CHILDREN’S AND PARENTS’ EXPERIENCES ON EVERYDAY LIFE AND THE HOME/WORK BALANCE IN FINLAND
AbstractPaid work and the high-pressure working life are reflected in the everyday life of Finnish families with children. This article introduces a research project where 29 children aged between ages 5 and 7 and their 13 wage-earner parents were interviewed in order to discover to what degree they are able to achieve a home/work balance in their family lives. There is a lack of such research that examines children’s and parents’ experiences simultaneously and comprehensively, as this study does. The children’s experiences were analyzed with an existential-phenomenological method, while the parents’ experiences of how their work affects everyday life were interpreted within a hermeneutically advancing interpretation process. This research describes the challenging combination of work and family, the demanding relationship between children and parents, and the ways in which parents approach balancing work and everyday life when parents’ paid work, stress, and fatigue follows them home. Parents’ working life moulds the rhythm of their children’s everyday lives, which are structured by the departures and arrivals at home and at their daycare centers. This article makes visible Finnish families’ daily worries and how they cope with everyday life. The research highlights the question of how to secure both children’s and parents’ rights to a safe and anxiety-free everyday life.
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