This study was commissioned by the Commonwealth, State, Territories and New Zealand Ministers on the Status of Women with funds from the Women's Activities Trust Fund. It aims to capture the labour market transition experiences of Australian mothers who are balancing work and family responsibilities. The study employed a qualitative approach, which enables women’s stories and voices to be heard. The qualitative data was supplemented by quantitative analysis. The study seeks to fill a gap in existing Australian research on work and family issues, much of which focuses exclusively on quantitative analysis. It attempts to give policy makers a better understanding of mothers’ labour market experiences, their work preferences and the factors that constrain or facilitate their ability to balance their parenting and paid employment roles over the life course. The study reveals the contextual, fluid and complex nature of the life and work decisions that women who are parents make over the life course.