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Title: A narrative study of ‘lived experiences’ of working mothers in Ireland
Author: Byrne-Doran, Jacinta Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 1540
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2011
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Choice or Constraint ideas have dominated theoretical approaches to the study of women’s lives. Preference theory, postulated by Hakim (1996; 2000) contrasts with the ‘constraints ideology’ evident in the work of Walby (1990) and Crompton (1997; 2006). This study revisits this dichotomy with the purpose of a thematic exploration of the stories of a group of working mothers in Ireland. The lived experiences of working mothers are thematically explored using a sample of 11 mothers who work in paid employment outside the home. Significant themes illuminate the role of maternal grandmothers and husbands/partners in the mothers’ search for balance between their home and work lives A biographical narrative approach is adopted within this study within an interpretive phenomenological epistemology where, through in-depth interviews, working mothers explore their experiences of work and home domains. Data presented is evidenced from two qualitative interviews with each participant; one in Spring 2009 and interview two in Autumn 2009. The creative use of second interviews creates a conversational space in which the mothers reflected on their daily lives as they cope with ‘competing devotions’ (Blair-Loy 2003) of work and home. This study highlights that while working mothers make choices with regard to paid work outside the home they do so within constraints. Given the competing devotions (Blair-Loy 2003) of home and work domains faced by working mothers, many of the working mothers in this study did take up formal work-life balance initiatives, while others relied on informal work-life balance supports from line managers and colleagues in particular. Despite these work-life supports the working mothers in this study not only faced the responsibilities of ‘the second shift’ (Hochschild 1989) but also evidenced the presence of ‘the third shift’ (Hochschild 1997; Kremen Bolton 2000) in their daily negotiations between choice or constraint across work and home domains.
Supervisor: Raddon, Arwen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available