When a mother starts work, her daily life changes in various ways: time, money, relationships, quality of life, and well-being are all subject to modification and potentially greater uncertainty. This is also true for her children, who must adapt to changed circumstances and perhaps play a different role within the family as a consequence. Sustaining work and care over time means that the situation of being a working family must become part of the everyday and regular practice of the family, and this actively involves all family members. This article explores this concept of a ‘family-work project’ through a qualitative longitudinal study of British lone mothers and their children, starting as the mothers took up work and following the families for four to five years. The research captured the experiences of the families as they negotiated the demands of sustaining employment while living on a low, but complex, income.