Work-family conflict


Most women today perform two demanding roles simultaneously: the role of mother and the role of worker. Moreover, working mothers can also be engaged in additional roles such as student, studying at a university or a college which empowers them to improve their professional skills, broaden their horizons and fulfill their potential. Another role that most kazakh women perform is “nurse” who takes care of elderly parents-in law who usually live with them and require a lot of attention from their daughters-in law. However, I want to focus mainly on construing the dual role of mother and employee.

My inspiration for writing this post came from the idea to construct a work-family balance in my everyday life. In my seven years of  job experience I have worked at six different schools and definitely have had work-family conflicts. Consequently, I would like to share my thoughts on how I managed to handle them. According to Kulik and Liberman (2013), women feel stressed when “distress spills over from the domain of work to the domain of the family and vice versa” (p.458). In a more simply way, any women can be tortured when her work responsibilities interfere with the family matters. Gilbert et al. (1981), define work-family conflict as extremely stressful for females and it occurs when a woman tries to fulfill the roles of full-time professional and full-time parent. Women choosing a dual-career life style although well trained to handle conflicts arising from the professional role may not be as well prepared to deal with conflicts regarding the maternal role. Thus, regardless of the coping strategy employed, high stress due to role conflict may occur. In addition, their value systems may remain untested until a child enters the family. Gilbert et al. (1981), suggest that emotional support alleviates distress in the family. I totally agree with these researchers since the emotional support from my husband has always assisted me through my working experience and with his endorsement I am here in GSE.

Next, I want to propose my recommendations for making working mothers lives less stressful and tensional. I anticipate that my tips will help every working women to pursue their goals:

  • Encourage yourself to adopt behavioral strategies such as efficient time management and setting priorities
  • Change your negative perception of work-family conflict and learn to view this conflict as a challenge that can lead to growth
  • Try to minimize the tensions between work and family
  • Negotiate some kind of change to your professional working hours and conditions

after becoming a mother

  • Transform your identities
  • Share responsibilities with your spouse, other family members or social agents
  • Ask your spouse to SUPPORT for your professional role and to PARTICIPATE in parenting

To sum up, I consider motherhood as a very powerful experience, at times joyful and at times equally painful. The interactions of personal and public life for most women can be challenging and becoming a parent is often in contradiction with their desire to continue their professional career. That is every woman’s own wish to turn this process of contradiction into a process of redefinition and transformation of the self by embracing the professional and personal identities. Are you ready to transform your identities?  Or how do you cope with a conflict between professional and maternity roles?


Gilbert, L. A., Holahan, C.K., & Manning L. (1981). Coping with conflict between professional and maternal roles. Family Relations, 30(3), 419-426. Retrieved from

Kulik, L. and Liberman, G. (2013). Work–family conflict, resources and role set density; assessing their effects on distress among working mothers. Journal of Career Development, 40(5), 445-465. Retrieved from


6 thoughts on “Work-family conflict

  1. Vivat working mothers!!! Thank you for sharing your experience and “strategies” of being “a super working and studying mother”. Whenever we mention that we study or work instead of sitting at home with the newborn child people are surprised and shocked. The fact that we are studying or working does not make us “worse or better” mothers than others. Instead, it might inspire others to fulfil their potential.
    One more thing I will add as a studying mother is that women need to be “selfish” sometimes. Whatever we do should be done with our wish and interest first. Hip hip to working mothers!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As soon as I saw the topic of your post, my mother came to my mind. I am not going to sing praise to her here, despite she deserves much more than just praise for everything she does as a parent for me and my family. I provided this vivid example simply because my mom is a a regular woman who manages to juggle so many things at the same time: cooking, cleaning, ironing my dad’s 134 shirts, preparing my younger brother for an examination and working in two different jobs. Our case is very common. Many female caregivers in family attempt to balance too many different tasks. In this sense, your post is very helpful as it shares personal experience: you did not just read two articles and spent 1 hour in the library to write that, you put your heart into this post (at least I noticed a lot of personal voice throughout your writing). Another positive thing I would like to highlight is a great balance of academic evidence, personal voice and even the picture was selected very well: it drew my attention! Finally, thank you for giving recommendations, they made your post positive, ending cheerfully and encouragingly.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dear Assanova, thank you for interesting post.

    The topic is very hot for many women worldwide. Somebody claims that combining the family and the job is nonprofitable for both. As family as job/study will suffer. The one women cannot be the great mom/wife and the excellent employee at the same time. Others argue that balancing this two things helps women to perform better as on work place as at home being mother/wife. Also the aspect of mentality plays a big role here. Asian culture consider women mostly as mother, wife and householder.
    It is a choice of particular family with particular unique circumstance. So that additionally to your tips of successful balancing I would suggest do not to compare with other families. What is works better for neighbor is not necessarily will work better for you. Find your one way which will fit YOUR family.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Zhadra, wow, what a lovely topic and you made your work attention grabbing from the beginning till the end. You expertly described the concept of work-family conflict where work interferes with family life. While reading this post I found resemblance from my own experience. Let me share it with you. While working I had experienced a situation when I wasn’t able to pick my son from kindergarten in time due to an expected meeting which started late in the day. He stayed not longer than 20 minutes, but anyway kids don’t like to be taken last. Occurred situation made me to prioritize my primary preferences in life. That situation was really painful for me and since that time finding part time job or spending lovely time with my son is valuable for me than working.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you friends, for evaluating my post so highly and for positive comments. I am very pleased to hear that my post was helpful for you to understand the nature of the work-family conflict. It was also a great pleasure to read thoughts from the perspectives of single people since I was expecting comments only from marrieds. I confess, Shynar you surprised me with your well-grounded ideas about working mothers. I would rather agree with Dinara that every woman should find her own way out of the situation and that no need to imitate somebody else. All of you encouraged me to write my next post and wait for it, it is on the way coming…


  6. Dear Assanova, I totally agree with you and with all comments. In knowledge based society It is hard to be only housewife and mother. You can give to your child more if you will be not ONLY “caregivers”. I try to combine two conflicting roles of mother and student. And it is really challange. The introduction with mentioning the role of women in modern society helps to understand the complexity of the nature of the work-family conflict.
    Also I am happy to read that I am not alone, that women can handle everything if she wants. We are power in men’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

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