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More mothers consider time better spent at full-time job

Published: Thursday, March 14 2013 11:30 a.m. MDT

Callie and Emmie Birch work on smoothies with their mom Cathy in July 2002. In 2012, 32 percent of mothers said their time is better spent on full-time employment, an increase of 12 percent since 2007.

Jeffrey D. Allred

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Working moms’ attitudes about full-time employment have changed over the past five years, according to a recent Pew study.

In 2012, 32 percent of moms said they preferred to work full-time. In 2007, that number was 20 percent.

Mothers in low-income families were the most likely to say they preferred full-time work. This may be due to a higher financial strain on that family demographic.

Although “traditional” gender roles haven’t fully switched, men do more housework and child care than ever before. In 1965, fathers performed about four hours of housework and 2.5 hours of child care each week. In 2011, they provided 10 hours of housework and seven hours of childcare on average.

Mothers in 1965, said housework took about 32 hours each week and childcare took 10. As more women started working and paid working hours increased from eight to 21 hours a week from 1965 to 2011, housework dropped to 18 hours.

Interestingly, childcare increased an additional four hours, showing that women spent 14 hours on average taking care of their children.

The public majority didn’t necessarily consider staying at home the best use of a mother's time. Only 16 percent of adults consider that ideal.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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