Title

Choosing work and care: four Australian women negotiating return to paid work in the first year of motherhood

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Boyd, W, Walker, S & Thorpe, K 2013, 'Choosing work and care: four Australian women negotiating return to paid work in the first year of motherhood', Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education, vol. 14, no. 2, pp.168-178.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2013.14.2.168

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Australian women make decisions about return to paid work and care for their child within a policy environment that presents mixed messages about maternal employment and child care standards. Against this background an investigation of first-time mothers’ decision-making about workforce participation and child care was undertaken. Four women were studied from pregnancy through the first postnatal year using interview and diary methods. Inductive analyses identified three themes, all focused on dimensions of family security: financial security relating to family income, emotional security relating to child care quality, and pragmatic security relating to child care access. The current policy changes that aim to increase child care quality standards in Australia present a positive step toward alleviating family insecurities but are insufficient to alleviate the evidently high levels of tension between workforce participation and family life experienced by women transitioning back into the workforce in Australia.