G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Managing the "triple demand" : lone mothers' non-standard work hours and work-family reconciliation (2019)

Moilanen, Sanna (2019). Managing the "triple demand" : lone mothers' non-standard work hours and work-family reconciliation. JYU dissertations, 112. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7832-7

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Moilanen, Sanna

eISBN: 978-951-39-7832-7

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 112

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (122 sivua, 99 sivua useina numerointijaksoina) :

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7832-7

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel


This doctoral study examined how lone mothers in Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom experience the reconciliation of work and family life when the mothers are faced with the “triple demand” which links their status as sole breadwinners and caregivers with work during non-standard hours (e.g., evenings, nights, and weekends). The specific focus was on three areas of work– family reconciliation, each of which were examined in three interrelated substudies: (1) childcare arrangements, (2) negative and positive work-to-family interface, and (3) cultural notions of “good” mothering. The sub-studies used two types of data collected as part of the Families 24/7 research project in the three countries: comparative cross-national survey data collected from working lone and coupled mothers (N = 1,106) and qualitative interview data collected from 16 Finnish lone mothers. The results, first, showed that in all three countries, lone mothers and coupled mothers were equally likely to experience challenges with childcare arrangements when working non-standard hours. Second, across the countries, the positive relationship between non-standard work hours and the perceived conflict between time for work and time for family responsibilities was stronger for lone mothers than coupled mothers. Third, Finnish lone mothers perceived their non-standard work hours to pose a potential risk to the wellbeing of their children, which indicated that their work during these hours fits poorly into cultural notions of “good” mothering. To mend this discrepancy and display themselves as responsible mothers, the mothers provided accounts by which they both conformed to and challenged strong cultural mothering expectations. Overall, the findings indicate that lone mothers experience non-standard work hours primarily as a challenge in terms of work–family reconciliation. Findings further suggest that mothers’ experiences are shaped by both the policy environment and the cultural assumptions attached to “good” motherhood and the wellbeing of children.

Keywords: single parents; single-parent families; mothers; working; shift work; working hours; time use; leisure; family life; combining

Free keywords: lone mothers; employed mothers; non-standard work hours; work-family reconciliation; cross-national comparative study; accounts

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2020-09-07 at 11:49