To qualitatively examine how precarious work contributes to parenting stress among Mexican immigrant women.
Mexican immigrants tend to be employed in low‐wage occupations with nonstandard work arrangements and schedules. Besides common strains associated with balancing work and family, they experience immigrant‐specific stressors due to their unique positions in society and differences in structural resources and cultural values regarding parenting.
Ten focus groups were conducted with 30 Mexican immigrant women living in Nashville, TN. An additional focus group was conducted with four key informants who served the local immigrant community. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive and deductive approaches.
Precarious working conditions were a major source of stress and a central contributor to parenting stress. Three themes related to parenting stress emerged: finding and paying for childcare, limited family time, and concerns about children’s well‐being. Traditional gender expectations and the structural context of legal status shaped the challenges they experienced in the work and parenting realms.
The narratives of women in this study reveal the impact that contingent, excessive, or exploitative workloads can have on immigrant families. Overall, women struggled to reconcile their better economic standing and their poor family life.