It was found that women reported an increase in the strength of their marriage as their children aged. This research could be used as a resource to women looking to become mothers and to those interested in how aging can impact perceptions of work choice and family.
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