Welfare reform and related policy changes have altered the context in which welfare-reliant women make choices about employment and family care. Using data from longitudinal qualitative interviews, we examined women's experiences of work-family tradeoffs and how they think their employment affected their children. Women identified multiple co-occurring costs and benefits of work for themselves and their children. Benefits included: increased income; increased self-esteem, feelings of independence, and social integration; and the ability to model work and self-sufficiency values for children. Costs included: working without increased income; overload, exhaustion, and stress; and less time and energy to be with, supervise, and support children. The relevance of these findings for family policy specialists and practitioners who work with low-income families is discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Child well-being
- Low-wage work
- Maternal employment
- Welfare reform