Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Sedahlia Jasper Crase


This purpose of this research was to explore the lived experiences of married, college-educated stay-at-home mothers who had postponed or cancelled full-time careers to either stay at home full-time (n = 7) or to work part-time (n = 7). All mothers had either one or two children under the age of 5 and were married. Using qualitative research methods, detailed and personal information was obtained through individual interviews with each mother relating to the rewards and challenges of full-time or part-time stay-at-home mothering, factors influencing the decision to stay at home, "good" mothering, social contact and free time, the marriage relationship and division of household labor/child rearing, child care, and future goals and plans. All interviews were transcribed, and individual descriptive summaries, as well as composite theme analyses were compiled and are presented in this report. Informants also completed questionnaires measuring demographic information, self-esteem, general life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and satisfaction with the mothering role, the scores on these measures were used descriptively. Findings indicate that although college-educated full-time and part-time stay-at-home mothers have unique feelings and experiences relating to their roles as mothers, both are largely satisfied with their life arrangements. Important implications for future research and application are discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Jennifer Dawn Riday



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

226 pages