Dual Working Parents – The Challenge of Caring for Our Kids

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Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior

Dual Working Parents Seem to Serve Different Functions in the Household

It’s 2016 and fathers are known to be more involved in child care than ever. However, according to Pew Research Studies 41% of working mothers report that being a parent has made it harder for them to advance their career and about 20% of working fathers say the same. However, while this statistic reveals at least some minimal commonality with regard to career paths, among working mothers, many say a large share of the day-to-day parenting responsibilities still fall to mothers which may explain the career path discrepancy. If mothers still have the lion’s share of responsibility, their careers are bound to falter.

Who’s In Charge of Children’s Schedules and Activities?

According to Pew Research, 54% of mothers manage children’s schedules and activities and 47% say this is also the case when it comes to taking care of the children when they’re sick. However, on the brighter side, most parents say the mother and father share tasks about equally when it comes to household chores, disciplining, and playing or doing activities with the kids. The problem comes though depending on who is doing the reporting. When mothers report they say that they do more than their spouse whereas for their part, fathers are generally more likely than mothers to say the responsibilities are shared equally. So perceptions vary which can lead to conflict.

Is There an Earning Gap?

What about earnings? When both parents are employed at least part time, 59% say the father earns more than the mother. Even in families where both parents work full time, half say the father is the top earner.

The Challenge of Balancing Jobs and Family Based on Educational Advancement

Thus it appears that for many working parents, balancing jobs and family is a huge challenge. In fact, one-in-five full-time working mothers say balancing work and family is very difficult for them. Furthermore, there is a significant education gap in attitudes about balancing work and home. College educated parents are more likely than those without a college degree to say it’s difficult to balance the responsibilities of job and family. In fact, 70% of working mothers with college or post-graduate degrees say it’s difficult to balance work and family. Similarly, 61% of such working fathers say it’s difficult for them as well.

Women in the Workforce

Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to say being a working parent has made it harder to advance in their careers whether they work full or part time. Many mothers also report that feeling rushed is an ever present reality. In fact, according to Pew Research forty per cent full-time mothers say they always feel rushed and fifty percent say they sometimes feel rushed. In addition they feel they spend too little time with their kids and don’t have enough time to spend on their own interests or friendships or partners, nevertheless leisure time in general.

Is Parenting Rewarding?

All these parents report differing attitudes about how much parenting is rewarding and satisfying, the ultimate aim for parents and kids. In contrast, however only 9% of parents say parenting is stressful all the time although a significant amount say it is most of the time.

What About the Kids?

Pew Research doesn’t report about the effect of all this on the children but we don’t need too many statistics to draw conclusions. If parents are rushed most of the time, feeling deprived of leisure time with friends and pastimes, believe they are missing out on enough pleasurable time with their children, and don’t find parenting mostly rewarding and satisfying, clearly the kids are losing out. It seems that furthermore, parents would be doing a great deal of bickering as to how much time they spend on child care—but what is the nature of this care?

When do parents have time to just play and hang out with their kids? When do they share happy conversations? When do they read to their kids and give them needed affection? When do we have time to answer confusing questions, respond to fears in the night, and give guidance about school work?

Do we need reminders that this is what parenting is all about?