The purpose of this paper is to investigate Finnish working mothers’ experiences of the effects of non-standard working schedules (NSWS) on family time in two family forms, coupled and lone-parent families. Furthermore the aim is to find out what meanings mothers with NSWS attached to family time paying particular attention to the circumstances in which mothers experienced NSWS positively.
Thematic analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews was used to investigate mothers’ experiences of the effects of NSWS on family time.
The key factor generating positive experiences was the ability to maintain regularity and togetherness, which was enhanced by specific features of work, such as autonomy and regularity, and successful child care arrangements. Also important were the values mothers associated with family time. The results highlighted the more problematic situation of lone-parent families.
The main limitation of this study was the small sample size.
The findings show how the parents of small children benefit from the regularity and flexibility in their working hours. Owing to irregular and varying working times, flexible around-the-clock childcare is needed. In Finland, an important question is how to organize the care of small school-aged children. Lone mothers, especially, may need services to help with domestic chores and childcare.
A non-resident parent can also be an important source of childcare. Therefore policymakers should take into account family type, including consideration of the rights to childcare of non-resident parents.
This study adds to the literature by explaining more in depth, through the richness of qualitative data, the circumstances in which mothers experience NSWS positively.
This research was funded by the Academy of Finland (Grant Code No. 251410) the Families 24/7 project, and grants to Minna Murtorinne-Lahtinen from the Wihuri and Olvi Foundations.
Murtorinne-Lahtinen, M., Moilanen, S., Tammelin, M., Rönkä, A. and Laakso, M. (2016), "Mothers’ non-standard working schedules and family time: Enhancing regularity and togetherness ", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 36 No. 1/2, pp. 119-135. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-02-2015-0022Download as .RIS
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