Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 1 2007, page 13-27.
English resume

The balancing act of everyday life

Employed parents between work and family life

Stine Lyngborg, Kirstine Guldager Madsen og Gitte Løth Skoust

This article focuses on Danish employed parents with children between the ages of 3 and 6 and how they manage or do not manage to reach balance between work and family in their everyday lives. The article identifies the characteristics of families that experience ‘balance’ in their everyday life and those who do not.
The definition of an experienced balance between work and family led us to focus on the parents’ ideals of work and family and the reality they live in. We found that accordance between ideals and reality led to a feeling of balance, whereas discrepancy between ideals and reality caused a sense of imbalance. The gap between ideals and reality would either be leveled through a strategic change of reality or an adjustment of the ideals.
An analytical distinction of the issues that parents deal with on a daily basis were made, sorting them into emotional issues (such as stress and feeling of inadequacy) and practical issues (such as matching working hours with institution hours). In the same manner a distinction was made between the strategies that the parents use to
face these issues – emotional strategies (such as prioritising, and accept) and practical strategies (such as part time work or heavy scheduling). It turned out that practical issues issues must be faced with practical strategies and emotional issues with emotional strategies, whereas a mix would leave the issue unsolved and the imbalance unaffected.


Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)


 

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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt