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“The Guilt Thing”: Balancing Domestic and Professional Roles


Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, UCOM 2000, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36695 (


Women’s representation in the workforce has increased dramatically over the past 30 years; yet, women “take a greater responsibility for the care of children” (Equal Opportunities Commission, 2006). Research has suggested working mothers may experience guilt resulting from the social constrictions of a traditional model of intensive mothering (B. Holcomb, 1998). Forty-two audiotaped conversations of female teachers (n = 8) were collected in a British high school. Qualitative analyses of 3 conversations, in which 5 of the teachers discussed their professional and domestic responsibilities, demonstrated that the participants discursively aligned to 3 dominant interactional positions, accessibility, happiness, and separate spheres (Y. Elvin-Novak & H. Thomsson, 2001). The analyses also revealed the use of supportive conversational strategies such as co-complaining and matching accounts.