“I never thought about how much of a juggle it would be”: motherhood and work in contemporary Lithuanian and Irish creative industries

This article explores the experiences of Irish and Lithuanian mothers in creative work who detail challenges they face and the various strategies they develop to sustain creative work and care for their children. The study draws from 24 interviews which were carried out with mothers in both countries at various stages in their careers. Our study stresses the importance of national context in research on European creative workers, since national and localised differences feature little in creative industries literature. By assessing mothers in their national contexts, we argue that mothers may share overall experiences of juggling work and family life, of the requirement to solve childcare issues and of challenges they face while working in creative industries. However, crucially, key differences emerge in how Lithuanian and Irish mothers position their professional and maternal identities. Differences arise in the solutions that Lithuanian and Irish mothers use and in the extent to which challenges may be negated, particularly across generations. We relate each of these differences to the localised contexts in which the creative workers mother.