This article presents data from a project exploring women's experiences of work and care. It focuses primarily on work–life balance as a problematic concept. Social and economic transformations across advanced post-industrial economies have resulted in concerns about how individuals manage their lives across the two spheres of work and family and achieve a work–life balance. Governments across the European Union have introduced various measures to address how families effectively combine care with paid work. Research within this area has tended to focus on work–life balance as an objective concept, which implies a static and fixed state fulfilled by particular criteria and measured quantitatively. Qualitative research on women's experiences reveals work–life balance as a fluctuating and intangible process. This article highlights the subjective and variable nature of work–life balance and questions taken-for-granted assumptions, exploring problems of definition and the differential coping strategies which women employ when negotiating the boundaries between work and family.