This chapter explores the effects of work and family roles amongst employed Australian women employees, who varied by age (young to adult) and presence (or not) of children. The women were employed mostly in full-time, permanent jobs, although a third of mothers of the youngest children had part-time positions. Despite the differences in working hours, the women reported similar working conditions and levels of satisfaction with their jobs and family lives. Work-life balance was also similar for the women, even for busy mothers of young children, who had more negative family-to-work spillover, and busy mothers of primary school-aged children, who had higher levels of negative work-to-family spillover. For the latter, this may reflect the challenges of returning to full-time working hours whilst caring for children who were not yet independent. Surprisingly, the higher occupational role salience of younger women without children was associated with more emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Mothers of adult children showed the most robust, positive outcomes, with greater work engagement and less burnout than women without children, than mothers of primary school children, and less negative spillover between roles. Whilst younger children made mothers busier and increased negative spillover, mothers of older children benefited from their experiences and had gained competence and engagement in work in later life.
Exploring Resources, Life-Balance and Well-Being of Women Who Work in a Global Context / Gervais, Roxanne L, Millear, P M (eds): pp.179-197