Studies Show that Childcare is Every Parent’s Concern
Traditionally it has been women who have filled the role of caregiver for children in years past. Although the idea of “day care” was born out of the welfare movement of the 1840’s, it has remained the concern of mothers for decades. Given the greater role of women in the workforce today, it stands to reason that mothers would be spending less time at home with their children. However, based on a Pew Institute study, women are spending more time at work and more time home with their children than wives and mothers surveyed in 1965. Hard to believe?
In 1965 the majority of housework and childcare was performed by women, and according to a survey of 2,511 adults nationwide and an analysis of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), women are still assuming these responsibilities more than men. Moms spend double the time on housework and childcare duties than their male counterparts while the men surveyed spent more time on leisure activities. Today’s trend isn’t so different from the 1965 study, and there were no surprises in those numbers. What has changed for today’s parents is that both men and women are now concerned with childcare and work-family balance. And it turns out that fathers are just as stressed as their wives in trying to balance work life with their careers.
According to researchers, “there is no significant gap in attitudes between mothers and fathers: 56% of mothers and 50% of fathers say juggling work and family life is difficult for them.” Surprised?
Almost a third of parents feel like their home life isn’t getting enough time and attention, but these days more fathers are feeling that stress: “Some 46% of fathers say they are not spending enough time with their children, compared with 23% of mothers.” They’re also spending twice the time with their children than they did in the 60’s, and they’ve assumed more housework responsibilities. In short, men are participating at more at home than their fathers and grandfathers did.
It’s interesting to note how the domestic home front is transforming into a concern for both sexes. The question now is whether or not employers are responding to this change. Forty-eight years ago employers probably gave very little thought to helping their employees with childcare. In their way of thinking it was probably the private responsibility of the father to provide enough income so that his wife could stay home and care for their children. It’s obvious that this long ago stereotype has little relevance in today’s work climate. With childcare becoming the responsibility and concern of both parents, both men and women, it’s important for employers to address this. Work culture is always changing, but this significant shift in childcare concerns should be a red flag for employers. To stay relevant and keep good employees happy, employers should give a lot of thought to creating policies that give working parents flexibility and the resources to give their children high quality childcare.
“Childcare in the United States: Yesterday and Today.” nncc.org. Retrieved Oct. 10, 2013
“Working Mothers Do More Childcare Today Than in 1965 — So Why the Double Standard?” policymic.com Retrieved Oct. 10, 2013
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