(Today’s guest post is from Judy Rose and she explains issues involved with work-life balance.)
It has been called work life balance, work family balance, work life conflict, work family interference; but the concept is familiar to many parents who struggle to juggle paid work, unpaid work and family responsibilities. Research by Gloria Steinem, Pamela Stone and others has found that it is mothers, particularly moms in paid employment, who are most at risk of burnout as they try to juggle their multiple roles. Some moms are forced to ‘opt out’ of the work scene altogether, while others face incredible levels of stress and time pressure, when work conflicts with family responsibilities.
Despite the massive increase in mothers returning to paid work over the last 20 years, women still do the bulk of domestic work and unpaid child care in the home. This is what Steinem calls ‘the second shift’. A study by Lyn Craig found that mothers in paid work squeeze time from their personal and leisure activities to fit in their caring responsibilities by starting their day earlier or later, or pinching time from sleeping, eating or self care. Another study by Alison Moorehead found that mothers tend to multi-task and synchronize their time, so that for example, while they might be at work, they may also be on the phone supervising their children’s after school activities or homework.
Australian PhD student, Judy Rose (aka Aztec-rose) has created a blog called WoLFi TaLEs to discuss the issue of work life balance, or what she prefers to call ‘interconnectivity’. Because of the overlapping nature of the work mothers do, it seemed that ‘interconnectivity’ was a more accurate description than balance. The interconnections with support structures and people (including partners, family, community, child care, health care, workplaces and government) all impact on the wellbeing of families and mothers’ ability to cope. Aztec-rose is interested in your comments or experiences in regards to work life family interconnectivity as a parent engaged in paid work. Please go to www.worklifeinterconnectivity.com and share your stories.
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