Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

Committee Chair

John R. Baldwin


For a working mother, the public sphere is frequently conceptualized in previous literature as a first shift of work in the paid labor force, and a second shift of work conceptualized as her motherhood responsibilities, taking place in the home. The present study focuses on a third shift of work for women, conceptualized as bodywork, and the identity negotiation strategies, as well as sensemaking techniques, working mothers employ in order to make sense of this third shift of work. Thematic analysis indicated several sources women draw upon for identity construction purposes, including discourses of comparison, shift obligations, and imaginative emotion management. To make sense of their third-shift involvement, working mothers employed integrating, separating, and disengaging sensemaking techniques. Findings further indicated that the third shift may, in reality, comprise a first shift of work, and some working mothers today may find themselves distinctively faced with trialectical, as opposed to dialectical, tensions in their identity negotiation process.


Page Count


Included in

Communication Commons