Mothers’ practices of combining paid works with child care:
a sociological study
Author analyzes tensions in everyday practices of combining work and children care by employed mothers in Ukrainian large cities. Empirical base of the research are the data of author’s quantitative and qualitative surveys conducted December 2014 to September 2015 in Poltava and Kyiv (Ukraine). The research focuses on characteristics and tensions of these practices related to mothers’ working hours patterns, child care services, and mothers’ experiences of temporal tension in their everyday life. Working hours patterns, namely atypical working hours, lack of flexible working arrangements, overtime working, unpredictable work hours, and weekend work complicate mothers’ daily work and family balance. The author examines as well a number of every-day tensions related to child care services, e.g. state kindergartens, pre-school and out-of school educational programs. First is discrepancy between the opening hours of kindergartens and duration of mothers’ working day, as well as contradictions between institutional rules and practices regulating the opening time of kindergartens. Second is contradiction between mothers’ working hours and the services of pre-school and out-of-school education for children. The spatial contexts aggravate the tensions of working mothers’ everyday life because mothers pay much attention to child safety outside home and consider city as a dangerous space for children. These ideas and fears affect mothers’ daily mobility, because of necessity to accompany children and/or control his/her spatial urban mobility. Author also revealed that lacking institutional support for successful work and family balance in Ukraine is compensated at the expense of mothers’ employment strategies and their daily temporal practices that is intensity of time use, time planning, multi-task activity.