We set up a dynamic reduced form model of labour market participation for women who balance career and motherhood. The model accounts for the occurrence of future child birth and early retirement, and includes home production; however, it does not require the estimation of a structural model. Careful implementation of pension institutions can return optimal life patterns of participation without the need of a structural approach. The weaker theoretical framework is compensated by the rich spectrum of possible policy simulations. As illustration, we simulate the effect of two tax credits policy options on the hazard rate out of work. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.