Encumbered: a critical feminist analysis of why mothers want part-time employment. By: Breitkreuz, Rhonda; Cadrain, Laura; Dyckerhoff, Jaira; Abraham, Haneen and Robbenhaar, Madeline. Community, Work & Family. p1-22.

Mothers are often viewed as encumbered workers, juggling multiple responsibilities in paid and reproductive work. In this article, we examine the paid and reproductive experiences of mothers with preschool children in Canada, using a socio-ecological framework and a critical-feminist lens to explore the micro and macro environments that shape women’s home and work lives. To do this analysis, we completed demographic surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews with 58 mothers of preschool children in the Province of Alberta, Canada. The key finding discussed in this article is that for many participants, regardless of current job status (full-time, part-time or opt-out), the idealized solution to work-family integration challenges was part-time employment. Results suggest that although part-time employment was viewed as an ideal for many mothers, in practice, it proved to be a less-than-perfect solution for mothers attempting to integrate paid and unpaid work. Because earned income is the key source of financial well-being for the vast majority of Canadian households, and mothers’ marginalization in paid work may impede mothers’ income security and wellbeing, we posit that maternal employment is a key facet of gender equality that needs more attention in the scholarly literature.