Objective. This study sought to understand the tasks and activities involved in the caring and nurturing work of mothering, a common and important occupation for many women.

Method. In-depth, semistructured individual interviews were conducted with 40 mothers: 20 mothers of preschool-age children and 20 mothers of young adults. In addition, participants completed a questionnaire describing the tasks and activities that they currently engage in when caring for their children.

Results. The activities involved in mothering are different for the mothers at the two stages of mothering examined. The mothers of preschool-age children are very involved in caretaking tasks and meeting the basic needs of the child, whereas the mothers of young adults are involved in emotional and supportive type activities. Mothers at both stages are involved in caring and nurturing work but this work evolves and changes as children mature.

Conclusion. These findings extend our awareness of mothering and the tasks and activities involved in the occupation of mothering at both the preschool stage and young-adult stage.

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