See-sawing between work and home: Shift-working mothers’ perceptions on work/family balance

2012 IJRSE – Volume 1 Issue 2


Huhtala, Eija
University of Lapland, Finland (

Uusiautti, Satu*
University of Lapland, Finland (

Määttä, Kaarina
University of Lapland, Finland (


Recent public discourse and studies are filled with issues related to work/family balance. Shift work concretely affects family life considerably already starting from the schedule the family has to follow because of one or both parents’ work shifts. The purpose of this study is to contribute by dissecting shift worker-mothers’ perceptions on the balance between shift work and family life. This research was a qualitative study where eight shift-working mothers were interviewed. This phenomenon is studied through the following research questions: 1.) what kinds of experiences shift-working mothers have on motherhood; 2.) What kinds of experiences shift-working mothers have on their work; and 3.) What factors do they bring out concerning the family/work balance? As a conclusion, a typology that illustrates shift working mothers’ perceptions on the success of work/family balance in their life will be introduced.

Keywords: shift work; motherhood; work/family balance; families with children; working life



*Corresponding Author