- The commuter family as a geographical adaptive strategy for the work-family balance
- Community, Work & Family
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In this paper we raise the question of how commuter families create a work-family balance in a situation of incongruity of the geographical scales of work and family. Commuter families combine the work location of a commuting parent on the (inter)national scale, with the home-based parent's work location and the family home on the local scale. The commuting parent experiences a compartmentalized workweek, while the home-based parent is a single parent on those days. The results indicate two types of work-family balance. In the traditionalizing type, the father concentrates full time on paid work and the mother is the family caregiver both when the father is at work and at home. In the egalitarian type, both parents participate in paid work for at least four days a week. Family care in these egalitarian families is coordinated by the home-based parent (female or male) and shared by both parents during the weekends. The work-family balance of a commuter family involves some sacrifice, but also substantial enrichment. The empirical evidence is derived from a small-scale data set of 30 in-depth interviews with both parents in 15 commuter families in the Netherlands.
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