This qualitative study focuses on the environment of social support and challenges in seeking work-life balance for firefighters who are mothers. The goal of this research is to create a website that can provide these women with online resources and a community of support to achieve work-life balance. In-depth interviews with six firefighter mothers addressed topics such as occupational background, experiences in the field-work-life situation, and potential challenges they face as working mothers in the fire service industry. Findings revealed that exaggerated difficulties for firefighter mothers due to the physicality and intense nature of their work, as well as the island of femininity they deal with in the workplace. Coping strategies took the form of mobilizing masculinity (Martin, 2001), with firefighter mothers expressing their tendency to act like "just one of the guys." Participants gravitated towards other female firefighters who could relate to their challenges, when they did seek out community. Firefighter mothers conveyed interest in and desire to use a website that could provide them with motherhood resources and access to a community of fellow firefighter mothers to forge a network of social support.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Communication; Women fire fighters; Work-life balance; Working mothers -- Social conditions

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Seaver College



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Amaro, Lauren M.