Pew modern parenthood survey: Fathers caring more – at our house, too
Pew survey gives new picture of the hard work modern parenthood is. Dads are helping out – and worrying – more, just like moms. Pew could be describing our house.
While working parents didn’t need the Pew Research Center study, released today, to tell them modern parenthood is a perpetual stress test, it’s nice to have the formal research and numbers to bolster the argument that hiring a parent is a very safe bet because, while stressed, we are effective, experienced multitaskers with great managerial skills. One thing the study points out is that parents are also worried about not getting enough work opportunities to support their kids.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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Because being a parent can be viewed as a negative to some employers, I advise job-seeking parents to put this Pew study in your LinkedIn profile and submit it with your résumé to prospective employers.
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“Roughly 60% of two-parent households with children under age 18 have two working parents. In those households, on average, fathers spend more time than mothers in paid work, while mothers spend more time on childcare and household chores. However, when their paid work is combined with the work they do at home, fathers and mothers are carrying an almost equal workload,” according to the Pew study, based on a survey of 2,511 adults nationwide conducted Nov. 28 to Dec. 5, 2012. (The study also included an analysis of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which in 2003 began surveying Americans by phone to measure the amount of time people spend doing various activities throughout the day.)
“At the same time, roughly equal shares of working mothers and fathers report … feeling stressed about juggling work and family life: 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance these responsibilities.” Of course it’s difficult, so is becoming a chess grandmaster but Susan Polgar did that and has kids, runs a foundation, teaches, and coaches college players to multiple national championships.
I know Ms. Polgar and have seen the stress hit her like a Mack truck on occasion and then she doubles-down and gets her game face on as she heads off to work. That’s what parents do.
The study adds, “Feeling rushed is also a part of everyday life for today’s mothers and fathers. Among those with children under age 18, 40% of working mothers and 34% of working fathers say they always feel rushed.”
I agree that Little House on the Prairie moms didn’t feel the time crunch of modern parents, but time is not the main factor in parenting.
While the numbers may change from poll to poll, the stress over being able to find time and brain space to be good parents remains constant.
I believe good parenting comes down to every moment and can be made or broken in just that time frame. Working and at-home parents make the same minute-mistakes and have the same triumphs. Having played both sides of this fence, I can assure all those in an office from 9 to 5 that you can screw up.
You can work all day, and when your child comes to you with an issue, you can make just as bad a call on what to do in an instant as you would if you had the whole day to ponder and work the problem.
In my book, all it takes is a dad or mom who comes through the door from work with a hug and a smile rather than a scowl and dismissal to get it right.