If the above picture of a family with two working parents and their child rushing around in a blur bears a resemblance to your lifestyle, you’re not alone: 56% of all working parents find the work-family-life balancing act to be difficult. And although the median income for households with two parents working full-time is substantially more than those in which a mom stays home ($102,400 vs. $55,000), this growing professional trend has resulted in some complex family dynamics and stress-inducing lifestyle situations. If you are a mom in this country and work full-time (even in a two-parent household), you are likely to feel rushed most of the time and mourn your lack of work-family-life balance. These feelings also ripple out to all factors in your life: those parents who report difficulty in achieving a balance are also less likely to enjoy being a parent all the time and less likely to find it rewarding. These are just several of the many findings in the Pew Research Center’s latest survey, which included 1,807 parents with children under the age of 18. The survey, entitled “Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load,” looked at how family chores and responsibilities, earnings, and attitudes toward parenting and careers were reported.
One survey participant summed up modern day parenthood in the U.S. with the telling statement, “You basically just always feel like you’re doing a horrible job at everything.”
Read on for the highlights of this survey.
- In 46% of two-parent households, both parents work full-time (up from 31% in 1970).
- 41% of working mothers say that being a parent has posed a challenge for career advancement (compared with 20% of working fathers).
- Despite the fact that many mothers are working full-time, 54% of parents in households with dual full-time employment say that mothers do more in managing children’s schedules and activities. When children are sick, 47% report that mothers are the ones who are responsible for the care. However, a majority of parents in this situation also report equality with regard to sharing household chores, disciplining, and playing with children.
- Unsurprisingly, in households where the father works full-time and the mother works part-time or not at all, the moms assume more of the household and childcare duties.
- Interestingly, parents’ perceptions of who is doing the work differs. Fathers are more likely to report that the household responsibilities are shared equally, while mothers are more likely to report that they are the ones performing these activities and chores.
- 20% of full-time working mothers said that balancing work and family is very difficult, compared with 12% of full-time working fathers.
- Parents with college or post-graduate degrees reported more frequently that finding the balance was difficult as compared to non-college graduates.
- In two parent households where both parents work full time, only 26% of parents say they and their spouses or partners earn about the same amount of money. Half say that the father earns more.
- Almost 40% of parents who say that finding the balance was difficult also reported that being a parent is tiring “at least most of the time.”
- 4 in 10 full-time working moms say that they feel rushed all the time. A similar percentage also said they spent too little time with their children. 44% of this same population felt that they didn’t spend enough time with their partners and 59% felt that they didn’t have enough kid-free time to see friends and/or pursue hobbies and interests.
- 50% of full-time working fathers reported feeling that they spent too little time with their children.
Check out the full findings here.