Meaning and Action in Employed Mothers' Health Work

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The purpose of this critical feminist study was to examine employed mothers' meanings of family and personal health as they frame the context of daily experience in caring for their families' and their own health. Twenty mothers employed in support staff positions with a large institution in Western Canada participated in repeat interviews over 2 years. Women considered individual family members and the family group as they emphasized everyday function and satisfaction, and the presence or absence of various attributes of health as a multifaceted and dynamic experience. Women's health work included keeping track, constructing routines, facing challenges, setting priorities, being there for each other, finding joy and fulfillment, and fostering personal development. A preliminary typology of four orientations to family health work is suggested. Common themes between women's and family health and congruence between women's health meanings and actions provide guidance to nurses in family health promotion practice.

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