Brumley, Krista M., Katheryn Maguire & Shirin Montazer. (2021). The Paradox of Time: Work, Family, Conflict, and the Social Construction of Time. Sociological Focus 54(4):310-330. DOI: 10.1080/00380237.2021.1970062.

Today’s employees work longer hours and face constraints from nonstandard, rotating, or unpredictable schedules. Even when they are home, employees are often tethered to their jobs by technology and expected to be available. Higher demands on an employee’s time can lead to burnout and greater job-related stress, impacting work-family conflict. Drawing on in-depth interviews, we analyze how women in dual-income heterosexual partnerships make sense of and manage their family relationships in light of the competition between work-imposed demands and family time. Our study shows how women attempt to control their time by setting boundaries, scheduling, and allowing work and family time to blur as a way to address hectic work and family lives; however, this is often not successful, leading to paradoxical outcomes, particularly for those with children. Nevertheless, our participants make their limited time meaningful as a source of connection within their relational lives by ritualizing meals, accomplishing tasks, and sharing space. This study extends our theorizing on how work and family demands shape perceptions and meanings of the structure of time.