Balance in everyday life: Dual-income parents' collective and individual conceptions
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As the social justice movement has lessened the gender gap in paid and unpaid occupational participation, the subject of balance in everyday life is receiving increased attention. Although various theories about balance have been developed, it remains elusive as a concept. This research investigates the ways in which men and women in dual-income couples with young children conceive of balance in everyday life. The phenomenographic study recruited 15 heterosexual, dual-income couples living with at least one child under age six; two individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with both partners in each couple. The analyses generated two key conceptions of balance: managing life and participating in a mix of occupations. In elucidating these conceptions, parents associated the former with meeting collective needs and the latter with meeting individual needs. Trying to simultaneously satisfy these two conceptions of balance created tension. Managing life reinforced parents' intensive commitment to parenting and led to balance, but it limited their engagement in personal occupations, which was associated with imbalance. Conversely, participating in a mix of occupations allowed parents to meet their own needs and contributed to balance, but as it reduced the time they spent with their families, it was related to imbalance.
Journal of Occupational Science
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Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified