Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 84–96 | Cite as

Non-standard Work and Rural Low-Income Mothers: Making It Work

  • Mary Jo KatrasEmail author
  • Erin Hiley Sharp
  • Elizabeth M. Dolan
  • Laura Andrew Baron
Original Paper


Work is an integral part of life in the United States and balancing work and family life can be a difficult task for many families made even harder to accomplish when a mother is low-income, living in a rural area, and working non-standard hours. Non-standard work hours include weekends, nights, rotating shifts, or split shifts. Using qualitative data from the longitudinal Rural Families Speak research project, this paper explored how rural low-income mothers who work non-standard schedules access and manage resources to try to balance the demands of work and family life. Interpreted through a family resource management lens, the results illuminate critical resources that allow families to manage work and family life while highlighting the demands the families often faced. Critical resources included accessing informal social support, managing work and family time, and seeking employment that supports work and family balance. Demands that threatened work and family balance included lack of flexibility in available resources and employment which make it difficult to balance work and family. Findings suggest the importance of developing community based programs to support both work and family as well educating employers on ways to support their employees.


Low-income Mothers Non-standard work Resources Rural 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jo Katras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erin Hiley Sharp
    • 2
  • Elizabeth M. Dolan
    • 2
  • Laura Andrew Baron
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Family DevelopmentUniversity of Minnesota ExtensionMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family StudiesUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Division of Violence PreventionThe Boston Public Health CommissionBostonUSA

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