Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Susan D. Stewart


Traditional gender roles portray men as breadwinners and women as caretakers but these roles are slowly changing due to the increase in dual earner families. However, employed mothers continue to be more closely associated with caretaking than employed fathers. Employed mothers face a unique bind between their caretaking and employment expectations. Yet, the relationship between employed mothers' work-family, their parenting and parental satisfaction has not been the subject of rigorous study.

Guided by the concepts of the intensive mothering ideology and ideal worker norm, this dissertation examined the relationships between employed mothers' work-family conflict, positive parenting, and parental satisfaction using nationally representative cross-sectional data collected from mothers. The intensive mothering ideology describes mothers as solely dedicated to children and family with little self-interest while the ideal worker norm defines a good worker as someone solely dedicated to the company with little concern for their personal aspects.

Results suggest that family sacrifices had a greater influence on employed mothers than career sacrifices. This finding appears to indicate that employed mothers continue to compare themselves to the intensive mothering ideology rather than the ideal worker norm. Maternal and family characteristics were also shown to have a relationship with work-family conflict, parenting, and parental satisfaction. This research has important implications for the understanding of maternal work-family conflict and the development of ways to minimize this conflict.


Copyright Owner

Kathleen Ann Malone



Date Available


File Format


File Size

200 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons