Changing Times: Parents’ Re-Evaluations of Work-Family Boundaries and Time Allocations in a Pandemic Era

Melissa Milkie, University of Toronto

How will values about work and family time change in the 2020s? Pandemic conditions in March 2020 created abrupt shocks to the volume, scheduling and location of parents’ work-family activities. This project seeks to comparatively assess the reshaping of Australian, Canadian and American parents’ values about work-family boundaries and the meanings of quality family time. It assesses how parents’ time use was restructured during 2020’s pandemic and economic contraction, with panel data collection focusing on parental values regarding work-family boundaries, and perceived ideal amounts and qualities of work, childcare, housework, relationship, and leisure time. Fifty in-depth interviews with parents in each country will conducted and analyzed through a stress-process, interactionist, and intersectional lens. Another arm of the study examines US and Canadian teen and young adults’ positioning of their work-family lives in the future.

Funding: University of Toronto-University of Melbourne grant

Co-investigators: Leah Ruppanner, University of Melbourne; Scott Schieman, University of Toronto

Research Status: Currently in the research phase

Contact: Melissa Milkie

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