Care shared more equally when both parents work full time

Parenting and household responsibilities are shared more equally when both the mother and the father work full time than when the father is employed full time and the mother is employed part time or not employed, according to a US study.

The Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load study by the Pew Research Center is based on a survey of 1,807 parents of children under 18. It also shows that even in households where both parents work full time, many say a large share of the day-to-day parenting responsibilities such as managing children’s schedules and caring for sick children falls to mothers. However, household chores, disciplining and playing with kids were more likely to be shared equally than in families where the mum works part time or not at all.

Also, mums were more likely than dads to say they did more of all of these tasks than dads, who were more inclined to say the tasks were shared equally.

Even in families where both parents work full time, dads were more likely to earn more and to be more focused on work, although 62% say they are equally focused on work. Some 22% say the mother earns more than the dad and 26% say they earn about the same amount.

The number of families in the US where both parents work full time is now 46%, up from 31% in 1970, and the average income in these families is substantially higher than in families where one parent works part time or not at all.

However, the survey also finds significant challenges. More than half of all working parents say balancing work and family life is difficult. And working mums are much more likely to say being a parents has impacted their career – 41% compared to just 20% of dads.

Although more than half of parents say it is difficult for them to balance the responsibilities of their job with the responsibilities of their family, with 14% saying this is very difficult, working mothers (60%) were more likely than fathers (52%) to say it was difficult for them to balance work and family, particularly mothers who work full time. One in five full-time working mums say balancing the two is very difficult for them, compared with 12% of dads who work full time and 11% of mums who work part time.

The survey also found that white college-educated parents were much more likely to say it was difficult for them to balance the responsibilities of their job and their family.





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